Team UOW

  • Kanchana Wijayawardena

  • Hayden Wood

  • Mark Single

  • Robyn Dawson

  • Tony Schaefer

  • Kate Darby

  • Cameron Porter

  • Gustav Peters

  • Crystal Eio

  • Alex Hemmings

  • Tim McCarthy

  • Rob Stephens

  • Ross Prandalos

  • Rosa the Roo

  • Daniel Simpson

  • Kurt Bandy

  • Nathan Licciardo

  • Emily Ryan

  • Macleay Stephenson

  • Suhail Salih

  • Jia Wei Yeap

  • Bob Sheridan

  • Sam Robertson

  • Mandy Li

  • Tyler Leggett

  • Allison Gillespie

  • Luca Faidutti

  • Simon Faulks

  • James Roth

  • Brittany Ryan

  • Clayton McDowell

  • Brendan Banfield

  • Clare Smith

  • Yeganeh Baghi

  • Andrew Fitzsimmons

  • Vivian Nehme

  • Jacqueline Thim

  • Lachlan Moodie

  • Laura Plocki

  • Jasper Dorman

Kanchana Wijayawardena

HR Liaison

Home Country: Sri Lanka

Faculty: UOW Business

I joined Team UOW because…  this project brings different people and cultures together promoting mutual respect not only to each other but also to the environment.

From this project I want to… improve myself as an effective team player in a productive work environment. I would also like to learn about innovative technologies in renewable energy management.

Interests: reading and composing poetry, cooking and traveling with my family.

Hayden Wood

Building Services Team Member

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I want to challenge my engineering knowledge and gain experience and practical hands on experience while undertaking my degree. I was also looking for something I could work on that would help my understanding outside of the classroom environment. This is a great opportunity to be involved in an engineering project as well as meet new people and make great friends along the way.

From this project I want to… gain engineering experience, industry contacts and friendships.

Interests: playing soccer for the Australian National Deaf Football Team, volunteering with the NSW Rural Fire Brigade and with the aviation brigade.

Mark Single

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: Engineering and Arts

I joined Team UOW because…Initially I was interested in learning about how recycled materials could be used in buildings, then I became more involved with the project and wanted be part of a team who were trying to create something innovative and exciting.

From this project I want to… Be part of an amazing team of people who are doing something great, see how all the theory I have leaned at Uni can be put into practice to create something tangible and to learn a whole lot of new skills and things about designing and building a house and about projects like this in general.

Interests: Sustainable living, philosophy, music and anything to do with the ocean.

Fast Fact: I cook a mean pumpkin soup.

Robyn Dawson

Event Team Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Business

I joined Team UOW because… I believe in the purpose and mission of the team to demonstrate affordable and sustainable housing. The benefit of energy efficient homes that we don’t often talk about is that they are not only more comfortable, but they generally promote the wellbeing of occupants.

From this project I want to… Improve the quality and dignity of people’s lives through the built environment.

Interests: walking, hiking, catching up with friends and a good book.

Fast Fact: My favourite book is Winnie the Pooh, so many of the sayings are still very relevant.

Tony Schaefer

Project Officer for TAFE NSW

Home Country: Australia

Faculty:TAFE Manufacturing Engineering and /environmental technologies

I joined Team UOW because…To foster greater collaboration between TAFE and UOW

From this project I want to create the opportunity to change the teaching paradigm within the building and construction industry to a more sustainable approach and break down the barriers of how all the various professionals and para-professionals are trained in silos to a more integrated approach of co-teaching and case studies and the Desert Rose will assist in this process.

Interests: Travel, continual learning and teaching and my family.

Fast Fact: I have enjoyed immensely the opportunity to assist the UOW and TAFE students to experience a project like the Desert Rose.

Kate Darby

Operations Team Member

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: Travel, Tourism & Events TAFE NSW

I joined Team UOW because: I was inspired and humbled by this project. A project that looks to innovate the way that we design and create sustainable homes while providing a home for life. A home for all of us to grow old in comfort and safety.

From this project I want to: To meet and work with a passionate, creative and motivated Team. As a Team I want us to create events that engage, inform and inspire industry and our community. I see this as an opportunity to expand my experience in events and my knowledge of sustainability in building design.

Interests: I enjoy the outdoors, all kinds of sports, running, cycling, going to the beach, camping, gardening… anything outside. I have a passion for interior design and creating beautiful spaces. I have used this passion for design to renovate 3 homes in the past 10 years.

Fast Fact: I love animals!! We have 10 chooks, 3 ducks, 2 x Guinea Pigs, 3 x Rabbits, 2 dogs and 9 fish…

Cameron Porter

Marketing Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Law, Humanities and the Arts

I joined Team UOW because… when I found out what the team was doing with the Desert Rose house all I thought is “Why don’t more people know about this?” I knew I wanted to join the team and use my design and marketing skills to help spread the Desert Rose message and let people know what a sweet house it is.

From this project I want to… Meet new people that know things that I don’t and work with these different disciplines to create a change.

Interests: design, theatre, cooking and making and watching movies.

Fast Fact: My life goal is to have a neutral impact on the planet. I’m definitely not there yet, but it’s the goal.

Gustav Peters

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined team UOW because… I wanted to get involved in a project with the uni. I also wanted to learn more about sustainable energy solutions and gain experience working with them in a practical way.

From this project I want to… gain the engineering skills to work towards a better future.

Interests: Travel, Hiking, Live Music, Gaming, Cricket

Fast Fact: I’ve completed the Hike to Mordor

Crystal Eio

Design and Construction Team Member

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Social Sciences 

I joined Team UOW because: I wanted to put my drafting skills (from my TAFE Building Design Diploma) to a real life application. This project also compliments my public health studies, as I’m able to learn about what it takes to create a home that supports health and wellbeing. Being part of the Desert Rose team has broadened my perspective about the complexity and countless considerations to build a house, let alone one that is designed to be age, disability and dementia friendly.

From this project I want to: gain experience working in a multi disciplinary team, share my knowledge of Revit and architectural/interior design drafting. And learn about the design principles, considerations and latest technologies applied to creating a healthful lifestyle supporting house. 

Interests: Food anthropology, eating good food, Interior design, drawing, watching documentaries, gaming, piano. 

Fast Facts: I have two pet rabbits who love to eat rolled oats. 

Alex Hemmings

Chef

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: TAFE Commercial Cookery

I joined Team UOW because I wanted to learn more about sustainability but also wanted to experience foods in a different country and let other countries experience our own. From this project I want to better understand dementia and also challenge myself in my career with cooking for others in another country.

Interests: food, travelling, art

Fast fact: I have over 50 tattoos on my body

Tim McCarthy

Academic Advisor

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I was approached by two inspirational students, Emily and Clayton. Their passion and vision convinced me that we had a great team in the making. I was Deputy Academic Advisor for Team UOW at Solar Decathlon China 2013, so I knew how fantastic the experience would be for our students.

From this project I want to… help students to grow their confidence and skills by completing a mammoth and meaningful task! I want to help demonstrate to the world that designing houses for universal living is feasible and a requirement for our future.

Interests: Finding things out, riding my electric bike and listening to Irish folk music.

Fast Fact: I have worked in 4 different countries before calling Australia home.

Rob Stephens

Home Country: England

Faculty: TAFE NSW – Infrastructure, Energy & Construction Skills Team, Teacher of high risk works

I joined Team UOW because… I was approached initially to deliver some working at heights and health & safety training, this progressed to me being asked to assist in the dismantle and reassemble of the house in Oz. The passion the students have for the project has made it enjoyable assisting them to safely disassemble/assemble the house. I look forward to get the opportunity to help out with other activities not the norm for me once the house is reassembled in Dubai.

From this project I want to…assist in any way I can to ensure the students safely complete the huge task ahead of them

Interests: Spending time with our young kids, camping, travelling (in Oz and overseas), going to the beach, always having a project on the go to “upgrade” our home or garden.

Fast Fact: We have an Aussie bulldog who has decided she no longer wants to walk around our local area (sits down at the drive way and refuses to move), happy to get in the ute and travel to a new location for a walk – loves the beach!!!

Ross Prandalos

Deputy Structural Design Team Leader

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I enjoy learning and can experience many different things that I would otherwise not get the opportunity to do. I wanted to apply what I have learnt at university, to meet and get to know more people.

From this project I want to… work on the structural engineering of a commonly built structure with unique problems and challenges due to the unconventional nature of the Desert Rose House.

Interests: all sorts of sports, but mainly soccer and pro-wrestling, gaming, action movies, learning how things are work and are built.

Fast Fact: I make very tasty souvlaki wraps.

Rosa the Roo

Team Mascot

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW and TAFE

I joined Team UOW because… The students in Team UOW are so passionate about what they do, I wanted to represent them as their mascot! Also, I always wanted to go overseas, and this way I get a free ticket!

From this project I want to… be the cutest mascot in the history of the Solar Decathlon .

Interests: Team UOW, hanging with the other kangaroos, making sure my team mates are staying safe.

Fast Fact: I probably own the world’s smallest hardhat and hammer

Daniel Simpson

Waste and Water Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined team UOW because…..I really wanted to physically build something after all the years on the books studying civil and environmental engineering! But additionally, sustainable buildings are the future and I want to be a part of the next generation of buildings!

From this project I want to……raise the profile of sustainable buildings and catapult some of the cutting edge technology used on the Desert Rose into the real world! Plus, I now know when to use different types of screws – I would have put a roofing screw anywhere in the past!

Interests: Surfing, playing music, sustainability, politics and camping (I’m going to plan some trips now!)

Fast fact: Was petrified of heights, then started rock climbing and now I’m still scared of heights.

Kurt Bandy

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I want to use my skills to help address two major challenges – climate change and an aging population.

From this project I want to… Learn the skills required to take something that I have helped design and bring it to life in a physical sense.

Interests: AFL, rugby league and Gary Vaynerchuk

Fast Fact: I have ridden a camel in a race

Nathan Licciardo

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: Engineering

I joined Team UOW because… It is an amazing opportunity to participate in such an innovative competition as well as being able to participate in a worthwhile UOW project.

From this project I want to… Help promote sustainable materials and technologies for use in domestic renovations and new constructions to a wider audience.

Interests: construction projects, cooking, sewing, 3D printing, blacksmithing, gardening, gaming and origami to name a few.

Emily Ryan

Operations Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Business

I joined Team UOW because… I competed in the Solar Decathlon China 2013 and had an absolute blast, I couldn’t wait to do it all again! I hoped to become a mentor to our new students and guide them through the Solar Decathlon journey. Being a part of the Solar Decathlon gives you the chance to have a positive impact on the planet and our society, which is greatly needed. I wanted to help make an impact, while expanding my own knowledge and skills.

From this project I want to… Gain industry experience that will guide my career development. I also want to hone my construction skills so that I can build my own sustainable house one day soon!

Interests: Travelling, volunteering, building things and cooking

Fast Fact: If I could have any superpower it would be teleportation because then I could go anywhere in the world instantly

Skills

CSS

Macleay Stephenson

Building Services Team Member

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… of the combination of sustainable design, large team project, and tangible outcomes It will give me the opportunity to apply the skills learnt at uni in a professional environment with flexibility.

From this project I want to… develop team work skills, demonstrate applications of course content and meet new people!

Interests: the great outdoors and all things food: growing, cooking and, most importantly, eating.

Suhail Salih

Home Country: Sri Lanka

Faculty: Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined team UOW because… I want to understand and pursue my interest in the thermodynamic concepts I’ve learnt in my degree and their practical applications in the HVAC system of the Desert Rose. In addition to this, the exposure of working with students from multiple faculties towards an academic orientated goal was something I was looking forward to.

From this project I want to… experience the value of team work, work with people of diverse cultural backgrounds on a large scale project with limited experience to back us.

Interests: playing cricket for UOW, cycling, swimming, and getting involved in as many co-curricular programs at uni to meet more people.

If I could travel anywhere… it would be to every corner of the world. Simply to engage in and be exposed to a wide variety of cultures and get a firm understanding of the different individual perspectives of people around the world. With the main objective of sharing this experience across the globe to bring together as many cultures and countries as possible to work on prominent global issues.

Jia Wei Yeap

Design and Construction Team Member

Home Country : Malaysia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I enjoy learning the concept behind the details of a component. I am keen to apply the knowledge gained from university into a real-life problem which in this case is building a sustainable modular house.

From this project I want to … gain professional experience in the structural engineering field which allows me to get hands on practice solving unique challenges happening in Desert Rose House.

Interest: Photography, Badminton, Drafting and Modelling (Revit), gain understanding the mechanism of components

Fun Fact: In love with geometry buildings and contribute leisure time on my Instagram

Bob Sheridan

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: TAFE Plumbing

I joined Team UOW because… I wanted to get hands on experience with a once in a life time project

From this project I want to… learn about new ideas in plumbing and install the latest products

Interests: sport

Fast Fact: won national plumbing competition in 2016

Sam Robertson

Design and Construction Team Member

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I wanted to put into practice what I am learning in my engineering degree, while also contributing to a more sustainable future.

Interests: Surfing, skating, AFL, playing guitar and hanging out with friends.

Mandy Li

Appliances Coordinator

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I am competitive and love a good challenge. I also get to tell people I’m building a house!!!

From this project I want to… develop innovative ideas that can be incorporated into the Desert Rose and any residential home. Also, to see the Desert Rose win in 2018.

Interests: Badminton and ultimate frisbee.

Fast Fact: The one phrase I say all the time is ‘Hello??’

Tyler Leggett

I joined Team UOW because… I craved the opportunity to work on a real world project with a group of motivated and talented individuals. Team UOW gave this opportunity to me and more.

From this project I want to… Learn new skills with new technology. I want to gain exposure to engineers with industry experience and to students with vastly different backgrounds than my own.

Interests: Spaceflight, history, concerts, video games, books, movies and rugby league.

Fast Fact: Sometimes I tell Dad jokes. Sometimes he laughs.

Allison Gillespie

Home Country: South Africa and Australia

Faculty: UOW Law, Humanities and the Arts

I joined Team UOW because… I see it as a great all-round challenge to get involved in and an opportunity to take what I am learning at university and apply it to a real-world project that can improve the way we live.

From this project I want to… improve my technical skills in film making and production, creative writing, and project management. It is also an opportunity to learn more about managing and working as a part of a large interdisciplinary team.

Interests: reading, creative writing, theatre, making films, conservation, flying and travel.

Fast Fact: I would like to spend some time on an isolated research station, probably in the Arctic or Antarctic.

Luca Faidutti

Design and Construction Manager

Home Country: Italy

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I have got a keen interest in sustainable construction and innovative technologies. Team UOW goals reflected my own values and interests, and our project grabbed my attention since the very first team meetings.

From this project I want to… create positive change for our community and future generations by promoting the adoption of sustainable ways of working and living.

Interests: Travelling, Travel Photography, Triathlon

Fast Fact: Contrary to popular belief, I do not speak with my hands (that much)

Skills

CSS

Simon Faulks

Landscape Team Leader

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I love the idea of sustainable houses, putting purpose and thought into the design of a house to reduce its impact on the planet

From this project I want to… Have fun building a house, gain new skills and put into practice what I’ve learnt at uni into a project that promotes the sustainable direction

Interests: Surfing, gardening, AFL

Fast Fact: I grow my own vegetables in a garden space made from old timber pallets

James Roth

BIM Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I thought it would be an amazing experience which I was unlikely to have the opportunity to experience again. It gives me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of sustainable engineering practices, and work with a group of like-minded people to achieve a difficult goal.

Interests: reading, coffee, food and more coffee.

Fast Fact: How could anyone have one favourite book, there are too many to choose from. I love reading Brandon Sanderson and Raymond E. Feist. I can ready anything by Matthew Reilly, Dan Brown and many others. I love reading classics by George Orwell, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne… basically I just love reading

Brittany Ryan

Quality, Safety and Environment Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Business

I joined Team UOW because… I believe it is an exciting and innovative project where I have the chance to put my education into action. It’s also a great opportunity to make new friends and expand my professional network.

From this project I want to… grow personally and professionally. I also want to meet new friends outside my field of study.

Interests: playing with puppies, hanging out with friends and just generally having a good time!

Fast Fact: If I could have any superpower it would be teleportation or time travel, so I can travel the world throughout past, present and future.

Clayton McDowell

Project Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: Engineering and Information Sciences

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

I joined team UOW because…of the impact this project will have. After some research, I met people whose life was harder than it needed to be. Many activities of their daily lives caused them pain or aggravation when these problems can easily be engineered away. This project gives me a platform to assist with this problem.

Interests: Reading, swimming and making new things

Fast Fact: I’ve never built a house before…

Skills

Managing

Brendan Banfield

Building Services Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because…  I have always had a passion for renewable energy and sustainability. I remember hearing about Team UOW winning the Solar Decathlon in 2013 and thought “”I wish I had heard about it sooner, so I could have been involved””. When I reached the end of my bachelor’s degree and heard that UOW was competing in another solar decathlon, I immediately knew I wanted to be involved. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the project, it is the perfect blend of cutting edge research combined with real world experience.

From this project I want to…  learn and increase my knowledge of not only electrical engineering, but across all areas of sustainability and sustainable buildings

Interests: snowboarding, wakeboarding, hiking and running, travelling and live music.

Fast Fact: If I could have any superpower it would be super intelligence because you could change the world.

Clare Smith

Deputy Graphic Design Team Leader

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Law, Humanities and the Arts

I joined Team UOW because… I have always taken an interest in architecture and to be involved in a project that combines architecture with graphic design piqued my interest. Being a part of such a wonderful, large-scale project that sees concept through to tangible delivery is a great way to improve upon my design skills in such a rewarding context. The project is fun and relevant to current issues globally as well as within the Illawarra region, and it’s a great way to meet people across faculty and to work collaboratively with different minds! I love the context of the project and the experience it will give me.

From this project I want to… Practical design experience in a real-world context, and the reward of seeing the project come to life at the end of 2018. Also having fun!

Interests: singing (traditional Irish folk music is my favourite) and performing, aerial hoop, typography and photography.

Fast Fact: My favourite memory is singing on board the Carnival Legend cruise ship at sunrise, looking out to the Sydney Opera House as the sun rose over the harbour. There’s no feeling quite like it!

Yeganeh Baghi

Innovations Coordinator

Home Country: Iran

Faculty: Electrical, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering

I joined Team UOW because global problems such as environmental degradation are increasing. The building industry seriously impacts on the environment. Energy consumption within both residential and commercial buildings has steadily increased and surpassed industrial and transportation sectors which are the other major energy consumption sections. In this Regard, in order to make buildings more energy efficient through technological sustainability-oriented-innovations (SOI), engineers will need to think innovatively; So I joined this journey as an innovations coordinator to continue my education while improving my engineering skills through the process of design, construct and build of the innovative cutting_edge lovely Desert Rose house.

From this project I want to… Learn as much as possible from our knowledgeable, supportive team in order to be a qualified multidisciplinary engineer within the area of sustainability (Energy consumption) and develop my connections and networks for my future carrier within the industry and university.  Also, I would love to apply whatever I am learning in my own future dreamy house one day.

Interests: Science, painting, camping and birdwatching, dancing and swimming

Fast Fact: I am OK and  You are OK!

Andrew Fitzsimmons

Structural Design Team Leader

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… because I have a passion for innovation and sustainability.

From this project I want to… gain skills, knowledge and contacts within the civil engineering space and beyond.

Interests: astronomy, technology, video-games and knitting.

Fast Fact: I can solve a Rubik’s cube!

Vivian Nehme

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I care about the future of our planet and I wanted to gain practical experience in building an efficient, sustainable house.

From this project I want to… raise awareness of sustainable building practices so that it one day becomes the norm in commercial buildings.

Interests: Travelling, Gardening, Natural building techniques.

Fast Fact: If engineering doesn’t work out for me I want to be an organic farmer.

Jacqueline Thim

Architectural Technology Coordinator

Home Country: Germany

Faculty: Engineering  and Information Sciences

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

I joined team UOW because… we as a team are given the opportunity to be part of the movement towards energy efficient and sustainable building in Australia. In a long run this certainly will support saving the *solar-bears*.

Interests: architecture, travelling, learning and trying new things

Fast Fact: If I could travel anywhere I would travel in time, go back to when the Pyramids were built and dissolve all the secrets we still don’t understand.

Lachlan Moodie

Building Services Team Member

Home Country:  Australia

Faculty: UOW Engineering and Information Sciences

I joined Team UOW because… I wanted to be involved in a project at uni with my peers that also contributes to the future

From this project I want to… gain experience with new technology in the area of home automation and also in sustainable housing across all disciplines

Interests: tinkering with electronics / programming, photography, travelling and getting outdoors with scouts – hiking, caving, scuba diving, abseiling, snowshoeing and canyoning.

Fast Fact: I’ve played the clarinet in three other countries

Laura Plocki

Communications Manager

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Law, Humanities and the Arts

I joined Team UOW because… of, initially, the dementia focus of the project, but I soon realised it provides real and practical industry experience, in a field that I’m interested in. Not only do I get to improve my skills and meet people from all over but there is also the opportunity to build the house itself, which is not something you get to do every day. Also, I get to make heaps of new mates.

From this project I want to… challenge myself and learn new things. I hope to be a better designer who is prepared for the world outside of university. I also hope to travel to Dubai in 2018 for the competition.

Interests: Basketball, warm spots in the sun, good books, coffee, inspiring designs and now construction 🙂

Fast Fact: I have had some really interesting/obscure jobs including working in a cheese factory, in a trampoline park, as a chef, as a telemarketer and cleaning sea urchins.

Jasper Dorman

Graphic Designer

Home Country: Australia

Faculty: UOW Law, Humanities and the Arts

I joined Team UOW because… I want to use my design skills and knowledge to support sustainable design and to advance and test my design skills on a real project for a good cause.

From this project I want to… have fun!

Interests: photography, videography, graphic design and music production.

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