Global Speakers


Dr Ali Soofastaei

AI Expert, Artificial Intelligence Center


Topic: The Use Of AI To Reduce Maintenance Costs

Vale Ali-Soofastaei-Logo

Dr Ali Soofastaei is a Research Developer at the Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence at Vale.

He uses innovative models based on artificial intelligence (AI) methods to improve safety, productivity and energy efficiency, and to reduce maintenance costs.

Dr Soofastaei completed his PhD at UQ in the field of AI applications in mining engineering where he led a revolution in the use of deep learning (DL) and AI methods to increase energy efficiency, reduce operation and maintenance costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in surface mines.
Dr Soofastaei has been involved in industrial research and development projects in several industries including oil and gas (Royal Dutch Shell); steel (Danieli); and mining (BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Vale).

Dr Soofastaei has more than 10 years of academic experience as an Assistant Professor and leader of global research activities. Results from his research and development projects have been published in international journals and keynote presentations; He has presented his practical achievements at conferences in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Dr Soofastaei has published three chapter books and is on contract to write two new handbooks that will be published by Springer and CRC Press. He has also been granted three patents and has developed three software product.


Prof. Dikai Liu


Centre for Autonomous Systems, University of Technology Sydney

Topic: Robots For Maintenance: The Use Of Intelligent Robots For Civil Infrastructure Maintenance, Inspection And Painting

Professor Dikai Liu is Co-Director of the Centre for Autonomous Systems at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He has been conducting leading research on infrastructure robotics. Since 2005, he has developed many intelligent robots for infrastructure maintenance, including the autonomous bridge maintenance robot deployed in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the bio-inspired climbing robot deployed for confined space inspection, intelligent robot for underwater bridge pylon cleaning and inspection, and assistive robots for human-robot collaborative blasting.

Since 2006, Dikai’s research has received three best paper awards from international conferences, 14 research/engineering excellence awards and one High Commendation, including the 2019 UTS Medal for Research Impact, the 2019 ASME DED Leonardo da Vinci Award (USA), the 2019 BHERT Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Research & Development, the 2016 Australian Engineering Excellence Award (AEEA – category: Engineering Innovation Excellence Award), the 2015 Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) Award (category: Industry Application).



Asset Infrastructure Research Lead, Corporate Strategy

Sydney Water

Topic: Case Study – Applying Deep Learning & Immersive Reality  In Pipeline/Site Inspection & Maintenance In Sydney Water

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Graduated in 1980 with BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering from the University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka. Currently the Asset Infrastructure Research Coordinator for Sydney Water. More than 39 years of water industry experience in asset management, operations, maintenance, and water quality. This includes more than 15 years in managing Research and Development.  Dammika is the water industry lead for the innovative international $3M sensing innovation for leaks and breaks for water pipes currently in progress.  Also the water industry lead for the $24M CRC Project funded smart lining and coatings project. The water industry representative for a completed international IWA Applied R & I Award winning global research collaboration, the $16.5M Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction Project.  Member of the Steering Committee for the completed international IWA Applied R & I Award winning $20M ARC Linkage Project on Corrosion and Odour in Concrete Sewer Systems.  Currently manages the R&D partnerships with Sydney Water’s Water Filtration Plant Build Own Operators. Former Program Leader Distribution Systems for the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment.


Ali Izadi

Maintenance Superintendent A&I


Topic: How Digital Maintenance Helped BHP To Standardize Tasks And Reduced The Average Truck Downtime For A Regular Service From Two Hours To Just 40 Minutes

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Ali Izadi has worked over ten (10) years in wide range of industrial fields from Production Factories to Mine Sites, primarily in the field of Maintenance and Reliability Engineering.
He has a solid history of providing reliability

engineering support in driving improvements in assets’ performance through optimizing maintenance strategies and tactics, whilst undertaking a program of ongoing defect elimination.

Ali has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Maintenance and Reliability Engineering from Monash University. He is currently working with BHP Billiton as Maintenance Analysis and Improvement Specialist.

Ali’s main area of expertise is Total Real Time Condition Monitoring and Condition Based Maintenance.


Scott McMillan

Project Lead/Safety Manager, Technology and Innovation

Melbourne Water

Topic: Using AR/VR At Melbourne Water To Train Maintenance Engineers

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Scott McMillan has a trade background as an Electrical and Instrumentation Technician. He has specialized in the advanced treatment of waste water which has taken him to remote workplaces like Antarctica and the Cocos Islands. Scott now works in the Melbourne Water Safety Group and looks at new technologies and how they can improve the training outcomes for field staff.


Mark Denvir

Director of ICT

Auckland Council

Topic: Auckland City Council: How Field Service Inspection Automation Drives Savings

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Peter Seltsikas

Senior Manager, Asset Management

SA Water (invited)

Topic: How SA Water Uses Intelligent IoTs To Transform Maintenance And Field Service Mobility

SA Water


Nick Duggan

Field Technical Innovation

Downer Mining Energy and Industrial

Topic: Case Study – How Coal Miners Are Using Augmented And Virtual Reality  For Maintenance Planning



Greg William

Director Engineering & Asset Management

Yarra Trams

Topic: Panel: Learning Lessons From Implementation Of A Predictive Maintenance Program – What Are The Challenges, Failures, Ingredients For Success And Key Takeaways

Yarra Trams


Dwayne Pretli

General Manger - Asset, Risk & Compliance


Topic: Interactive Roundtable Discussion



Matthew Smith

General Manager, Works Program

Energy Queensland

Topic: Interactive Roundtable Discussion

Energy Queensland


Nathan Kirchner

Head of Robotics| Ventrures Advisor - Engineering Excellence Group

Laing O'Rourke

Topic: Automation Roadmap Into The Future For Construction

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Andrew Chapman

CTO and NSW Operations Manager


Topic: Drone Data: 3D Reality Models For Virtual Site Visits And Optimizing Field Service Inspections

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Andrew Chapman is the CTO of AUAV, a national drone data and Services Company founded in 2013, servicing companies and government agencies with aerial inspection, survey and other data.

Andrew has a background in aviation, technology, digital imagery and computer graphics. A leader in the new drone industry, he has started successful companies in both Australia and Canada, and has been flying remotely piloted aircraft of various forms since age 7.

He has a strong vision for the future of the industry and is incredibly driven and excited by all the possibilities that this new technology can bring to various sectors and special projects.


Ravi Ravitharan

Director, Institute of Railway Technology (IRT)

Monash University

Topic: Safer Rail Operations: Reactive To Proactive Maintenance Using State-Of-The-Art Automated In-Service Vehicle-Track Condition Monitoring

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Dr. Fang Chen

Executive Director Data Science

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Topic: Predictive Maintenance: Data-Driven Techniques To Improve Prediction Of Pipe Failures For Water Utilities

Dr. Fang Chen was employed with Beijing Jiaotong University in China from 1995-1999. She was appointed as the Associate Professor of the Faculty of Electronic and Information Engineering in 1995, as the Deputy Director of the Institute of Information Science in 1996, and then as the Dean of Faculty of Electronic and Information Engineering in 1997.

Dr. Chen began her career in industry in 1999 as senior researcher and Team Leader in Intel China Research Centre. She joined Motorola in 2000 as Principal Researcher and founding manager of the Speech and Language Generation Research Lab of Motorola China Research Centre, where she also acted as the account manager of business relationships for the Motorola China Research Centre. Dr. Chen moved to Australia in 2002 to work for the Motorola Australian Research Centre, where she chaired the Patent and Publication Committees.

She joined NICTA in 2004 and is currently the Research Group Manager and Senior Principal Researcher in Data61, CSIRO. Dr. Fang Chen has created many world-class solutions throughout her career. She leads many taskforces with the goal of utilising data analytics and computational platforms with scales and impacts both national and international. She has helped many industries towards excelling by better solutions to increase productivity, profitability and better customer satisfaction. She has achieved great success in many technical solutions and gained industry recognitions such as the ITS (Intelligent Transport System) Australia National Award 2014 and 2015. She is the “Water Professional of the Year” awarded by Australian Water Association (AWA) NSW on her exceptional leadership and achievements in helping water sector through innovative solutions. Dr Chen has more than 250 refereed publications and has filed more than 30 patents in 8 countries. She is also a conjoint professor with the University of New South Wales and adjunct professor with the University of Sydney, who has supervised more than 20 PhD students to finish.


Mahesh Shinde

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)

Airbus (Australia Pacific)

Topic: Integrated Modular Avionics: Revolutionizing Maintenance With 3D Printed Spare Parts


Manohar Esarapu

Head of Data and Information

City of Port Philip

Topic: Leveraging Big Data Analytics To Determine Root Cause Analysis Of Equipment Breakdowns



Saad Khan

General Manager, Capability & Asset Management

Downer Defence Systems

Topic: Downer Turns Predictive Maintenance Into A Reality Within The Company’s Rollingstock Services (RSS) Unit



Annamaria Greenwood

Senior Corrosion, Inspection and Materials Expert


Topic: Panel: Learning Lessons From Implementation Of A Predictive Maintenance Program: What Are The Challenges, Failures, Ingredients For Success And Key Takeaways


Anthony Roe

Head of Digital Technology


Topic: Fully Automated System Transforms Field Service Management at Downer