CPB Contractors Engineering Director for VIC & TAS Benita Husband has over 20 years of experience in the construction and engineering sector as an electrical engineer, project director and technical advisor to government and private clients. In honour of International Women in Engineering Day, we have caught up with Benita to learn about her professional journey and what she loves most about the engineering sector.
So, Benita, tell us about your role here at CPB Contractors…
Of course, in a nutshell, I am responsible for the engineering, digital and quality outputs of all CPB Contractors’ projects across Victoria and Tasmania.
It’s a really exciting role with lots of variety, particularly because I am engrained in each project stage, from business development and tendering to completion.
And if you had to pinpoint the best part about your role, what would it be?
That’s a tough one because there are so many! You can’t beat the tangible nature of what we do, to be delivering major infrastructure projects where we see the community benefits first-hand, makes me really proud.
I am also really empowered in my role with CPB Contractors, I am encouraged to take an active part in the industry, and I am so proud to be championing capacity, capability and diversity in construction and I am taking an active role in upskilling women looking to join the sector. Many of these women are returning to full-time work and bring a valuable diversity of experience to their roles.
You’re a big advocate for diversity in our industry, particularly within engineering. Can you tell me more about that?
I believe that the more diverse the team working on infrastructure projects, the more reflective it is of the end-users and everyone benefits.
When it comes to attracting and retaining women, there is a systematic challenge that needs to be addressed from a lot of different angles. Building awareness of the opportunities for women in the industry is the starting point, and having visible role models helps. I believe we need to highlight the opportunities in transport and infrastructure to girls at school if they are to choose subjects that give them access to education relevant to our industry.
Tell us more about how you are getting involved with building capability, capacity and diversity in construction…
As a leading contractor, CPB Contractors understands how important it is to create a skills legacy and a sustainable future for our people, clients and communities, and the entire team here is encouraged to get involved in any way we can.
I am really passionate about building industry and government partnerships that can accelerate skill development – particularly on how I can help upskill and reskill women interested in a career in construction. As part of CPB Contractors’ commitment to creating opportunities, I am actually involved with the development of professional and leadership development programs in collaboration with Engineers Australia.
Wow! Exciting and important work is being done – Kudos to you.
Can you tell us about your career path up till now?
Sure, so I completed my Engineering degree in Tasmania and then moved to Melbourne, Victoria, where I began my career as an electrical engineer. I threw myself into developing a strategic mindset and worked to build skills my clients valued. I’ve worked on some pretty exciting projects right around the world, including the MCG Northern Stand, King Hamad General Hospital in Bahrain, and the new Australian Embassy in Jakarta.
And one final question, what advice would you give someone thinking about a career in engineering?
DO IT! There is often a stereotype that what we do in engineering is a lot of calculations and is very maths-heavy, and there is obviously maths and science that goes into the design. But the majority of what we do is engage with people to understand their problems, road-test solutions, and deliver great outcomes. In consulting engineering, it’s all about listening and communicating and presenting options. If you are someone who loves talking to people, loves the community, and loves making an impact - you can do that in our industry. Engineering is an active, out-there, connected role.