James Mitchell, the engineering manager at the City of Holdfast Bay in South Australia, received the Young IPWEA Emerging Leader Award at the 2022 International Public Works Conference in Adelaide on May 3.
In his ten-year career, Mitchell has emerged as a rising star of asset management in South Australia.
After completing a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Adelaide in 2012, Mitchell joined WSP/Opus International Consultants as a graduate civil engineer.
In 2015, Mitchell joined the City of Onkaparinga, where he rose to the role of Team Leader for Infrastructure Asset Management (acting), overseeing traffic and transport, water resources, coastal assets and asset intelligence.
At Onkaparinga, Mitchell spearheaded the transition from a one-year to three-year rolling project and capital works program, which led to an increase in projects delivered on time, on budget and to the agreed quality standards, with a 50 per cent decrease in projects carried forward (2015-18). The value of the three-year program is over $100M.
He also developed the council’s leading asset management document, a Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP), providing a line of sight between the Community Plan and day-to-day asset operations, and engaging and educating the community and the elected council members on asset management.
In 2020, Mitchell joined the City of Unley as Senior Assets and Engineering Lead, where he developed a Climate and Energy Plan and a series of AMPs across transportation, stormwater, buildings and open space, and oversaw the roll-out of LED street-lighting across council roads and cycleways.
At the City of Holdfast Bay, Mitchell has taken on a leadership role overseeing asset management, engineering, traffic and transport, environmental, coastal and capital program management services for council.
In addition to his work in local government, Mitchell gives his time to several industry groups and bodies. In 2018, he joined Young IPWEA (YIPWEA) SA, serving as vice-chairperson for nearly two years before being appointed chairperson in 2019, a role he continues to hold. Through his work with YIPWEA, Mitchell has emerged as an enthusiastic advocate for young people in the industry.
Mitchell is a member of the global Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), serving as project lead, vice-chairperson and now chairperson of IET’s International Young Professionals Community.
Mitchell is also a member of Local Government Professionals South Australia, completing the body’s Emerging Leaders and Professional Leaders Programs in 2016 and 2017.
In 2017, Mitchell won the IET International Paul Fletcher Young Professional Award, and in 2020, he was named the IPWEA SA Emerging Leader.