Old Collegian, Sarah Neill was awarded ‘Outstanding Achievement in Design’ at the inaugural Hays NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) Excellence Awards. During the awards ceremony in Christchurch, the winners were hailed by the judges as ‘courageous leaders who are passionate about changing the construction sector.’
After finishing at the College in 2006, Sarah went on to study a Bachelor of Engineering honours degree at the University of Auckland, majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering. During her studies, she was lucky enough to undertake her work experience for Fletcher Construction, where she worked on the Eastport Golden Bay Cement buildings project in Quay Street, as well as the Victoria Park Tunnel project. She found this experience invaluable in providing her with a good basis of construction knowledge and general building site practice.
After completing her degree, Sarah started as a graduate structural engineer at Beca in Auckland. Beca is the largest employee owned engineering consultancy in New Zealand, so has a vast spectrum and depth of engineering knowledge. Sarah found this a great place to start as a new graduate as she was able to learn so much and work on a large range of interesting projects. Her most notable projects to date have been the Men’s Correctional Facility at Wiri, which involved the design and construction of 29 buildings within a 17 hectare site in Auckland; the new Park Hyatt hotel in Wynyard Quarter, seismic assessments for Auckland District Health Board and the University of Auckland; as well as a retrofit and a rebuild of damaged buildings in Christchurch.
Sarah says it’s great to have a career that is both technically challenging and creative, but also helps to shape our urban landscape and provide a safer built environment.
At the award ceremony it was noted that Sarah’s win is a reflection of her outstanding achievement in design and her remarkable progress from graduate to leader in a short space of time. Sarah’s referees describe her as a ‘superstar graduate.’ Her work on the Wiri Correctional Facility project as lead structural engineer demonstrates her considerable talent both as an engineer and a member of a wider delivery team. Sarah shines in her ability to develop relationships. She demonstrates a maturity beyond her years in the way she understand her clients and the importance of delivery.