08 December 2016

Young Engineer of the Year 2017 finalists


Our finalists for the Young Engineer of the Year 2017 have been chosen from an incredibly high-calibre group of candidates! Congratulations to Lachlan Matchett, Oliver Whalley and Virginie Lacrosse on becoming our finalists.

Our entrants are judged in six areas:

  • Progress made in the development of career as an engineer
  • Demonstration of excellence in a significant engineering project or activity
  • Peer and other recognition
  • Professional body involvement and achievements
  • High standards of ethical and personal behaviour
  • Communication skills

They will give a ten minute presentation to support their application at an event hosted by the IPENZ Auckland branch in February.

Lachlan Matchett


Lachlan is the Vice President of Propulsion at Rocket Lab, and is working on the electron programme that will change how we access space.

He has led a large team of engineers in the development and production of Rocket Lab’s innovative Rutherford Engine - building the team from the ground up and being the principal engineer responsible for the design and analysis. Lachlan has also contributed to many aspects of the electron programme as a whole, and has played a key role in driving it since the beginning.

With a strong educational background in mechanical engineering, Lachlan also holds a Masters in electrical engineering. He was one of the first employees at Rocket Lab, which has since grown to a company of over 100 and continues to scale at a rapid pace.

Oliver Whalley


Oliver is a Transport Analyst for The World Bank, and his work is helping to transform the lives of people in developing countries.

He is passionate about sustainable transportation and he has recently been working in Kiribati on the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project on the remote atoll of Tarawa. Oliver led the Bank’s work in the areas of road safety, coastal protection and maintenance, ensuring that the project has positive and sustained benefits for the people of Kiribati.

Previous to his role at The World Bank, Oliver was with Beca until 2012. There he worked on a range of projects across New Zealand, such as the Christchurch Southern Motorway and the Pegasus Town development. When the Canterbury earthquakes made a tragic and dramatic impact on people and property in 2010, Oliver grasped the opportunity to contribute to the response and rebuild. He made a strong contribution with a number of activities and projects, further accelerating his growth as a professional engineer.

Virginie Lacrosse


Virginie is a Natural Hazard Engineer at Tonkin + Taylor, and has been at the forefront of liquefaction work to benefit the Christchurch community.

She started working for Tonkin + Taylor in 2011, right in the middle of the Canterbury Earthquake sequence. Her background as a mechanical engineer was no bar to her absorbing complex multi-faceted geomechanical problems. Virginie has been at the forefront of analysis, design and delivery of internationally ground-breaking solutions.

The increased liquefaction vulnerability (ILV) work Virginie has been involved in for the last five years has directly benefitted the Christchurch community. She also presented technical information at community meetings to help inform residents of ILV and the engineer assessment process.

Virginie has authored and co-authored a number of journal and conference papers and presented at four technical conferences in the last three years. Her work has also been published in the Geomechanics News and directly informed the latest update to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) New Zealand foundation guidelines.

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