NT woman wins young designer in national steel industry awards

A Northern Territory structural engineer has won the national Young Designer award in the biennial Australian Steel Institute (ASI) Steel Excellence Awards. Shannon Kieran, 25, is a structural engineer working in the Darwin office of consulting engineers Aurecon.

Nominated for the award by lead engineer Haydn Brown, Ms Kieran has provided structural design services for more than 50 projects since joining Aurecon as a Master of Engineering graduate in 2020. She has consistently performed in the top 10% of Aurecon employees.


During the past 18 months, Ms Kieran has focused mainly on the Charles Darwin University (CDU) Education and Community Precinct. The centrepiece of the NT Government’s 10-year strategic plan for the development of Darwin City, the $250 million project involves the design and construction of a new 10-storey campus building. Structural steel forms a crucial design feature of the building through a sloped façade, which enables a major portion of the building’s sustainability initiatives.

Ms Kieran has been a key designer on all steel elements on the project, including rooves, canopies, the sloped façade, feature stairs, and studwork, from concept design through to complex connection detailing. Where she has not directly designed an element, she has reviewed more senior engineers’ work and regularly identifies areas for further review or improvement.

Mr Brown said Ms Kieran has developed design skills extremely quickly and has taken on the role of local champion of many pieces of design software. She has also assisted with managing the CDU project, including filling the role of acting structural lead to manage design delivery on two separate major milestone dates whilst the lead engineer was on leave.

In addition to developing her design skills, Ms Kieran has also been the primary engineer responsible for site inspections on multiple projects and held the role of team leader directing teams of inspectors on remote inspections.

“She naturally takes on leadership roles in her day-to-day work and is a great example of someone who leads without a formal leadership title,” Mr Brown said. “This is reflected in many areas of her works such as her reliability in ensuring tasks are followed through to completion within the deadline and to a high level of quality.”

Outside Aurecon, Ms Kieran is a member of the Engineers Australia Northern Division Committee, where she is responsible for championing STEM engagement within schools and tertiary engagement to assist engineering graduates.

Examples of her past activities whilst studying at university include co-founding the NT Chapter of Engineers Without Borders Australia, where she created and led a school outreach program focused on increasing diversity in engineering. She is a regular speaker at multiple events such as the Territory’s Women in Leadership Summit.

Ms Kieran received the young designer award at the ASI’s gala Australian Steel Excellence awards dinner at Sydney’s Doltone House last night (November 22). The awards saw 86 entrants vie for state and national honours in six categories:

– Buildings (Large Projects)
– Buildings (Small Projects)
– Innovative Cold Form Steel Building
– Steel Clad Structures
– Engineering Projects
– Young Designer/Detailer/Tradesperson.

In his address to the dinner, ASI chief executive Mark Cain said the awards recognise innovative collaboration by architects, structural engineers, building contractors, steel fabricators and steel detailers using steel as the primary building product.

The Australian Steel Excellence Awards are held every two years by ASI to showcase the combined works of Australian steel manufacturers, designers, architects, engineers, builders, fabricators, distributors, individuals and teams.

Via Medianet

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