Leadership Team

Protest Engineering is led by experts in their fields – leaders who combine deep experience and the ability to take the best long-term decisions.

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

Liam Kelly

Liam’s deep strategic approach as Managing Director has enabled Protest Engineering to continue to grow, transform and blossom into one of the most innovative Consulting Engineering Firms in Australia. Liam understands what it takes to run a multi-faceted and dynamic engineering firm, driving continual growth across all engineering services and construction materials testing (CMT) services. Prior to co-founding the business in 2015, Liam gained experience as a soil technician, gaining a depth of technical knowledge from the ground up. Having served with the Australian Army Reserves from 2010-2016, Liam has what it takes to lead and succeed in adaptive environments with values that echo in Protest’s motto: Synergy, Efficiency, and Sustainability.
Chief Operating Officer

Nick Ward

Joining the team in 2022 as the Chief Operating Officer, Nick is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Protest Engineering. Nick is a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer with over 30 years of experience across a wide range of construction projects in Australia and Europe and has notable experience in the management and leadership of large multi-discipline engineering organisations. His responsibilities have included civil and structural engineering with project planning, business development, and client relationship management for a variety of clients in large public sector organisations and private industries. Nick is experienced in the delivery of complex engineering solutions for major infrastructure, commercial, heritage, residential, and industrial sector projects and has significant experience in all building types and materials.

Nick’s qualifications include BEng (Hons) MEng, CPEng, MICE, RPEQ, FIEAust, and NER.

Practice Director - Gold Coast

Blake Thomas

After graduating from the University of Queensland in 2015 with a Bachelors of Engineering (Civil Engineering Major), Blake joined Protest Engineering and was responsible for all construction materials testing (CMT) fieldwork. Blake quickly moved into a leadership role within the Geotechnical Engineering division, which has seen rapid growth to become a team of over 15 staff. Blake’s work ethic and experience lead to a position in the upper management of the company and the title of Practice Director. Since joining Protest Engineering, Blake has been exposed to a wide range of situations and responsibilities that most engineers would not experience in such a short amount of time, which is a testament to his success.

Recently, Blake’s position has evolved into managing all divisions of Protest Engineering, whilst also playing a major part in company acquisition, developing business plans & budgets, and strategic planning for the company. Despite his focus on managerial tasks, Blake continually works to improve his level of geotechnical engineering knowledge and prioritises professional development in the field. This allows Blake to continue to undertake tendering and site consultations.

Practice Director – Sunshine Coast

Sean Kelly

Sean has over 11 years’ experience in the Geotechnical Engineering Industry. He is currently performing the role of Practice Director – Sunshine Coast where he oversees all Sunshine Coast geotechnical engineering and laboratory projects. Throughout Sean’s career, he has obtained his Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques and subsequently became a NATA level 5 technician. Sean finished with Honours in his Bachelor of Civil Engineering. Sean’s skills range from, but are not limited to, supervision and management of ground investigations, site inspections, pile design and certification, temporary works design, soft soil remediation, stability analysis, soil and rock mechanics, in-situ testing, earthworks supervision and consultation in related disciplines.

Sean’s qualifications include BEng (Hons), MIEAust, RPEQ, CPEng and NER

Download Sean’s professional profile here. 

National Laboratory Annex Manager

Samuel Bamford

Sam’s career began in 2003 conducting drilling, testing and cracked house investigations. He has gained industry knowledge and experience through working with a range of large engineering firms.

In 2015 Sam co-found Protest Engineering and is currently the National Laboratory Annex Manager. Throughout his career Sam has performed extensive testing on soils, rock, aggregate and concrete over a wide variety of test methods. Sam has also performed site investigations and supervision over large projects. Sam displays a broad range of high-quality knowledge over all facets of soil testing and the construction industry. His knowledge and expertise in the establishment of Annex facilities for NATA accredited laboratories is unrivalled.

Laboratory Manager - Moranbah

Jacob Lally

Jacob has over 9 years’ experience in the construction industry. Jacob joined the Protest Engineering team in 2018 and is currently the Moranbah Laboratory Branch Manager. Jacob has received his Diploma in Construction Material Testing and Certificate IV in Civil Construction and Earthworks. Jacob is regularly servicing Mining and Infrastructure projects all across Central Queensland. Jacob has expertise in a variety of construction material testing methods both in the laboratory and the field. Jacobs positive mindset and high integrity in the workplace has aided his growth in the industry.
National Compliance Manager

Zach Meredith

Zach joined Protest Engineering in 2017 and is a committed governance, risk, legal and Compliance Manager. Zach specialises in engineering statutory and regulatory compliance management. Zach has a proven track record within the industry in system implementations, organisational change, acquisitions and transformations delivering improved business outcomes. Prior to commencing employment with Protest Engineering Zach served 6 years in the Royal Australian Navy, and is an accomplished leader, evidenced by earning a CO’s commendation while deployed on HMAS Stuart. Zach has a history of delivering high quality, practical solutions in fast-paced adaptive environments. In addition to his already successful career Zach is set to complete his double degree in Law and Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast this year.
Associate Director Structural Engineering - Brisbane

Ben Weeks

Ben has 8 years’ experience in Structural Engineering, he has worked in project management as a professional on high-rise residential, commercial building and infrastructure works. Ben joined the Protest Engineering team early 2022 and is currently the Brisbane Structural Engineering Branch Manager. Ben has been involved in multiple aspects of life cycle engineering from conceptual design and calculations through to detail design, construction supervision and inspection.
Laboratory Manager - Melbourne

Cameron Axon

Cameron has approximately 12 years’ experience in the construction industry serving as a geo-technician on many major infrastructure projects in Victoria. Cameron joined Protest Engineering in 2016 and is currently the Melbourne Laboratory Branch Manager, where he oversees all Melbourne Laboratory projects. Throughout Cameron’s experiences, practical mindset, positive communication skills and dedication ensure his positive impact across all projects he is involved in.
Associate Geotechnical Engineering – Gold Coast

Justin Taing

Justin has over 5 years’ experience in the construction industry serving as both Geotechnician and a Geotechnical Engineer. Justin is currently the Gold Coast Geotechnical Engineering Branch Manager. Throughout Justin’s career, he has established himself as someone who has a widespread knowledge on various areas of the construction industry through his eagerness to learn and dedication to each project. During his time as an engineer and engineering manager he has been required to manage and supervise a team of geotechnical engineers and drilling staff, organise and undertake project management for projects of various sizes and draft and review fee proposals for clients. Practically, Justin has undertaken and been a part of numerous projects covering many geotechnical topics such as landslide and slope stability assessment, analysis and remediation, geotechnical investigations, drilling rig supervision, piling supervision, bearing capacity assessments, working platform designs, retaining wall designs and global stability analyses.

Download Justin’s professional profile here.

Associate Geotechnical Engineering - Melbourne

Nigel Wan

Nigel is a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) and currently leads the Geotechnical Engineering Branch in Melbourne. Nigel has over twelve years of combined experience in geotechnical engineering, construction material testing, construction and contract management. While working for numerous Australian and New Zealand leading geotechnical consultancy companies, Nigel has demonstrated holistic experience combining both engineering and construction industry with a proven track record in delivering projects front to end. Nigel has significant experience in providing forensic geotechnical assessment having worked over hundreds of distressed properties and landslides in New Zealand (under the Earthquake Commission Act) and in Victoria (especially within the reactive clay region). Nigel is also a peer reviewer to reports in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, and attends VCAT hearings as expert witness for geotechnical related disputes or claims.

Download Nigel’s professional profile here.

Associate Structural Engineering – Gold Coast

Troy Hunt

Troy is a forward-thinking structural engineer currently in the role of Branch Manager for Structural Engineering on the Gold Coast. Troy completed his Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil engineering in early 2017 after working with Protest in an undergraduate capacity. Troy accepted a role at Protest Engineering at the commencement of our Structural Engineering Division and in the years since has acquired experience in a large range of projects, becoming a valued member of the team before transitioning into the Branch Manager role in early 2020.

Troy has experience managing projects in the residential, commercial & industrial sectors, including tilt-up panel & structural steel warehouses, residential dwellings, suspended slabs, retaining walls, demolition, temporary support, and structural integrity assessments.

Principal Geotechnical Engineer - Sunshine Coast

Ryan Kemp

Ryan Kemp is a Chartered member of Engineers Australia (CPEng) and a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ). Currently a Principal Geotechnical Engineer at Protest Engineering Pty Ltd, Ryan has over twenty-five years’ combined experience in geotechnical engineering, soil mechanics, earthworks, civil materials and related disciplines during his employment in the private sector.

Ryan began his career soil testing as a young man in 1998 and after completing a Certificate IV in materials testing, continued worked in the material testing space until 2002. Ryan then excitedly took the opportunity to work as an Engineering Services Technician/driller for another four years. During this time, Ryan began his engineering studies and eventually in 2006 had the opportunity to join the Geotechnical Engineering team at Protest Engineering, where he began his professional journey. Since then, Ryan has established a solid reputation in the Geotechnical Engineering space and completed studies in both Civil Engineering and Business Management (majoring in Leadership and Management).

Specialising in geotechnical investigation, finite element analysis, permanent and temporary works design, construction monitoring, materials testing and consultancy Ryan has worked for a variety of projects in the following sectors: mining, commercial, residential, school, industrial, road and rail, bridge, power station, pipeline, mine and telecommunication.

Director of Major Projects

Matt Boyer

Matt is a chartered civil engineer and geologist and brings to the team over 20 years of experience working with consultants and contractors to deliver solutions to complex geotechnical problems on major civil and industrial construction projects. He has worked within the infrastructure, water, power and energy sectors for government organisations and major resource clients. In addition, Matt has managed geotechnical investigations and multidisciplinary landslide repair and pavement projects. His area of expertise is earthworks, pavements, retaining and foundation design.

Matt is an accredited slope risk assessor in line with Roads and Maritime Services (NSW) and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (QLD). His qualifications include BSc(Hons) MSc CGeol CPEng(Civil) MIEAust FGS NER RPEQ

Download Matt’s professional profile here

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