Construction luminaries honoured

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QUT 2008 Distinguished Constructor Award winner and Hall of Fame inductee William Wild
QUT 2008 Distinguished Constructor Award winner and Hall of Fame inductee William Wild

Two of Queensland's most prominent engineers have been honoured for their services to the construction industry with an award inducting them into Queensland University of Technology's Construction Hall of Fame.

Jose Goicoechea and William Wild received the honour after being named Queensland University of Technology's 2008 Distinguished Constructor Award winners at a ceremony held at QUT's Gardens Point theatre last night.

A highly recognised construction figure, Mr Wild, was awarded the Australian Civil Engineer of the Year in 2004 and has played a leading role as one of Queensland's most prominent engineering executives.

He was awarded a scholarship through Main Roads to undertake a degree in civil engineering at the University of Queensland, graduating in 1968, before moving to Cairns to take up a position with Main Roads.

In 1975 he joined Thiess Brothers as Project Engineer before being promoted to the role of Queensland Operations Manager, where he remained for 10 years before being appointed General Manager Mining and Waste Management to re-establish Thiess's mining business in Indonesia.

He moved to Hong Kong in 1988 to become General Manager of Leighton Asia where he spent nine years overseeing the successful resurgence of the business before his role was expanded in 1995 to include China and the Philippines.

Returning to Australia in 1997, Mr Wild returned to Thiess as General Manager of International projects and in 1999 led the acquisition of John Holland Group for the Leighton Group, where he spent six years as CEO of one of the most diversified construction businesses in Australia.

Mr Goicoechea, who pioneered one of North Queensland's most prominent earthworks companies, was involved in major earthworks including the Laverach Barracks and the construction of the aerodrome at Charters Towers as well as several prestigious land developments.

Born in the Basque region of Spain, he immigrated to Australia in 1938 and was educated in Ayr, before obtaining a cadet draughtsmanship with the Inkerman Sugar Mill.

In 1962 he and a partner established an earthworks company called Vasco Constructions, and secured several large contracts including those at Mt Isa and Cloncurry airports, as well as others for Main Roads and Mt Isa Mines.

A scholar of civil engineering, Mr Goicoechea, also developed a concrete kerb-laying machine which he subsequently licensed to have manufactured in America.

Prominent in community affairs, he resurrected the Amateur Turf Club and also undertook the earthworks for the North Queensland Cowboys stadium on a voluntary basis.

With his company, now called Mendi Constructions, in the hands of his sons Stephen and Jeffrey Doyle, Mr Goicoechea is pursuing his interests as President of the Basque Club of North Queensland and the Centre of Basque Studies at the University of Nevada.

Executive Dean of QUT's Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Professor Martin Betts said the hall of fame offered the chance to highlight the remarkable achievements of people in the construction and civil engineering disciplines.

"The hall of fame is a place which serves to highlight the work undertaken by these extraordinary people and provide role models to QUT students who aspire to follow in their footsteps,'' Professor Betts said.

Media contact: Amanda Vine. 07 3138 2130.

***High-res images available of Jose Goicoechea and Willam Wild available for media use***