Alana Newbrook

Chief Executive Officer | Systra ANZ

  • Change agent
  • Future focused
  • Innovator
Based in: NSW
Modes: Road Rail Aviation Trams Maritime
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"As we start to use infrastructure not just to drive economic outcomes but to achieve social benefits, we need to have people with diverse voices and different experiences at the table to help come up with more creative solutions."

Current Position

  • Chief Executive Officer, Systra ANZ

Previous Positions

  • NSW Regional Director, WSP
  • Director of National Advisory Business, WSP
  • Director – Advisory, KPMG
  • Major Projects Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Process Engineer, Caltex Australia

Career Snapshot

Alana Newbrook is an engineer passionate about infrastructure and the built environment and the ability to improve social cohesion through access to essential services such as health, transport, and education along with the creation of jobs and improving how we interact with each other and the environment. 

As the CEO of Systra in ANZ Alana works with a talented team to drive innovation and bring the best global and local expertise to deliver complex projects. Systra prides themselves on designing and implementing the safest, most efficient, and secure solutions to their clients; with a focus on transportation, innovation, digital, cyber security, and technology.

Alana has over 20 years’ experience working across transport, defence, water, mining, oil and gas, power and environment. Career highlights include starting out as a project engineer in the petrochemical industry, delivering fuel and aviation upgrades with Department of Defence, working on the first iterations of the Sydney Metro project, making the Pacific Highway a safer dual carriageway through Alliance projects, working on EPCM contracts to deliver multi-billion dollar resources projects, reform of asset and facilities management in the Government sector and building high performing teams to grow new business. Alana is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of Engineers Australia. 

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In her own words 

Bold leadership is needed in the transport industry as projects are getting more complicated and infrastructure is not being seen as creating just one standalone asset such as a rail line or road, but as connecting into a whole system.

There are so many types of disruption in the industry, including the path to net zero along with better usage of technology that require us to come together and be bold and change past perceptions of how we do things. 

As we start to use infrastructure not just to drive economic outcomes but to achieve more inclusive and societal benefits, we need to have people with diverse voices and different experiences at the table to help come up with more creative solutions. 

Building opportunity

What is exciting is the amount of work that is going on in infrastructure and transport and how we are shaping the way people move and live, as well as creating a more even playing field in society.

We can really see this in Western Sydney with the creation of the aerotropolis. My Mum grew up in Western Sydney and I have a lot of family there.  For a long time, it had been a forgotten part of Sydney. The work happening there now is connecting people and building jobs and respecting the Indigenous culture.

I love seeing the system as a whole and how transport provides access to education and better jobs closer to housing. Infrastructure attracts a raft of development opportunities which can lead to greater community outcomes.

We also have a big role and responsibility in decarbonisation. If we build good transport infrastructure, it must address carbon emissions and support the path to net zero and leave a positive legacy for generations to come.  

Opening doors

We need to do a better job of educating people about what the different types of careers in transport can look like, particularly engineering which has traditionally had a very masculine identity. We need to talk about all the possibilities and role model what it looks like.

When I speak with students at schools and universities, I talk about all the amazing careers where engineering can take you – it’s not a linear path.

Being an engineer can take you anywhere in the world and provides a great skill set for a whole range of roles. Having that foundation has ensured I can walk through any door in my career.  

In terms of attracting more women to the industry, there is no easy solution. It will include encouraging girls into STEM classes at school, 50-50 graduate intakes as well as supporting those women coming back into the workforce in the mid-section of their career. We must work along the whole spectrum of a women’s career path and their education journey.

My vision for the next five years is…

 …to be the industry leading the charge to net zero, coming up with innovative solutions around the environment and seeing improved social equality through the big build we see today.  

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