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National Infrastructure Awards winners announced

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) has announced the winners of the 2019 National Infrastructure Awards.

Convened annually, the Awards recognise excellence in public administration and business, across major projects.

The Awards were overseen by an independent judging panel, comprising:

  • Ms Leilani Frew, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Project and Financing Agency (Chair)
  • Ms Kim Curtain, Interim Deputy Secretary, Trade, Tourism, Investment and Precincts, NSW Treasury
  • Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Secretary, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Mr Jason Loos, Director, Department of Treasury and Finance, Victoria
  • Mr Neil Scales, Director-General, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

The winners and finalists for each category in the 2019 Awards are as follows:

Project of the Year: Westconnex

Winner/s: NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW (Roads and Maritime Services) and their advisors Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Goldman Sachs, Newgate Australia, Turner & Townsend, and PwC. Sydney Transport Partners (Transurban, AustralianSuper, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, and Tawreed Investments) and their advisors; Advisian, Aquasia, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and WSP.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra) and their advisors; Arup, Clayton Utz, EY, HASSEL Studio, RPS Group, Sparke Helmore, Turner & Townsend, and WSP. Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL) and their advisors; AECOM, Architectus, CAF, Herbert Smith Freehills, R-Co, and SMEC.
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Arcadis, Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.
  • Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline – GHD, Jacobs, John Holland, MPC Kinetic, TRILITY, and WaterNSW

Advisory Excellence Award: Sydney Metro Martin Place integrated development

Winner/s: Advisors to Transport for NSW; Ashurst, CBRE, KPMG. Advisors to Macquarie Group; Herbert Smith Freehills, Macquarie Capital, MinterEllison, PwC, and Arup.

Finalists:

  • Infrastructure Victoria’s Advice on Automated and Zero Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure – Infrastructure Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Northwest OTS – Turner and Townsend
  • WestConnex Transaction – Advisors to the NSW Government; Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Newgate Australia, PwC, and Turner & Townsend. Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Advisian, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, and WSP

Financial Excellence Award: Westconnex transaction

Winner/s: Financial Advisors to the NSW Government; Goldman Sachs, and NSW Treasury. Financial Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Aquasia, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.

Finalists:

  • Agribo, Centre for Agribioscience Refinancing – Plenary Group
  • for Darling Harbour Live Refinancing – Capella Capital
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Macquarie Capital

Government Partnership Excellence Award: The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project

Winner/s: The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra), and Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL)
  • Metro Tunnel Project: Rail Projects Victoria and PwC Indigenous Consulting Partnership – PwC’s Indigenous Consulting and Rail Projects Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Martin Place Integrated Station Development – Macquarie Group, Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW

Contractor Excellence Award: Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline

Winner/s: John Holland and MPC Kinetic

Finalists:

  • Bruce Highway Boundary Road Interchange – BMD Constructions
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – CPB Contractors and Lendlease
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Fulton Hogan

Operator and Service Provider Excellence Award: TasWater for the Regional Towns Water Supply Program – Stages 2 and 3

Winner/s: KBR, TasWater, and TRILITY

Finalists:

  • Queensland Schools Project – Plenary Schools Consortium (Plenary Group, DeltaFM and Watpac) and Queensland Department of Education
  • Incident Management Response – Transurban and Ventia

Innovation Excellence Award: uninterruptible power supply for Melbourne’s railway signalling network

Winner/s: AECOM, AEG, Metro Trains Melbourne, Public Transport Victoria, and Thycon

Finalists:

  • Dynamic Speed Management Trial – Transurban and VicRoads
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Acciona, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Keppel-Seghers, Macquarie Capital, Phoenix Energy Australia, and Veolia
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Cowri and Fulton Hogan

In addition, John Holland’s Simon Lehman won the Future Infrastructure Leader of the Year Award. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia said that Mr Lehmans’ profile stood out to the judging panel amongst all the other entries because of his extraordinary commitment to the infrastructure sector.

The judges found that Mr Lehman has proven to be a major asset and path-breaking engineer for the John Holland rail team. His on-the-job mentoring of younger team members and his exceptional work at the forefront of infrastructure delivery was exemplary.

Moreover, Major Road Project Victoria’s Alexis Davidson won the Award for Women’s Achievement in Infrastructure.

Ms Davidson has had a long and successful career in infrastructure over the last two decades. The judging panel said they were particularly impressed by her strong leadership and mentorship of other female engineers in the sector.

The judges praised Ms Davidson for consistently delivering outstanding business cases for Major Road Project Victoria and developing an impressive reputation for her innovative thinking and professionalism as a female engineer at the forefront of infrastructure delivery.

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PI market will shrink to just a dozen firms says legal investor

Hundreds of firms specialising in personal injury could be whittled down to barely a dozen within five years. That was the prediction today from Steve Din, the founder of law firm investor Doorway Capital, as he predicted rapid consolidation of the market driven by imminent reforms of the sector.

Doorway recently acquired the debts of Simpson Millar owner Fairpoint and Din revealed the risk capital investor has substantial funds available to make further purchases.

Speaking at a PI conference in Manchester today, Din said: ’Of the 800-plus specialist PI firms presently in the market, consolidation appears not only likely but, for us, represents a real opportunity.

‘We consider this opportunity will also encompass non-PI consumer law firms. We believe Doorway Capital can force this consolidation by focusing our investment at making acquisitions, making lateral hires and investing heavily in direct marketing.’

Din, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, told delegates that some High Street banks are expected to retrench from funding small personal injury firms, leaving them to focus on funding just the larger firms.

He added that smaller claims management companies, particularly those that depend on RTA claims, would largely disappear, with the larger surviving CMCs becoming an alternative business structure and possibly integrating with a law firm.

Doorway Capital has come to prominence in recent weeks through its investment in Simpson Millar, effectively becoming owner of the national firm after the administration of its previous parent company Fairpoint.

Din insisted the firm is a profitable business which only posted losses for 2017 because of goodwill repayments.

Over the last two years, Doorway has advanced almost £50m to various law firms needing to fund their work-in-progress, case acquisition and the acquisition of other firms.

The PI sector is set to experience major change in the coming years, with RTA claims subject to a fixed tariff scheme and the small claims limit rising to £5,000 for RTA claims and £2,000 for other personal injury claims. Any claims worth less than those figures will effectively be taken out the hands of PI firms who will no longer be able to claim their costs. Fixed fees are also likely to be extended, following a report by Lord Justice Jackson.

A View from the Top: Janet Cooper OBE, founder of Tapestry Compliance LLP

At Tapestry, a law firm based in Yorkshire, 75 per cent of staff and 85 per cent of senior staff are female.

Janet Cooper was into flexible working long before it was fashionable. She joined Linklaters, a leading law firm headquartered in London, as a trainee lawyer in 1984 and made partner in 1991, in the shortest time possible. A couple of years later, she faced losing one of her best lawyers because the woman in question was about to have her second child at the same time as her husband was relocated away from London.

“She was going to leave to get a job locally, but we made it work so that she could work flexibly,” Cooper says. “She’s actually still at Linklaters, which shows the power of working this way.”

Flexible working became the heart of Cooper’s philosophy when she set up her own firm called Tapestry Compliance with Bob Grayson, a former in-house counsel of Shell, in 2011. Tapestry has just been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the highest award for British businesses, for its significant growth in overseas sales of some of the world’s biggest companies. Cooper herself was awarded an OBE in the New Years’ Honours list for services to equality, women’s empowerment and employee share ownership.

While London has long laid claim to the country’s best law firms, Tapestry, which is based in Yorkshire, bucks the trend. Two offices in Sheffield and Leeds have hoovered up top staff from magic circle firms looking to live outside the capital.

Cooper says she wanted to start a firm in the north of England because of her own experience as a trainee lawyer. “Back in the day to get a good job in corporate law you had to go to London. So I went down to Linklaters,” she remembers. “I had to leave all my lovely family and friends to get the job. These days with technology you don’t have to. So my goal was to create jobs in Yorkshire so people didn’t need to leave.”

Born in Warrington, but brought up near Huddersfield, Cooper never expected to become a lawyer. Her mother managed a coffee shop in Huddersfield and her father managed a steel mill. She left school at 16 and did A-levels and an OND in business studies at c before joining Rowntree Mackintosh, the sweet company, as a secretary in Halifax.

It was at college that a teacher called Bernard Atha, a former Lord Mayor of Leeds known for supporting minorities and those with disabilities, encouraged her to pursue law. Atha helped her find a suitable university and they landed on Leeds. Cooper stayed in Yorkshire to do her training contract and then left for London when she qualified.

Though her career would bring her full circle, offering women not so different from herself a great career in Yorkshire, her home remains in London. She talks to The Independent from her desk at home in Ealing Broadway, where she works remotely and lives with David Geake, her husband of almost 35 years, who is a retired lawyer.

She visits the two company offices and the 30 staff often. Bob Grayson, her partner, built the team up in Sheffield and runs the office from day to day, while Cooper spends a lot of time abroad working with the big clients the firm is now known for.

Grayson’s experience of managing major global projects, combined with Cooper’s expertise as global head of a magic circle employee share plans department, has attracted clients including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, HSBC, Aviva and Dell. Seventy per cent of Tapestry’s business came from the US in the last year, with other clients in Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Germany and Japan.

Clients are also attracted by fees up to 40 per cent cheaper than the competition. “Being based in Yorkshire means we’re so much more cost effective,” Cooper says. “Rent is so much cheaper up there and that makes it cheaper for our clients.”

Cooper credits Tapestry’s flexible working strategy for helping parents especially to keep working after the birth of a child. This has led to an impressive retention record: only one staff member has left in the last six years, while fifty per cent of the firm’s work comes from repeat business.

Three quarters of the staff are female and Cooper says the proportion is even greater for senior management, which is 85 per cent female. “There are issues in all City firms about retaining and promoting women when most of the City firms have less than 20 per cent women partners,” she later tells me via e-mail. “That masks that even fewer women make it to senior management in law firms or as General Counsel.”

Not all those making use of flexible working are parents. Rebecca Campsall joined the firm as a legal trainee just as her athletics career was taking off. Now she’s ranked 11th for the 100 metre sprint in the UK. She hopes to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and later in the 2020 Olympics. Campsall trains every evening and every Sunday and in two years, she has never missed a session.

“In terms of England selections, they really don’t give you much notice, so I could be told on Thursday, ‘On Friday you’re flying out to Bratislava.’ In a normal workplace that would be really difficult,” Campsall says. When a consultant recommended Tapestry for the flexible working, Campsall made sure to be open about her training schedule in the interview.

“A lot of firms can promise that it will be ok, but it was clear when I came here that this was the only place where I found that it was encouraged,” she says.

A quarter of British women do not return to work after childbirth and the pay gap gets increasingly wider for those who do, with women earning on average 17.5 per cent less than men in their forties, according to research by the Trades Union Congress.

Cooper, who does not have children, says she hasn’t experienced sexism at work. “Linklaters were a good firm for promoting merit. I wouldn’t say it was the same for everybody, but I was very grateful for them,” she says. “But it was very unusual going into a room where you weren’t the only women at the table.”

Nonetheless she recognises that at some firms, having a baby is assumed to mean that a lawyer wants to do less. “We need to understand the unconscious biases that go on in decision-making about promotions and assignments,” she says. “Particularly if a lawyer has children there may be the assumption that they don’t want training or to spend a lot of time abroad. I don’t agree with quotas but I do think things need to be improved.”

Tapestry hopes to show through its flexible policy that parents, and women especially, can be excellent lawyers if they are given the chance to thrive at a time when 60 per cent of law graduates are female, according to the Law Society, while only 27 per cent of partners are women in firms of over 50 people.

“My mother left school at 13 and was a very smart lady but didn’t have the opportunities I have had,” says Cooper, who was once on the UK board of UN Women, the United Nations for Gender Equality. “I am very keen to support women to reach their potential.”