WIDA 2021 – Engineering and Technical Professions Finalists


The Women in Defense Awards 2021 will (finally!) take place on February 01 after several postponements. The event will be held virtually due to the current public health situation in Eastern Australia.

Ahead of the event, we’re proud to present our readers with the incredible finalists in nine categories. Today, we’re focusing on engineering and technical commerce finalists.

Lieutenant Commander Natalie Stafford of the Royal Australian Navy
Natalie was key to HMAS Anzac’s exit from the ANZAC Mid-Life Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP). In addition to her role as Systems Engineering Officer (SEO) onboard, she coordinated the repair of common and living areas, improving the ship’s habitability and morale, while managing the testing program and of trials. Natalie also acted as the Damage Control Officer during the ship’s Sailor Skills Assessment process, a role normally performed by the Assistant Marine Engineering Officer. Her efforts ensured a successful maritime skills assessment for the ship and she then ensured the ship could sail to Sydney to continue the unit’s reading readiness training. She was instrumental in achieving the timely release of Anzac from the AMCAP program and in successfully completing the release at sea milestones set for the vessel in 2020.

Squadron Leader Emily Carrie of the Royal Australian Air Force
Emily is a certification engineer with the Defense Aviation Safety Authority, leading a team that evaluates the design of Defense aircraft. Its findings are fundamental to assuring senior Defense leaders that new Defense aircraft and major modifications to existing Defense aircraft are safe for their intended use. In this role, she personally guided the Defense Acquisition Project Office to achieve “type certification” for the new F-35A aircraft. At the same time, she led the team of certification engineers who were responsible for the type certification of the C-27J aircraft, approved approximately 50 major modifications to other Defense aircraft, and also assumed the roles of his direct supervisor and later the only other squadron leader in the section after their departure.

Louise Burr of the Royal Australian Air Force
Throughout 2020, Louise was responsible for the delivery of $1.5 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter installations at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal under Air 6500. Louise has led responsibilities related to the management of hundreds of critical ICT and security related faults at Tindal. F-35 facilities to ensure passive ICT and security accreditation timelines were met on the critical path to the arrival of the first F-35 aircraft. She was responsible for directing a short-notice installation of additional aircraft arresting systems at RAAF Base Williamtown to mitigate the risk associated with deficiencies in F-35 wet runway braking and aircraft performance. stop hook. It should be noted that Louise achieved all of these goals, and more, while homeschooling three primary-aged children during the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020.

Jennifer Del Mastro of Nova Systems
Jennifer is a Senior Systems Safety Engineer and is currently a consultant for the Australian Navy’s $3.6 billion Sea 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) project. Jennifer started the project handling the safety program for Seaboats on a 3 month contract, which was extended for a further 12 months (plus a 24 month extension), handling safety engineering for the entire OPV. These project extensions were a direct result of Jennifer’s contribution to project milestones and fantastic achievement. Jennifer also volunteers as an Engineering Ambassador in CSIRO/STEM programs. His commitment to the engineering profession provides lasting benefits to the engineering community of today and tomorrow.

Dr. Sarah Cannard of Nova Systems
Sarah is Program Director and Project Manager for Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth, creating the start-up and aiming to grow it into a leading Australian organization. She is also currently Deputy Director of Industry at the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre. Sarah has been involved in many complex defense, space and civilian programs including JAXA Hayabusa spacecraft re-entry, hypersonic rocket launches, Woomera Test Range trials and activities, Joint Navy/DTSG Autonomous Warrior 18 activity and the Hunter Class Frigate program. It aims to help Australia develop its core space offerings so that the country can contribute to international space missions.

Alicia Pollock of Serco Asia Pacific
Alicia was the Tug Captain and Vessel Operator/Maintainer at HMAS Coonawarra until recently when she moved to Jervis Bay as Captain. Under the Fleet Marine Services Contract (FMSC) in Darwin, Alicia would take command of a range of Serco tugs and support vessels to maneuver Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels and visit Navy vessels in and around Darwin Harbour.

Alicia is an exemplary employee who is a role model for everyone, but especially for women who want to pursue a career in the marine services industry. She is one of the few female tug masters in Australia. Throughout her 10 years at Serco, Alicia has been involved in training and approving many of her colleagues on a range of different vessels.

Chief Petty Officer Jodie Katherine Royal Australian Navy Questions
Providing information warfare capability on HMAS Ballarat, in 2020 she played a fundamental role in the installation and commissioning of augmented high level cryptographic equipment and enhanced satellite communications. Jodie used her refined and highly effective communication skills to engage external stakeholders to enable the merging of Ballarat’s information exchange requirements and improve integration and interoperability with joint and allied forces. In the short term, she put in place the communications architecture that enabled Australia’s first participation in Exercise Malabar since 2007. Alongside her professionalism, CPO Matters has the humility to be honest about her personal struggles, experiences she draws on to encourage and inspire her department’s staff and the wider ship’s company. His humanistic approach has earned him a trust and respect that transcends all ranks.

Jenny Gigliotti from Ventia
Jenny works in the Basic Services contract for Ventia as Regional Hospitality and Catering Manager for the South East area with sites across Tasmania and Victoria. Jenny has held operational and senior management positions in the hospitality industry for 34 years in restaurants, hotels, cafes, defense operations and her own business. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Management from the William Angliss Institute. Jenny’s notable success was her involvement in Ventia’s support of Operation Bushfire Assist.

Ventia was tasked by Defense with providing logistical support for the operation (firefighting, aircraft refueling, emergency accommodation, transport, catering). At the height of the emergency on January 3, they supported Defense in the evacuation of 2,000 inhabitants. Jenny was instrumental in mobilizing an operations team, many of whom were on Christmas break.

Chief Airwoman Belynda Pettit of the Royal Australian Air Force
Belynda is the main contractor and sole member of 30 Squadron’s logistics cell. No. 30 Squadron provides operational air base support to units at RAAF Base East Sale, Australia’s busiest military air base.

In 2020, Belynda surged during Operation Bushfire Assist when the Royal Australian Air Force Base East Sale became the main evacuation treatment point for bushfire-affected communities such as Mallacoota and surrounding areas. Despite her junior rank, Belynda is a mentor and coach to the junior officers she has taken the time to train in logistics and finance. She is never too busy to educate those around her and is a patient and thoughtful teacher.

Electronic Technician Warrant Officer Suzie Peterson of the Royal Australian Navy
In his role aboard HMAS Hobart, in the absence of subject matter expertise support, WOET Peterson developed and oversaw a comprehensive training plan to provide junior weapons crew members with appropriate exposure to the both to the technical and tactical application of weapons maintenance and operation during COVID-affected operations. This meant that many tasks that were usually performed by contractors were performed by the ship’s crew. Suzie is known for her infectious positivity and dedication to service, always striving to improve herself and empower those around her to be the best they can be. Although 2020 has been a year of incredible personal loss, Suzie is an outstanding ambassador for the Navy and beyond.

Thanks to all our sponsors: SYPAQ, Penten, Airbus, BGIS, Boeing, Leidos, Precision Public Affairs and Ventia.


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