CRCWSC Management Biographies
Ben Furmage, Chief Executive Officer
Ben Furmage, formerly General Manager, Customer and Strategy at Melbourne Water, joined the CRCWSC on a four-month secondment in mid-January as the interim COO and in June 2017 was appointed its Chief Operating and Finance Officer (COFO). He was appointed CEO in February 2020.
In his past role at Melbourne Water, Ben was responsible for setting the organisation’s high level strategic direction, overseeing community engagement, and improving customer service. Ben has provided executive leadership to a range of functions across Melbourne Water including water resource and infrastructure planning, utility regulation, public affairs, sustainability, innovation, customer service, research, and development. As a member of Melbourne Water’s executive leadership team since 2008, Ben has led large scale organisational change and industry reform programs. Ben is also an active contributor to the Water Services Association of Australia and VicWater.
Prior to joining Melbourne Water, Ben worked with the National Competition Council, the Productivity Commission, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Ben has an honours degree in Economics, a Masters of Business Administration, and has recently completed the Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Associate Professor Briony Rogers, Chief Research Officer
Associate Professor Briony Rogers is a Senior Lecturer with Monash University's School of Social Sciences and a Project Leader with the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) and Monash Water Sensitive Cities. Briony is also Co-Leader of the Urban Water Cluster with the Australia-Indonesia Centre. Her research explores how visioning, strategic planning and institutional change processes can enable transitions in urban water systems to create more liveable, sustainable and resilient cities. Briony has an interdisciplinary background, with a PhD in Environmental Sociology, a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science, as well as experience as an engineering consultant on water infrastructure projects in Australia and Vietnam. Briony was selected by the International Social Science Council to be one of twenty World Social Science Fellows in the area of sustainable urbanisation. She is also co-chair of the International Working Group on Water Sensitive Urban Design.
Jamie Ewert, National Engagement Executive
Jamie has over 21 years’ experience in the water and environment industry having worked in roles in service delivery, regulation, policy, strategy and research. He has recently joined the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities following 16 years at Melbourne Water Corporation with a focus on waterway management and integrated water management. At the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities Jamie works as a broker between researchers and industry and delivers the CRC’s ‘Research Synthesis’ service to facilitate the translation and adoption of CRCWSC research into practice. He has worked with cities across Australia to develop practical water sensitive city projects and brings extensive facilitation, engagement and IWM strategic skills to this project.
Malcolm Eadie, Commercial Manager
Malcolm has over 25 years’ experience in the water resources sector having held Senior Management and Directorship positions in commercial consulting practices providing strategic advice and design services to public and private sector clients. He recently joined the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities following a stint at the Queensland Water Commission and more recently as Managing Director at E2Designlab and Netgain Environments where his focus was on the promotion of integrated urban water strategy and planning. At the CRCWSC, Malcolm leads interdisciplinary teams of researchers and consulting partners to translate emerging research into practice.
Water Sensitive Cities Institute Think Tank
Professor Tony Wong, Chair, Water Sensitive Cities Institute Think Tank
Professor Tony Wong is internationally recognised for his research and practice in sustainable urban water management, particularly water sensitive urban design. His expertise has been gained through national and international consulting, research, and academia. He has led a large number of award-winning urban design projects.
He received the prestigious Sir John Holland Award as Australia’s Civil Engineer of the Year in 2010, and was cited as having defined "a new paradigm for the design of urban environments that blends creativity with technical and scientific rigour.”
CRCWSC Key Management Personnel
Dr Jianbin Wang, Chief Innovation Officer
Jianbin fosters multi-disciplinary collaboration particularly around translating research outputs into practice and incubating innovation through urban development processes.
Jianbin’s background is in environmental science & engineer and he has 12 years of professional experience in both public and private sector. Jianbin works closely with planners, ecologists, modellers, urban designers and landscape architects to deliver water sensitive urban design and multi-functional infrastructure to contribute to liveable and sustainable cities agenda. Jianbin has successfully implemented a series of built projects at different scales across Australia, China, Israel and Singapore.
CRCWSC Project Leaders
Dr Sayed Iftekhar, Project Leader
Dr. Sayed Iftekhar is an environmental and resource economist. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Western Australia in 2012 where he studied the application of combinatorial auction designs for procuring environmental goods and services. He was awarded the best PhD thesis by the Australian Agriculture and Resource Economics Society. Currently, Dr Iftekhar is a Senior Lecturer / ARC DECRA Fellow in the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics at Griffith University. He has published more than 49 journal articles and 4 book chapters and has delivered/contributed to 70 conference papers or presentations. Dr Iftekhar has secured more than $2.5 million AUD in industry grants and is leading the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities’ IRP2 project and PUB Singapore’s economic evaluation of ABC Water Certificates project. His attention to excellence has been recognized through the best PhD thesis award and the best Early Career Research paper award.
Chris Chesterfield, Project Leader
Chris is a key strategic thinker at the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities where he leads research into integrated urban and water planning.
Chris has a long history in the water industry and is nationally recognized for his leadership in waterway and urban water management and for his contribution to establishing Melbourne as a world leader in water sensitive urban design.
He continues to contribute to the management of Victoria’s water resources as a Commissioner of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and has chaired a number of Ministerial advisory committees related to urban and water planning that have led to significant planning and legislative reforms.
Chris was recently appointed by the Minister for Water to chair the Birrarung Council, a new statutory body, which brings together Traditional Owners and community to act as the ‘voice for the Yarra River.
Nigel Bertram, Project Leader
Nigel Bertram is a Director of NMBW Architecture Studio, Melbourne and Practice Professor of Architecture in the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture at Monash University. Nigel established NMBW Architecture Studio in Melbourne with Marika Neustupny and Lucinda McLean in 1997. Their architectural work since that time has been widely published and awarded across categories including urban design, single and multiple residential design, small public works, adaptive re-use of existing buildings and peripheral urban design strategies. NMBW's work is known for its careful reading of existing conditions, at both an urban scale and the scale of individual inhabitation. In 2012 Nigel was appointed as a member of the Design Review Panel established by the Office of the Victorian Government Architect. Nigel's current research with the Monash Urban Laboratory tests design-led processes for suburban regeneration and infill redevelopment, seeking new relationships between natural and human-made systems.
Sylvia Tawfik, Research Assistant
Sylvia Tawfik is a project manager and research officer with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, managing and providing research support for Integrated Research Project 3 – Guiding Integrated Urban and Water Planning. Sylvia has an interdisciplinary background, with a Master of Sustainability (Environment and Governance), a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Science. She’s also an experienced researcher, working on a range of water, energy and evaluation projects.
CRCWSC Regional Managers
Chris Tanner, Regional Manager - Queensland
Chris has over 30 years’ experience as a Consulting Engineer and was a Director of Bligh Tanner for 25 years, developing the firm into one of Queensland’s leading consulting engineering firms. He has taken a new career direction with the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities as the Queensland Regional Manager.
His focus is on integrating civil engineering solutions with the natural environment, and is recognised as a leader in sustainable development and water-sensitive design. He has regularly presented in a range of forums and published a number of papers, and is a skilled negotiator, with extensive design and policy experience, currently working with government and businesses to create the necessary changes to enable water sensitive cities.
Mellissa Bradley, Regional Manager - South Australia
Mellissa has 25 years’ experience working within the fields of civil design, development assessment, policy development, and environmental management and construction management for stormwater and wastewater reuse schemes.
Mellissa developed the Business Plan for South Australia’s water sensitive urban design (WSUD) capacity building program, Water Sensitive SA. She is implementing this plan in conjunction with her role as CRC for Water Sensitive Cities SA Regional Manager. These complementary roles focus on communicating the evidence base for water sensitive city transitions to decision makers and policy writers. Key initiatives include developing green infrastructure and WSUD performance-based planning policy, and an online stormwater assessment tool for small scale development.
Her work with government and industry supports the cultural shift and technical know-how needed to mainstream WSUD practice, to create more liveable cities and towns.
Georgie Wettenhall, Regional Manager - Victoria
Georgie is passionate about managing urban water to enhance landscapes and protect environmental values. She has helped develop WSUD within Australia by authoring technical guidelines, developing standards and presenting industry training courses and conferences. She has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and 20 years’ experience in urban water management.
Beth Salt, Regional Manager - New South Wales
Beth is a creative and innovative environmental program manager with wide experience in water, environmental sustainability and management projects, policy and procedure development in the public and corporate sectors. She has a record of establishing productive partnerships between different levels of government and industry to deliver better multiple water quality outcomes.
Post graduate qualified, Beth has a bright outgoing personality who communicates clearly and builds relationships based on trust and integrity. Beth is the acting Vice President of industry association Stormwater NSW.