Benita Husband

Engineering Director – VIC & TAS | CPB Contractors

  • Diversity champion
  • Proactive collaborator
  • Sustainability advocate
Based in: VIC
Modes: Road Rail Freight/logistics
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"You can’t beat the tangible nature of what we do when it comes to transport infrastructure. We all know people in communities positively impacted when infrastructure is improved. That is what I am most proud of."

Current positions

  • Engineering Director – VIC & TAS, CPB Contractors
  • Fellow, Engineers Australia

Previous positions

  • Chief Executive Officer, pitt&sherry
  • Director of Strategy, Norman Disney & Young
  • Technical Director, Buildings, Aurecon
  • Vice President, Engineers Australia, Victoria Division

Career snapshot

Benita Husband is CPB Contractors Engineering Director for VIC & TAS, the Australasian construction company of the CIMIC Group and the largest contractor in Australia, which designs and builds major infrastructure across all key sectors including roads, rail, tunnelling, resources, water, and renewables. 

In this role Benita is responsible for the engineering, digital and quality outputs of CPB Contractors projects across the project lifecycle, from business development and tendering to completion. Benita also represents CPB Contractors at industry forums and events, championing capacity, capability and diversity to create a skills legacy and a sustainable future for our people, clients and communities. 

Benita is passionate about building industry and government partnerships that will accelerate skills and development training and is particularly focused on upskilling and reskilling women interested in a career in transport construction. As part of CPB Contractors’ commitment to creating opportunities for its people, Benita is implementing a professional and leadership development program in collaboration with industry partners, including Engineers Australia.

Benita has 20 years’ experience in the construction and engineering sector as an electrical engineer, project director and technical advisor to clients. She is recognised for her engaging leadership style, client focused outcomes, and guidance on aligning strategy with commercial success. 

Having completed her Engineering degree in Tasmania, Benita began her career as an electrical engineer for consulting firm Aurecon in Melbourne, throwing herself into multiple strategic and client focussed roles. Her career then saw her move to Norman Disney & Young as Director of Strategy of Clients, before joining pitt&sherry, a specialist engineering and environmental consultancy as Chief Executive Officer. 

Benita’s approach to clients is at the heart of her work, taking a proactive approach to building strong relationships and networks with a diverse range of stakeholders. She focuses on design that is good for people, often leading Clients on a journey to develop better project outcomes for their end users. Notable projects she’s completed have included the MCG Northern Stand, King Hamad General Hospital in Bahrain, and the new Australian Embassy in Jakarta. 

Throughout her career Benita has championed for more women to participate in engineering and greater diversity in the construction industry. 

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In her own words

COVID has shone a real spotlight on our logistics and supply chain, and how important any link in that chain is. Our transport infrastructure is one of those critical links. Seeing how government has invested in transport infrastructure more recently to help stimulate the economy shows the power and depth of the industry and how much of an impact it has on our economy, particularly in terms of how many people it employs. It improves communities and builds resilience.

It also enhances lives at a personal level. The best thing is hearing people talking about infrastructure if I am on the tram and or at a barbecue - not because they know I am working on a particular project – but because it has an impact on what they do. It’s exciting.

Driving diversity

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 pipeline issue. It’s a big systematic problem that needs to be tackled from a lot of different angles to have a meaningful impact. Building awareness of the opportunities for women in the industry is the starting point. Having visible role models helps. 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 an education relevant to our industry.

There is 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 communication and presenting options. If you are someone who loves talking to people, loves the community, loves making an impact - you can do that in our industry. Engineering is an active, out there, connected role. 

In my role at CPB, I am building capacity and capability, and actively upskilling women looking to join the transport sector. Many of these women are returning to full time work and bring a valuable diversity of experience to their roles. 

Magnify momentum

I have been in the industry for a bit over 20 years and I have seen positive changes when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Earlier in my career there were probably more overt issues, such as inappropriate posters displayed on site. Now the challenge is the remaining barriers are a lot harder to see and identify. It can be someone making an assumption about what sort of work someone wants to do returning after a career break. 

The challenge is not to think we have done all we can but to keep trying and to build momentum. 

My vision for the next five years is…

…technology and environmental initiatives working hand in hand to drive greater efficiencies and better sustainability outcomes. 

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