Daniel Lambert, a UNSW Sydney alumnus currently working for Arup Australasia, has been honoured as the Sir John Holland Civil Engineer of the Year 2021 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the profession and to society.

The prestigious award is presented annually by the Civil College of Engineers Australia to an eminent civil engineer. 

The Award citation read: “Daniel’s contribution to engineering has been profound but also has his contribution to society on a wider basis. Daniel is a fine example of today’s professional engineer – delivering industry leading projects, providing leadership through key industry roles, mentoring and supporting younger engineers, actively promoting the profession and giving of his time in a wide range of voluntary roles.”

Lambert said: “I am proud and grateful to receive this award, which has a special personal significance because it honours Sir John Holland who was a mentor to me in my early career. He inspired me to excel as an engineer and contribute to society.”

A highly credentialled engineer, Lambert has worked in developed and developing countries for more than 20 years and his personal experiences have influenced his strong advocacy for the value engineers can bring in delivering sustainable and resilient outcomes for communities.

Well-known and respected as the Leader of Arup’s Regional water business, Lambert is also a passionate humanitarian, and has shared his expertise as a volunteer in developing communities with organisations such as WaterAid, Engineers Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, the World Toilet Organisation and World Vision. He recently qualified as a member of RedR’s Australian Humanitarian Register.

Beyond his work with Arup, NGOs and industry advisory bodies, Lambert is also a Captain in the Royal Australian Engineers Corps and has led emergency relief efforts and the Army’s assistance program in Aboriginal communities building houses, roads and water and sanitation projects.

“Our profession is fundamental to community wellbeing and positive environmental and economic outcomes. Every day we have opportunities to do work that improves quality of life,” Lambert said.

Lambert graduated from UNSW in 2006 after completing a Masters of Business and Technology, as well as a Masters of Engineering Science.

“I chose UNSW because I wanted to compliment my existing engineering skills with more business and commercial training, as well as strengthen my project management expertise,” he added.

“It was really a really enjoyable experience being involved in those courses and it taught the business side of engineering, learning about economics, accounting risks, the legal aspects and the contractual side of engineering.

“It helped me move from pure technical engineering training into thinking in a more holistic manner.

Daniel Lambert in Community Transformation Foundation in Pakistan

Daniel Lambert has worked on many humanitarian projects, including commissioning water pumps and schools for the Community Transformation Foundation in Pakistan 


“Engineering is not just about concrete and steel or pipes and pumps, it's really about people and the environment and having a positive impact.

“The technical aspects are only part of the solution, and we really need to look at it with an empathetic lens which actually understands, particularly in water, the transformational impact we can have on societies and the environment.

“I think UNSW is really at the forefront of developing amazing leaders for society. And I feel very thankful to have been able to learn from some great people there.”

His project achievements since graduating from UNSW include the Yarra Park Water Recycling Scheme in Melbourne, Victoria Harbour infrastructure development, the Karachi waste to Energy project in Pakistan and the transformative Bandar Lampung Water Treatment Plant in Sumatra Indonesia. He was Arup’s lead for the mobilisation of the innovative, industry leading Sydney Water Planning Partnership – a ten-year integrated planning partnership between Sydney Water, Aurecon and Arup.

His exceptional leadership, technical abilities and professional generosity have been recognised through numerous awards and commendations for excellence, innovation and mentoring. 

Peter Chamley, Chair of Arup Australasia 2018-2021, said: “Daniel is a dynamic, passionate and influential civil engineer who has successfully delivered challenging projects in Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands, South America and Africa. He has established himself as a compelling leader in the water sector through his significant project portfolio, his contribution to industry associations and NGOs and as a thought leader.”