The team behind ANZ Geomechanics 2023




Dr Richard Kelly

Chief Technical Principal for Geotechnical Engineering and General Manager of Technical Excellence, SMEC Australia
Conjoint Professor of Practice, University of Newcastle
Richard graduated in 1994 from the University of Sydney then worked for Golder Associates in Sydney for two years. He spent a year working as a structural engineer and while travelling in the UK got asked to return to Australia to do a PhD at Sydney University with Prof David Airey developing a large diameter ring shear testing device. Richard then worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Oxford University in the UK on suction caisson foundations for offshore wind farms.

Richard returned to Australia in 2005 and worked for Coffey for 10 years in Sydney and Newcastle. Richard took a sabbatical at the University of Newcastle for two years to establish Australia’s national soft soil field testing facility in Ballina. Richard joined SMEC in 2015 as CTP for geotechnical engineering and is based in Brisbane. Richard retains close links with academia and enjoys being a bridge between academia and practice.

Dr David Lacey

Principal Geotechnical Engineer, FSG Geotechnics + Foundations
National Chair, Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS)
David graduated from The University of Sydney where he completed undergraduate degrees in both Geotechnical Engineering and Geophysics Degrees. He then quickly found his way to Brisbane, Queensland where he has worked as a full-time geotechnical engineer for the past 17 years. David joined FSG Geotechnics + Foundations seven years ago, prior to which he spent significant periods working within the Aurecon and Jacobs geotechnical teams.

David is passionate about finding innovative ways to investigate and model subsurface conditions, and provide efficient foundation and ground improvement designs for major infrastructure and commercial developments. Reflecting these interests, David’s PhD research involved validating practical, insitu characterisation of residual soils. This was completed with David Williams and The University of Queensland in 2016.

David has extensive recent expertise in the delivery of temporary works aspects of major civil infrastructure projects, as well as demonstrating how innovative and modern onsite field assessments – such as the Lightweight Falling Deflectometers (LWD) – can provide cost and efficiency benefits to the construction phase of such projects. Reflecting his commitment to the ongoing distribution of geotechnical knowledge throughout the industry, David is the current National Chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS), the proud host of this ANZ conference.

Prof Robert May

Technical Director for WSP-Golder in the Geotechnics and Tunnels Division
Adjunct Professor in the School of Engineering, University of Tasmania
Professor Rob May has had over 40 years’ world-wide experience in geotechnics since graduating as a civil engineer from King’s College London in 1979.  His DPhil research at University of Oxford was on piezocone penetrometers.  In addition to geotechnics for infrastructure, buildings and oil and gas projects, his career has included extensive seismic and offshore geotechnical work.  This included site investigations and detailed design for offshore wind farms and various projects in the nuclear sector.

Since coming to Australia in 2014, Rob has worked for WSP-Golder and is based in Melbourne.  Recent work has included the seismic assessment of foundations for a major cable stayed bridge in Central America, geotechnical design for infrastructure projects in Australia and work on the West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tasmania.

Rob is keen to promote excellence in geotechnical design and has particular interest in geotechnical solutions for seismic problems.