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Meet the newest members of the ASTT Council

ASTT Council

Trenchless Australasia sat down with Andrea Edney and Amy Farrugia to discuss their careers and goals in joining the Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology Council. 

With an aim to increase participation, the Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT) invited Systra Bamser associate director Andrea Edney and Trenchless Engineering Australia consultant Amy Farrugia to join the council. 

A relatively new approach from the council, the move will bring the new members in to promote specific areas such as training, standards, and education, rather than representing a particular state or territory within Australia. 

For Edney, raising the profile of women and opportunities for them is a goal. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity to not just represent women in the industry, but also to get involved more in the industry,” Edney said. 

“I’m looking forward to being more involved in shaping the industry going forward.” 

A similar sentiment shared by Farrugia, who looks forward to the knowledge sharing between members of the industry.

“I think it’s always important to be a part of the industry that you’re in,” Farrugia said. 

“Not only just from a social aspect, but from sharing lessons learned, new methods, technologies, and risk management strategies.

“With the trenchless industry being relatively niche, it’s important to distribute information about trenchless methods and promote them.” 

ASTT Council
Systra Bamser Associate Director Andrea Edney. Image: Andrea Edney
ASTT Council
Trenchless Engineering Australia consultant Amy Farrugia. Image: Amy Farrugia

Career paths

Both Edney and Farrugia have extensive careers across the trenchless industry, both working in companies such as Spiecapag and Leighton Contractors. 

Edney began her career in tunnelling through university and worked across projects such as the M5 East and Clem 7 tunnels. 

Eventually, she moved into the microtunnelling space with Tunnel Corp before being contacted by a recruiter looking for a project manager to supervise a microtunnelling project. 

“I met Ben Crosby in my interview, and he said he really needed someone in the trenchless division, and I left the interview with the job working in the trenchless team at Systra Bamser,” Edney said. 

“I liked the opportunity that working in trenchless gave me to be a little bit more flexible. That was a big plus for me.”

Farrugia, on the other hand, began her career in the pipeline industry. 

“From there, I moved into some of the horizontal directional drilling projects, which I found to be very interesting,” Farrugia said. 

“I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of the trenchless industry, balancing the project constraints, different construction methods and engineering.” 

When it came to joining the ASTT Council, Farrugia said she had begun to be involved in the production of Australian standards. 

“As part of that process, I will be representing ASTT as a nominating organisation within Australian Standards committees,” she said. 

“For me, that speaks back to wanting to share information about the industry and helping promote it.” 

For Edney, who was the inaugural Trenchless Woman of the Year at the 2023 ASTT Awards, saw an opportunity for raising the profile of women within the industry. 

“Someone said to me, ‘We want to increase the number of women in engineering’ and I thought even if you increase the number of women in engineering, they’re still a minority in the field. 

“Whereas if you think about increasing the numbers across the board, such as women in labour, plant operation, trades, planning and supervision roles, then it makes it easier for the engineers to feel more comfortable and more confident in their roles.” 

The state of the industry 

When it comes to current challenges and opportunities for the trenchless industry, both Farrugia and Edney are adamant: education is a must. 

“The trenchless technology umbrella covers a very wide range of different methods,” Farrugia said. 

“Communicating and understanding this range of methods, the risks and opportunities, is important for industry growth. 

“The use of trenchless methods does have a lot of flexibility in how you can address particular sections on a project or potentially the entire project.” 

Edney agrees noting there are benefits for both clients and the industry.

She believes that the more clients understand what the industry can do for them, then the more work the industry will have. 

“But also, in terms of educating the client, understanding what the key factors are in delivering projects and getting trenchless involved can really make a significant difference to like project delivery,” she said. 

As education increases, so too will the use of the methods across many applications, according to Farrugia. 

“As our cities and infrastructure requirements continue to grow, the underlying services are becoming more congested and easements as well as working areas are becoming more constricted,” she said, “subsequently, the number of projects involving trenchless crossings are increasing.

“In addition to method adoption across the greater pipeline industry, they are also reaching into new applications as well.” 

As infrastructure continues to develop with growing populations, the trenchless industry has an opportunity to be at the forefront. 

Edney said most councils are looking at upgrading stormwater, sewer, and water infrastructure. 

“It’s not just installing new stuff, it’s rehabilitation of the older services, as well as replacement and rehabilitation,” she said.

“There’s just so much happening at the moment in that space, and there’s a real need for it as well.” 

For more information, visit the ASTT website.

This article featured in the April edition of Trenchless Australasia. 

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