Private sector: Engineering

Sharon Biermann
Research Project Manager
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Tel: +27 12 841 2470

Geographer Sharon Biermann, who is based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is an expert in geospatial engineering and spatial infrastructure economics. Having begun her studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1983, she worked for the Johannesburg City Council before going on to gain a doctorate in cost modelling for integrated land use and infrastructure planning at Unisa in 1999.

She joined the CSIR in 1994 and is managing the Planning Support Systems Competence Area in the Built Environment Unit. In 2004 she was a finalist in the science and technology category of the Shoprite Checkers/SABC2 Women of the Year Awards and a year later won Murray & Roberts’s JD Roberts Award for her research contributions focusing on, inter alia, integrated land use and development prioritisation.

Other honours include the John Wellington medal for best third-year geography student 1983 and the prize for best economics paper at the Fifth Symposium of the International Urban Planning and Environment Association in Oxford in 2002 for her presentation on creating sustainable urban environments.

Shereen Bogosing
Inimba Group (Pty) Limited
Tel: +27 12 665 1280

Shereen Tebogo Bogosing, a professional engineering technologist (PR Tech Eng), specialises in transportation and urban engineering. Her professional interest is in roads, water and sewer systems in township development projects.

She obtained her diploma at Technikon Northern Gauteng and her BTech degree at Technikon Witwatersrand before joining African Consulting Engineers in 1995. She worked on a contract basis for Pedi Consulting Services, where she successfully completed projects in roads and storm water in both Soshanguve and Alexandra Far East Bank. In 1999 Bogosing joined Malani Padayachee & Associates, and completed projects on transport planning, water meter maintenance and sewer design.

In 2001 she established a consulting firm, Kgatelopele Consulting Engineers (recently changed to Inimba). In 2007 she was appointed as a board member of the Construction Industry Development Board, named the BBQ Woman of the Year and honoured by the Gauteng economic development department’s Passing the Torch competition in the category of Women in Infrastructure Development.

Tania Douglas
Biochemical Engineer / Lecturer
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 406 6541

A biomedical engineer specialising in diagnostic imaging technology, Tania Douglas is an associate professor at the University of Cape Town’s department of human biology. She studied electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Cape Town and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and gained her doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

She conducted post-doctoral studies in facial image processing with the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation in Tokyo and is an expert in medical imaging and image processing. Her current research addresses major public health problems such as tuberculosis and foetal alcohol syndrome. Her awards and achievements include the Humboldt Fellowship for research at the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Germany in 2008, the NSTF award for Distinguished Young Black Researcher, 2005/6; the University of Cape Town Fellows’ Award for Young Academics, 2005; a junior associateship with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy; and a post-doctoral fellowship with the Japanese Science and Technology Agency in 1999/2000.

Irvy Gledhill
Fellow: Defence, peace, safety and security
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Tel: +27 12 841 3183

One of South Africa’s handful of aerospace scientists, Irvy (Igle) Gledhill graduated from Rhodes in 1976 and gained her doctorate in ion acoustic wave technology from the University of Natal, Durban, in 1983 before joining the CSIR in 1987. She has conducted research into thermonuclear fusion­ and plasma simulation at the University of California and in space shuttle physics and galactic simulation at California’s Stanford University.

Gledhill is a fellow of defence, peace, safety and security at the CSIR and chairperson of the CSIR’s Strategic Research Panel. She is a past president of the South African Council for Automation and Computation, and recently retired as president of the South African Association for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. She is a member of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics’ working party 9 on capacity building and education, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics’ working group on women in physics.

She is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a council member of the South African Institute of Physics, and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

Allyson Lawless
Director: Professional development and projects
South African Institution of Civil Engineering
Tel: +27 11 476 4100

A fellow of the South African Association of Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineering (UK), the SA Academy of Engineering and past president of the SA Institution of Civil Engineering (Saice), Allyson Lawless is managing director of her own structural engineering software business, Allyson Lawless (Pty) Ltd, and director of Civils Masakheni, Saice’s Section 21.

She has received many awards; among them, she won the EG Malherbe award for outstanding service in education, science and industry and the silver award for South African Software Export, and in 2007 was named Shoprite Checkers-SABC2 Woman of the Year in the science and technology category.

In 2008 she received an award from the National Science and Technology Foundation for her contribution to science, technology and innovation. Lawless serves on the Council of the University of Venda and in the Tertiary Education Review Initiative. She helped launch the local government engineering empowerment programme in 2000 and has published books on the skills challenges facing the civil engineering industry, Numbers and Needs and Numbers and Needs in Local Government.

Mpati Makoa
Environmental Manager
South African National Roads Agency Limited
Tel: +27 12 426 6000

Mpati Makoa holds a master’s in engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her career in the environmental field commenced with the Gauteng provincial government and includes consulting and industrial agencies. Makoa is the environmental manager for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), responsible for general environmental and related project management, environmental compliance as well as liaison with relevant parties, including other government departments.

Before joining Sanral, Makoa was the environmental coordinator for the Kelvin Power Station in Kempton Park, where she was responsible for environmental management and compliance, as well as community liaison. She championed a number of initiatives, such as Kelvin’s air emission reduction plan, recycling and reuse of the power station ash. She also played a major role in some of Kelvin’s social responsibility initiatives.

Malani Padayachee-Saman
Managing Director
Malani Padayachee & Associates (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 11 781 9710

There are very few black women at the helm of engineering firms in South Africa, and even fewer who have launched their own company — all of which makes Malani Padayachee­Saman most unusual. Padayachee-Saman, the MD of Malani Padayachee & Associates (or MPA (Pty) Ltd), is an experienced project manager and a specialist in water and sanitation. She has been involved in many engineering projects, from the provision of basic infrastructure to rural communities to the devising of a master plan of sewer infrastructure for the city of Johannesburg.

She has also been involved in a number of strategic initiatives, from the development of procurement strategies to water demand management. She gained her BSc Eng (civil engineering) from the University of Durban Westville in 1991 and her graduate diploma in engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1997. She is a member of the South African Society of Trenchless Technologies and the South African Institute of Civil Engineers.

Althea Povey

Kwezi V3 Engineers
Tel: +27 21 912 3000

Althea Povey has already held the reins of one of the engineering profession’s most influential bodies — she was the first woman president of the South African Association of Consulting Engineers (Saace). As president in 2005, Povey stood at the helm of an organisation representing 425 members employing 12 500 people.

She currently heads the waste and waste water treatment division of Kwezi V3 Engineers, one of the largest consulting engineering companies in South Africa, and serves on its board of directors. She gained her BSc, HEd and BEng degrees from Stellenbosch University as well as a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Cape Town. She was elected to the Engineering Council of South Africa in 2006 and serves on the executive committee. She has been involved in many and varied civil engineering projects. She is married to former Western Province and Springbok rugby star Shaun Povey.

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