2018 YWP Conference

Keynote Speakers

The Young Water Professionals Conference will feature a dynamic mix of keynote speakers.  All speakers will be announced over the coming weeks, but we are pleased to announce the first  two speakers:

Kathryn Silvester, Process Engineer, Sydney Water 
Friday 23 February, 9.30am – 10.00am

Kathryn Silvester is an advocate for the role young professionals play in driving change within the water sector. She sits on both the AWA and IWA strategic advisory committees, is the vice president of the IWA Australia committee, was the chair of the last YWP national conference and was awarded the AWA Young Water Professional of the year in 2016.

In 2017 Kathryn was one of 1000 young people from around the world who participated in UNLEASH: an innovations lab designed to produce scalable solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals. Kathryn currently works at Sydney Water as the manager of Warriewood WWTP and is studying a Masters of Integrated Water Management with the International Water Centre. 

Professor Rob Vertessy, Enterprise Professor (Water Resources), University of Melbourne
Friday 23 February, 9.00am – 9.30am

Rob graduated with a PhD from the Australian National University (1990), specialising in fluvial geomorphology. He joined CSIRO as a research scientist in 1987, and is widely published in the field of hydrology.

Rob served as Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology (2002–2004) and then Chief of CSIRO’s Land and Water Division (2004–2007).

In late 2006, Rob was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to design a national water information strategy. He then joined the Bureau of Meteorology in 2007 to oversee its implementation as a new Bureau service.

Rob served as CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology from 2011 to 2016. During this time he was Australia’s Permanent Representative to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In 2013 Rob was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Rob retired from the Australian Public Service in April 2016. In January 2017, he took up a part-time role with the University of Melbourne School of Engineering as an Enterprise Professor, conducting research on climate change and water security.

Rob is the Principal of Global Change Advisory, a consulting company he established focused on environmental intelligence. In this capacity he has recently undertaken missions to India, Pakistan, Iran, Jordan and Laos to share experiences on Australian water reforms and water information in particular.

He has recently prepared Good Practice Guidelines for Water Data Management for the High Level Panel on Water, due for release in early 2018.

Felicity Furey, Co-Founder Power of Engineering
Thursday 22 February, 10.00am – 10.30am

Felicity co-founded Power of Engineering in 2012 after realising the lack of diversity in engineering. Since then, the organisation has inspired over 3,000 year 9 and 10 high school students across Australia about diverse, creative and innovative engineering careers.

Felicity has been named by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac Bank in the 100 Women of Influence, received the Queensland young leader award from the National Association of Women in Construction and was selected as a Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians.

Felicity is a Founding Director of Machinam which is creating alternatives to traditional textbooks with a vision to increase diversity and innovation in STEM. Machinam uses the latest in app technology and a real world approach to framing problems to help students to connect what they are learning in class to their real life and future career pathways.

Felicity is currently working as an Associate for Ontoit. Felicity is passionate about engineers creating an innovative and inclusive world.