Ampcontrol engineers honoured in Engineer of the Year Awards

Ampcontrol engineers honoured in Engineer of the Year Awards

Ampcontrol engineers have been recognised for their exemplary contribution to innovation, industry and community at the Engineers Australia 2021 Engineer of the Year Awards.

Announced on Wednesday 22 September during an online ceremony, the Awards celebrate the talented innovators in the engineering field and acknowledge the problem solvers who continue to design electrical solutions across the industry.

In 2021, Ampcontrol nominated three of its engineers, of which all were successful as Finalists in the Newcastle Division.

Managing Director & CEO of Ampcontrol, Rod Henderson said it’s a great honour to work with some of the finest engineering talent in Australia, and that this acknowledgment is well deserved.

“As Australia’s largest privately-owned electrical engineering company, we have over 250 talented people in engineering roles. We value and celebrate excellence in what they do and their contribution to our business, community, and everyday life,” he said.

“Being recognised by Engineers Australia is a tremendous honour within our industry, and the acknowledgement of our people at the Engineer of the Year Awards is a very proud occasion.”

The finalists include:

  • Richard Griffiths BE(Elect), MIEAust, MIEEE, CPEng, RPEQ
    Senior Research and Development Engineer
    Finalist 2021 Professional Engineer of the Year Award, Newcastle Division

Richard was the first professional Engineer appointed to Ampcontrol in February 1978 and has been integral in product development and application support for over 43 years.

  • Thomas Steigler BEng MECH(Hons)/BEng MCHA(Hons)
    Research Engineer
    2021 Young Professional Engineer of the Year Award, Newcastle Division

Thomas is a Research Engineer who joined Ampcontrol in 2018 while completing his Honours thesis in gas detection with Ampcontrol Electronics.

He has been a significant contributor to several high-profile projects at Ampcontrol. This includes working with Dr Ian Webster, Group Engineering Manager, leading the pneumatic system design, testing and manufacture of the emergency ICU ventilator in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thomas and the team developed a bespoke test platform for the emerging ventilators, worked within a highly compressed timeframe, and faced with a wide range of constraints, such as supply chain uncertainty due to global disruptions and demand on medical equipment parts.

He was pivotal to the success of this development, taking on the broader scopes of electrical and mechanical aspects, and was the lead testing engineer in proving the Ventasys’ ventilator’s safety and success under the Emergency Exemptions established by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

In September 2020, Thomas’ work focused on a collaborative partnership between Ampcontrol and Australian start-up, LAVO, to successfully produce a domestic hydrogen battery to pioneer the next generation of green energy storage for commercial and residential use.

The LAVO Hydrogen Battery, is the first residential hydrogen energy storage unit of its kind. Thomas’ work on this project was novel, pioneering, technically challenging and rigorous; undertaking engineering challenges for which there was no prior knowledge.

Thomas said he is thrilled to be acknowledged as recipient of this coveted award.

“Winning the award is a great honour and a confidence boost moving forward into new challenges. I would like to be part of Ampcontrol’s future continued diversification,” Thomas said.

“There are so many exciting new opportunities right at our doorstep, and as a group we have the skills not to just take on new opportunities, but become a leader in the field, that others look to.”

  • Dr Ian Webster (PhD CPEng FIEAust EngExec RPEQ FSEng)
    Group Engineering Manager
    2021 Professional Engineer of the Year, Newcastle Division

Ian Webster is Group Engineering Manager at Ampcontrol, and Conjoint Senior Fellow, School of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Newcastle.

Ian has held numerous leadership roles with national and international engineering bodies. He is presently the Lead National Technical Delegate to IEC TC31 MT60079-29 (Gas Detection), Chair Standards Australia EL-023 Electrical Equipment for Mines and Quarries, a member JASANZ ANZEx Advisory Committee and a NATA Technical Assessor.

Ian is acknowledged as a subject matter expert in several technical fields of electrical engineering related to hazardous (explosive) atmospheres and underground mining, with thirty two (32) invited and peer reviewed technical papers and conference presentations in the past five years alone.

He has led several high-profile industrial projects, most recently the development of an ICU Emergency Ventilator; a project motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where Ampcontrol was invited to design and manufacture 600 ICU ventilators in 28 days to service a forecast shortfall in NSW hospitals.

Ian led a team of clinicians, engineers, and manufacturing staff to successfully demonstrate a working ventilator at the John Hunter Hospital in just 18 days. Ampcontrol was subsequently awarded a contract for design and supply of mid acuity ventilators for the NSW Government.

“It is an honour and a privilege for me to be recipient of this award. Fundamentally, engineering is a collaborative effort and a collective achievement,” Ian said.

“The spectrum of the engineering profession will illuminate many individual and valuable contributions. For me, winning this award, also recognises all the professionals that I have been fortunate to work with and hopefully to motivate and inspire.’

Engineers Australia – Newcastle General Manager, Helen Link said the awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the impact of local engineers.

“These awards recognise and reward the outstanding achievements of engineers and help promote the important role they play in supporting our community, and our country,” she said.

“Engineers will play a significant role in the plan to transform Newcastle to a smart, liveable and sustainable global city by 2030, and I congratulate our recipients for their important contribution.”

“We congratulate Richard, Ian, and Thomas on their tremendous professional success, and we look forward to seeing their further development in advancing Ampcontrol’s emerging technologies into the future,” Rod concluded.

Dr Ian Webster and Thomas Steigler will now progress to Engineers Australia’s national Australia Engineering Excellence Awards.

IMAGE |Ampcontrol’s Engineer of the Year Award finalists: Thomas Steigler, Richard Griffiths, and Dr Ian Webster (left-right).


The Ampcontrol story is one full of twists and turns, with milestones achieved and celebrated by a growing workforce across the world. Yet amongst the technological firsts, awards, impressive growth and global reach, is a company founded on simple yet rock solid foundations. A philosophy of anything is possible has meant Ampcontrol's customer driven technology solutions are redefining industry expectations and leading safety in over nine countries.

Strengthened by our vertically integrated structure, Ampcontrol's technology and innovation base underpins our internal supply chain. From customised engineering to the fabrication and manufacture of product suited to the most hazardous environments, Ampcontrol is able to support our customers each step of the way.

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