J Woodside Consulting
John Woodside provides structural engineering advice as a consulting engineer to a wide range of clients in Australia. John holds over 52 years of experience alongside a bachelors and master’s degree in engineering from Melbourne University. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, Institution of Structural Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers, and the American Society of Civil Engineers as well as an Honorary Member of the Concrete Institute of Australia.
In 2006 John was awarded the John Connell Gold Medal by Engineers Australia for his outstanding contribution to structural engineering, and eminence in consulting engineering, as a Principal of Connell Wagner.
How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I have been a member of EA for 49 ½ years since joining in 1970 and becoming a Fellow in 1988.
Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I did well academically at school, winning a Commonwealth Scholarship. I was going to do either science or engineering at university and engineering seemed more practical, so I chose that as my career.
How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
Australian society can benefit from my work in the various Australian Standards I have been involved with over the years including concrete and seismic. I have also contributed to concrete and prefabricated concrete design over many years in Australia for projects such as the renewal of Sydney Opera House and the Song School at St Georges Cathedral, Perth.
What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
The restoration of a 1908 concrete bridge designed by Sir John Monash in Adelaide, now called the Sir William Goodman Bridge. That is closely followed by a two-volume book on the Guide to Historical Reinforcement in Australia, which has taken 3 years to write and is to be published later this year.
What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
The training of young engineers and providing the right path for their early technical development, so that they are not lost to the profession in the future.
What excites you about the future of the profession, or what opportunities do you see for the future?
There will always be challenges and engineers will be at the forefront of changes in society particularly for – climate change, construction and infrastructure. I think there are absolutely great opportunities for the profession in the future.
Who is your engineering hero?
Without a doubt Sir John Monash since I restored one of his concrete bridges in Adelaide. This is closely followed by my managing director Dr John Connell who established John Connell and Associates in 1956 and finally Dr John Bradfield who was responsible for much of Sydney’s infrastructure in the 1920s and 30s.
There are other great engineers such as Sir Jack Kuntz, John Nutt, John Peyton, Sir Bernie Callaghan and so the list goes on. All great engineers who contributed enormously to Australia’s engineering. I only hope that my career in the future will be judged against these great engineers.