Award recognises a rare talent in local council engineer

Cobar Shire Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko congratulates council’s roads work manager Adrienne Pierini on winning a Women in Local Government Award.

Cobar Shire Council’s Roads Works Manager Adrienne Pierini has been honoured with a Minister’s Award for Women in Local Government.

Ms Pierini was announced as the winner of the Women in a Non-Traditional Role—Rural or Regional Council category last week by Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock.

The Minister handed out 22 awards and commendations to high-achieving women in local government, which included elected officials as well as council staff.

At 27, Ms Pierini is one of the youngest engineers and the first female engineer to be appointed by Cobar Shire Council. She is also a rarity among country NSW councils.

Ms Pierini commenced with Cobar Shire Council in 2013 as a trainee and, as a result of her proven competence and celebrated potential, was promoted in 2016 to the position of Roads Works Manager.

While transitioning from trainee to engineer, Ms Pierini was the project manager for the upgrade of the Cobar Airport runway ($2.6M) and was the only female on that job site.

She then went on to successfully complete her first major road construction project ($4M) while also finishing her dissertation in 2017.

Cobar Shire Council’s general manger Peter Vlatko congratulated Ms Pierini on winning the award.

“Adrienne has brought a fresh perspective and innovation to our Engineering department, both as a strong people manager and a technically capable engineer.

“Her appointment has forced a cultural change in our organisation, an acceptance she has had to work really hard to earn from her male peers, male subordinates and external stakeholders,” Mr Vlatko said.

“She presents a maturity well beyond her years and is now well respected for her abilities. Her professional achievements are inspirational to all the young professionals in our organisation and across the industry.

“Local Government needs to evolve and Adrienne is at the forefront of that evolution,” Mr Vlatko said.

As council’s Roads Works Manager, Ms Perini is directly responsible for 26 staff and has successfully project managed and delivered a number of projects.

She’s been described as someone who has challenged the engineer stereotype.

“Adrienne doesn’t ask anyone in her team to do anything she wouldn’t do herself; she leads from the front every day,” Mr Vlatko said.