Connecting Teams through International Mobility

In October this year, Nieves transferred to our Sydney office from our headquarters in Paris.

Nieves a Senior Consultant in our Complex Structures team says, “The opportunity to come out to Australia to help grow our expertise in Tunnels and Bridges was too good to refuse. Firstly, the opportunity to work on some of Australia’s most significant projects was a big factor in our decision to move and then secondly the chance to bring our young family over to Australia was equally amazing. My family and I are both grateful for SYSTRA’s support to make the move possible.”

SYSTRA ANZ is focused on developing its skills in Complex Structures leveraging its Bridges & Tunnels international network of more than 900 experts across the world. In her role, Nieves will bring her decade of experience to connect our global network to the local market where she will also focus on the execution of tenders, negotiation of services and project delivery.

She adds, “In my career I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on projects in Europe and Central America including roles onsite as a construction engineer so have valuable experience and networks that I think will be of value to our Australian clients.”

The Future must focus on Sustainability

When speaking about the future of Complex Structures, Nieves is passionate about the role sustainability will play.

“We are building all these amazing structures that are connecting people to one another as well as new opportunities, but it needs to be done in a more sustainable way. Transport is the world’s third largest emitter of carbon. That is why SYSTRA has placed sustainable innovation at the core of its offer because we cannot compromise the future of the next generation.

Nieves Penalba Perez

“An example of sustainable innovation is our CarbonTracker tool which measures, monitors and controls carbon emissions at each phase of the project. The application is a powerful solution during the tender design of a Design & Build project to evaluate the CO2 emissions of the reference design and the savings that our design could generate.”

A Champion for Social Responsibility

Moving to Australia was not the first times Nieves has lived abroad. Having grown up in Spain she moved to Paris for her first opportunity with SYSTRA where she began her career as an Alignment and Track Engineer.

Recently, Nieves was given the full support of the business to take a year off to travel the world and volunteer. Spending time in a remote Peruvian town in the Andes Ranges near the Cusco Valley, Nieves admits this experience made her more aware of the societal responsibility we have in our industry. Upholding our value of bold leadership, she has since championed SYSTRA’s involvement with ‘Bridges to Prosperity’ where we will help construct a footbridge in Rwanda.

She finishes, “I consider equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion as core values for the future of our industry. As a woman living abroad, I am very thankful for the opportunities that have come my way. Now, as a mum, I feel that it’s my turn to help us reach social equality. Our commitment to build a more sustainable future is essential to serve the coming generations.”

Upholding our Values

SYSTRA’s international mobility is embedded within our values. We connect our experts throughout the entire Group and coordinate them in order to respond to the most complex issues. This also extends to our people connecting with their loved ones overseas. We recently introduced an International Work Remote Program so our staff can visit family and friends anywhere in the world. Read more about that here.

To find out more about our ambitions and values, please hit the link here.

To get in contact with Nieves, please reach out to her here.

Andrew Waye Appointed to Lead SYSTRA’s Security and Technology team
SYSTRA welcomes Andrew Waye

Andrew brings to the business over three decades of experience across multiple government agencies and over a decade of service in the Royal Australian Navy.

Alana Newbrook, Chief Executive Officer, SYSTRA ANZ says, “Andrew is a key appointment for our business as we look to grow and expand our expertise across critical infrastructure to support resilience, respond to cyber threats and utilise analytics.

His background is well aligned to our target growth areas, having previously worked for government agencies and professional services firms. He also brings a diverse skillset that we are particularly excited to leverage with his experience spanning the maritime, aviation, national security, capability systems and critical infrastructure sectors.”

Alana Newbrook, Chief Executive Officer, SYSTRA ANZ

An accomplished leader and strategic advisor, Andrew specialises in implementing generational change capabilities and reform programs.

He says, “I’m really excited to get to work with SYSTRA, meet my new colleagues and to help expand our expertise. SYSTRA is well known across the industry for its work in this space, particularly in collaboration with Team Downer. I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge of a national role and getting to know my team as well as new and existing clients.”

Andrew will be based in our Canberra office and will also be part of our Executive Leadership Team for Australia and New Zealand.

To find out more about Andrew’s role or to get in contact with him, please click here.

International Work Remote Program

At SYSTRA ANZ, we care about employee wellbeing. We recognise that the past few years have not been easy on our people and their families especially as closed borders have kept many apart.

With international travel restrictions now having eased, we have introduced an International Work Remote Program so our staff can visit family and friends anywhere in the world.

Alison Scott, People and Culture Director, SYSTRA ANZ says, “We appreciate how challenging these last few years have been for people not being able to see their loved ones. With roughly 46% of our staff coming from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, providing the flexibility to work from an international location reflects how seriously we value our people and their ability to bring their whole-self to work.”

SYSTRA ANZ’s International Work Remote Program allows staff to work from anywhere in the world through 2022 and into the first half of 2023 for a one-off period of up to four-weeks.

Alison continues, “With our Headquarters in France, naturally we have a of people looking to head home for their first taste of the European summer in some time. We are hoping our staff take the time they need to reconnect with their families and enjoy some quality time together.”

So how have our staff used their time overseas?

Kate Moncrieff, Director – Human Factors, SYSTRA ANZ

I used a mixture of our work remote program and annual leave to extend my recent visit to the UK. I wanted to ensure I maximised the quality time I spent with the family and friends I have not seen since before COVID.

I worked two weeks over a five-week period which generally involved early morning starts in the UK to coincide with the afternoon in Australia. I communicated the plan to clients well in advance and then had the support of my team to provide cover as needed. It goes to show how far flexibility has progressed in recent years that this type of leave is not only accepted but also encouraged.

Kawtar Hadjadj, Senior Consultant – Transport Systems – Rail Engineering, SYSTRA ANZ

Kawtar Hadjadj
Kawtar (right) pictured with Sofiane Badouna, Director of SYSTRA Algeria at their office.

I utilised SYSTRA’s international work policy to catch up with friends and family who I haven’t seen for many years. I even visited colleagues in our Paris and Algerian offices. The experience offered a new perspective as to the benefits of working for a global business and I found that by going back home, my motivation for work increased and made my daily routine more dynamic.

Over a 3-4 week period, I mixed my time to find what worked best. I would typically start my day in the afternoon and use that as my focus hours. I would then login again later that night to attend client meetings and keep in contact with my team back in Australia. In the mornings, I relaxed and enjoyed quality time with my family and friends.

SYSTRA’s International Work Remote Program has been introduced alongside a host of additional policies and initiatives available to our employees that provide benefits across several dimensions.

To find out more about what it is like to work for SYSTRA, please click here.

Preparing for life after University

The second of our new staff-members is Theo Tselonis who joined our Transport team in June 2022 and is currently working on the Sydney Metro.

Theo Tselonis intern

In the second year of his Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science degree at UNSW, Theo was drawn to the industry thanks to his passion for the ever-changing world of applied math and science.

He says, “I’m really interested in learning more about the various aspects of design, teamwork, testing, and construction and hope to use my internship to discover more about these issues.”

When asked more specifically about why he was interested in beginning his career within the transport industry, Theo explains, “The sky is the limit quite literally. I’m excited because there is so much innovation and investment happening right now to shape the future of Australia and communities around the world.

“By joining SYSTRA, I get to see firsthand the day-to-day role of an engineer in the rail industry and get to find out what life would look like after university. I am keen to learn under the leadership of some of SYSTRA’s most experienced professionals while also getting an idea of what roles interest me. I get to be part of an amazing team, making real change in the world of rail.”

Theo’s excitement for transport is undeniable. When asked what his dream project to work on would be – historical or future – he’s quick to state, “Japan’s levitating bullet trains. They’ve already got an incredible record of accomplishment in rail and this project, where they are using superconductors to have trains suspended in the air to reduce friction while clocking speeds over 600km/h is going to go down in the history books.”

Theo will complete 60 days’ work experience with SYSTRA over the coming months. He is due to finish his studies in 2025.


If you missed our previous article where we spoke to Lizzie Cormack, have a read here.

If you are an aspiring young professional looking for your next opportunity, check out our Graduate Program or get in touch with Nancy Nguyen.

Providing opportunities for the next generation

The first of our new staff members, Elizabeth or Lizzie Cormack joined the Delivery and Growth Markets team in June 2022 and is based in Sydney.

Lizzie Cormack - Intern

Studying Mechanical Engineering at UNSW, Lizzie decided to pursuit a career in engineering thanks to her passion for math’s and physics at high school. She says, “I have always enjoyed numbers so naturally wanted to apply my skills in these subjects to solve real-world problems.”

Due to finish her studies in late 2023, Lizzie believes the internship is a crucial steppingstone into launching her career. She adds, “I’ll be completing my internship 2-days a week over the next 6-months. During this time, I am hoping to further develop my knowledge and learn more about the transport industry.

We love offering young and aspiring engineers the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

Alison Scott, People and Culture Director at SYSTRA

“I am particularly interested in the transport industry because it means I can work on projects that are going to benefit the community for decades to come. I also want to apply my studies to a broad field so I can work on a variety of projects and expand my skillset.”

Alison Scott, People and Culture Director at SYSTRA adds, “We love offering young and aspiring engineers the opportunity to gain valuable experience. Giving them exposure to some of Australia’s biggest projects while sitting alongside some of our most experienced leaders at the start of their careers is an important part of their development and is a fantastic way for us as a business to give back to the industry.

“Our young professionals are the next wave of leaders at SYSTRA and under the guise of our core values; Excellence, Connected Teams, and Bold Leadership we are excited to welcome them to the business.”

When quizzed about her dream project – historical or future – Lizzie believes that working on Apollo-11 in the 1960’s would have to be the pick.


If you are an aspiring young professional looking for your next opportunity, check out our Graduate Program or get in touch with Nancy Nguyen.

Key Appointment to assist growth targets in New Zealand

In what marks an exciting milestone for the business, Duminda is also our first full-time employee in New Zealand and will focus on growing our presence in the country.

Alana Newbrook, Chief Executive Officer, SYSTRA ANZ says, “Duminda is a key appointment for our business as we look to expand our footprint into new regions. Having just opened a new office in Auckland, Duminda will play a vital role in helping us support new and existing clients and partners as well as expand our local team with deep experience and connection to the region.”

Duminda brings to the team nearly two decades experience within both the construction and transport industries across New Zealand and the UK.

He says, “I am excited by the challenge of growing SYSTRA’s presence in NZ now we have a permanent home. Coming across from Auckland Transport, I have an in-depth knowledge of the market and many great relationships that will be valuable to SYSTRA.

“Within the New Zealand transport market, there are so many opportunities spanning active transport modes, roads and rail. I’m looking forward to spending the next few weeks getting out into the market, meeting as many people as possible and exploring the depth of SYSTRA’s international skills.”

Duminda (left) pictured with Helen Williams, Executive General Manager – Transport on the opening day of our new office.

With his experience built mainly on the client side, he’s buoyed by the opportunity to work within a multi-national consultancy.

“I’ve always been up for new challenges, and this is no different. By joining SYSTRA, I will be adding a whole new perspective to my capabilities,” explains Duminda.

SYSTRA is well known for having worked on some of the world’s most challenging and iconic transport projects around the world. Alana adds, “Our ambition is to be the signature team for transport solutions and to achieve this we have set ourselves some ambitious growth targets for Australia and New Zealand.

“We look forward to working closely with many new and existing clients and partners, sharing over 60 years of global expertise with them.”

Duminda finishes, “With so many opportunities to improve mobility and connect communities across New Zealand – I can’t wait to get started!”


Duminda’s passion for transport projects has been growing since his initial opportunity with London Transport back in 2008. Fast-forward to now, Duminda joins SYSTRA from Auckland Transport where he was the Director for the Rodney Transport Infrastructure Programme having also previously led the Auckland Cycling Program. Duminda has extensive experience as technical engineer, a Programme Manager in program and project controls and in Project Management.

Duminda completed his MBA in 2015 and is due to complete his Masters in Engineering Project Management in 2022.

To find out more information about our new Auckland office or to get in contact with Duminda, please hit the link here.

A new head for SYSTRA in ANZ

An engineer for over 20 years, Alana has worked in the transport, defence, and energy sectors, and has deep expertise in the set up and delivery of major infrastructure projects. Up until now she has been the Director of Advisory in Australia at WSP, where she has been leading work across Australia in transport planning and mobility, business cases, operations and asset management. She has previously worked at KPMG and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Among her career highlights to date, she was involved in the preliminary studies for the Sydney Metro project, design and construction of large sections of the Pacific Highway and has worked alongside TfNSW to develop their 10 year infrastructure plans.

With Bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and the arts (English literature and philosophy) from the University of Sydney, Alana also has an MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

I would like to welcome Alana, who accepted to join SYSTRA’s journey in Australia, a key country for our activities in East Asia and a dynamic market where we are advancing strategic missions, especially for Sydney Metro. We aim to continue our role as a key player in mobility engineering and write new success stories like in past years. In his role, I would like to thank Mark Scott for all his work at SYSTRA Scott Lister.

Jean-Charles Vollery, SYSTRA Chief Operating Officer

SYSTRA in Australia: a continuous growth since 2016

SYSTRA set up in Australia in 2016 with the acquisition of Scott Lister. The Australian teams then grew from 60 to 150 in just a few years, with the development of a Consulting branch specialising in digital solutions.

Our landmark projects are for systems engineering for the roll-out of ERTMS level 2 on the Cross River Rail line in the state of Queensland, as well as independent certification for the City & Southwest, West, and Northwest lines of Sydney Metro.