21 December 2020

TSA’s Women Recognised for Leadership and Innovation in Construction

TSA women took away two trophies at the 2020 National Association of Women in Construction awards.

The first award was the Robert Pizzarotti award for contribution given to Taya Kirris for her leadership on the $780 million John Hunter Health and Innovation Precinct (JHHIP) Project. Through a period of turmoil and uncertainty, Taya first oversaw the feasibility stage of the project, which has been overwhelmingly supported by key stakeholders including the Health Infrastructure, Ministry of Health, Hunter New England LHD and hospital staff. Taya’s business case was recognised by Treasury as one of the best they had seen. Further, due to COVID and some team changes, Taya eventually took up the project lead role where she also was required to dynamically modify processes and methodology typically engaged on health projects.

The second piece of recognition for TSA was the Santa Sophia project, a joint application with Buildcorp, which was recognised with a Merit award for teamwork. The team was led by women both from the client-side and contractor side. The client-side team is led by Project Director Cassandra Naccarella with support from Project Managers Alex Lisney and Jade Marin. All three were involved from planning to delivery. The contractor side saw design management led by Erin Steinhauer with Erin involved from Early Contractor Involvement to delivery.

Cassandra has been involved from day 1 on the project, leading the strategy and driving the team to deliver the goals and take advantage of opportunities.

Alex was responsible for delivering on the clients’ vision. Working through days of briefing on the approach to learning, Alex was able to extract the key parameters and functional needs to brief the design team which included over 40 consultants. Alex took her experience a step further and transferred her experience with the client into their new technical standards, to enable continuous improvement of the design and future success.

Jade managed an innovative landscape design. The constricted site and vertical nature required an in-depth understanding of the nature of play and how the developmental needs of the students will be able to flourish in the vertical environment.



Erin had the colossal task of keeping the design team on track to the strict buildability criteria and design requirements of a future-focussed, vertical high-rise school.

Congratulations to Taya and the Santa Sophia team.

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