Panel Overview:

At a time of unprecedented disruption in the two key sectors of university education, and the Australian power sector, this panel session will explore the challenges and opportunities we face in developing the future power sector workforce.

The session, featuring leaders from industry (and API Board members), and international experts in international research and education, will explore question such as:

  • The wins: What are the wins with power sector education (let’s acknowledging where we are performing well)?
  • Need for change: What are the biggest challenges and vulnerabilities in undergraduate power sector education (where do we need to make changes to ‘improve’)?
  • Opportunities: What opportunities do our industry team see to make greater contributions to education, and are there any roadblocks? What would need to change to make it work?
    Does the academic team see opportunities for industry to contribute in different ways than present to undergraduate education, and what needs to change to make it practicable?
  • Looking ahead: What future challenges and opportunities do we anticipate as impacts from the disruption of COVID or the rapid transformation of power sector technologies and markets? (eg do we have a greater ability to include live video chats with engineers out on site, or scope for more flexible employment and study, or more diversity?)


The API was created ~15 years ago in response to an identified need to more effectively link the power sector’s industry and education ‘teams’ and to work together on improving undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and learning. One of the first initiatives was to address a challenge of ageing labs and equipment at universities with a response by the API to invest industry funding in upgrading power system labs. Other activities have included diversity in the academic teaching team and connecting undergraduates to industry experience, with the API support for recruitment of female academics and the growth of the API’s undergraduate bursary program (~600 graduates to date).

Panel Chair:

Dr David Pointing PhD FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER MAICD
Chief Executive Officer, The Australian Power Institute

Appointed by the API Board in December 2019, David is an engineering-sector executive and leader with extensive experience in creating and delivering projects and initiatives that build capacity and capability in communities, with a focus on sustainable development solutions and energy systems.
David has a deep portfolio of skills and experience in program development, project management, business development, stakeholder engagement, and the creation of collaborative solutions, including research and development projects, tertiary education and workforce development initiatives.


Professory Syed Islam
Dean, School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences, Federation University
Chair ACPE

Professor Syed Mofizul Islam is currently the Dean for the School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences at Federation University Australia. Prior to joining Federation University, he was the John Curtin Distinguished Professor in Electrical Power Engineering and the Director of Centre for Smart Grid and Sustainable Power Systems at Curtin University. Syed is Fellow of the IEEE and Engineers Australia. Syed has published in excess of 300 peer reviewed papers in his area of expertise. His research interests are in Condition Monitoring of Transformers, Wind Energy Conversion, and Smart Power Systems.

See full profile:

Associate Professor Galina Mirzaeva
School of Electrical Engineering and Computing (Electrical and Computer Engineering), University of Newcastle

A/Professor Galina Mirzaeva received B.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from South Urals State University, Chelyabinsk, Russia. Key career experience include PhD studies as part of the Russian space program (Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau); Senior Researcher in Australia with the CRC-Mining with projects focused on improving the efficiency and lifespan of the Megawatt DC and AC motors that power huge mine excavators; and currently with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Newcastle with research on control of power electronics and renewable energy applications and advancing the control of power electronic inverters.

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Dr Michael Negnevitsky
Professor | Chair in Power Engineering and Computational Intelligence | Director of the Centre for Renewable Energy and Power Systems (CREPS)

Educated as an electrical engineer, Dr Negnevitsky’s many interests include artificial intelligence and soft computing. His research involves the development and application of intelligent systems in electrical engineering, process control and environmental engineering. He has authored and co-authored over 300 research publications including numerous journal articles, four patents for inventions and two books.

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Wayne Tucker, Grad Dip Eng Maint, Ass Dip Elect Eng, MBA, GAICD
General Manager Regulation, Policy and Strategic Asset Management, TasNetworks (TAS)
API Board Chair

Wayne has over 30 years’ experience in the Australian electricity supply industry. In his current role of General Manager Strategic Asset Management at TasNetworks, he is responsible for transmission and distribution network planning and performance, network innovation and the development of asset management systems and strategies. Wayne is actively involved with TasNetwork’s graduate and mentoring programs and is also a member of ENA Asset Management Committee and represented API on the ENA/API Innovation Joint Working Group.

Ed Wilson, B.Eng.(Hons)
Managing Director, Wilson Transformer Company Pty Ltd (VIC)
API Board Director

Ed is the Managing Director of Wilson Transformer Company Pty Ltd (WTC) and has 15 years’ experience in the manufacturing and energy industry. Ed is third generation of Wilson family and is now leading WTC as the largest Australian-owned and based manufacturer of power and distribution transformers in Australia. After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer (Hons) at Monash University in 2001, he has enjoyed many roles, including Industrial Engineering, Quality & Continuous Improvement, Manufacturing Management, Sales, General Manager of the Power Transformer Business, and Managing Director since August 2015. WTC has been an active supporter of the API since its inception and recognises the need for young engineers to gain early industry experience as part of their development, regularly providing employment for API Bursary holders.
As well as being a member of the Australian Power Institute (API), Ed is also the Deputy Chairman of the Australian National Committee of Cigre and a member of the Finance Risk and Audit sub-committee of CIGRE, an international organisation whose members include leading electrical utilities and suppliers.

Peter Langdon, BEng (Hon), MBA
Head of Asset Planning & Performance, Endeavour Energy (NSW)
API Board Director

Peter has over 30 years’ experience in the Australian electricity supply industry. In his current role of Manager Asset Strategy and Planning he is responsible for developing the long term investment and maintenance plans for Endeavour Energy’s electricity network as well as the ongoing development the organisation’s asset management systems and strategies. Prior to this Peter has held a variety of roles in areas such as regional management, system control and project management.
Peter has a keen interest in developing the next generation of engineers for our industry and for the last 10 years has led his organisation’s engineer development program. Peter is also an active member of the NSW chapter of the Electric Energy Society of Australia.

About the Association

AUPEC is the premier conference in power engineering in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. This conference provides a forum for both university and industry researchers and experts in power engineering to discuss and share ideas, present results, reflect on past experiences and discuss future projects.

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