Anna is a behavioural scientist with a background in health care, psychology and human factors. She also has 6 years’ experience as a human factors researcher specialising in transportation.
Anna is experienced in applying a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques – including questionnaire design, interviewing, focus groups and workshops – to clinical, laboratory and on-site investigations. She is currently involved in projects relating to quad-bike safety, and data integration. Anna’s previous research experience includes work on human factors projects around the safety of in-vehicle information systems and driver impairment.
In her spare time, Anna enjoys gardening and getting out and about tramping with her young family.
Bill FrithResearch Manager, Road Safety
Bill has expertise in all aspects of road safety and is an expert in the measurement of travel and the statistical values of travel time and safety.
He has worked in the transport sector since 1973. Before joining Opus in 2007, Bill was Manager Research and Statistics at the Ministry of Transport, where he managed travel surveys and willingness to pay surveys. He also managed the Austroads Safety Programme from 2004 to 2006.
Since joining us Bill has developed interests in agricultural safety and fuel efficient driving. His recent projects include work on the safety impact of road lighting, pedestrian safety, older driver safety, the impact of demographic change on travel and safety, quad bike safety and fuel efficient driving.
Chris joined Opus Research in 2014 as an urban studies researcher. He has a specialist interest in utilising GIS techniques to better understand the impact of urban environments and transport systems on the health, social and economic outcomes and behaviours of individuals, communities and populations.
Chris is experienced in spatial and statistical analysis, and in the use of quantitative and qualitative data to examine the processes and relationships that contribute to vibrant and sustainable urban centres.
Much of Chris’ recent work has examined processes related to natural hazards, urban planning, transportation, and population health.
David PollardCivil Engineering Technician
David performs geotechnical and concrete testing to determine material properties and behaviour.
He has been with Opus since 2006 and has IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) signatory status for polished stone value and several NZS 4402 soils tests.
David has experience with drainage and water reticulation networks, conducting assessments, and investigations surveys of public and private assets.
David WongConcrete Technologist
David provides independent laboratory testing on concrete for engineering properties.David is an integral team member of the Asset Performance Group and concrete laboratory.
He has over 14 years' experience in the concrete industry, including nine years as a ready-mix concrete quality control/assurance technician.
He is an IANZ (International Accreditation New Zealand) approved signatory and helps our clients achieve the goals of their quality assurance programmes.
David is also involved with condition assessments on existing concrete structures, and manages on-site testing of steel reinforcing, concrete coring, and chloride sampling.
He holds safe working qualifications in First Aid, Confined Spaces Entry, STMS Level 1, Safe Working at Height, and Elevating Work Platform Operator.
Dr Jared ThomasResearch Manager, Behavioural Sciences
Jared has an interest in how people interact with others, and infrastructure in urban and transport environments. His background is in human factors and applied social psychology.
Jared provides solutions based on intelligent, evidence-based design to improve the safety, comfort and usability of complex environments. This starts with understanding what people need and what influences user satisfaction with infrastructure.
Jared strives to better understand human decision-making around home and neighbourhood liveability in a successful city. He is also interested in what drives behaviour in community responses to natural hazards.
Jared is experienced in establishing working partnerships with transport planners, economists, urban designers, civil engineers, and road safety specialists. He brings a multidisciplinary approach that integrates social research with engineering, policy planning and infrastructure development.
Dr Jeremy Wu
Jeremy is a materials scientist specialising in powder metallurgy of glass and ceramic materials.
Since completing his doctoral studies, Jeremy has worked with industrial by-products such as pulverized ash from coal-fired power stations and slag from steel mills, anodizing technology development for nanomaterial fabrication, coating techniques such as electro- and electro-less-plating, and reaction chemistry of titanium alloy powder and fabrication of cellular metal structures.
Jeremy joined Opus Research in 2014 after working as a senior material scientist at Callaghan Innovation for six years. His current research interests include incorporation of waste tyre-derived crumb rubber modification into bitumen binders, and development of performance-based test methodologies for road surfacings.
Jeremy enjoys taking his young family out and about. In his spare time, he is a keen tennis and badminton player.
Dr Joel BurtonResearcher, Behavioural Sciences
Joel is experienced in statistical analysis, experimental design and testing human factors, with a particular focus on auditory stimulus.
Joel has worked for Opus Behavioural Sciences since 2012. Before joining Opus he completed a PhD funded by the UK Ministry of Defence. His thesis investigated the use of auditory stimuli to facilitate motor responses.
Since joining Opus Joel has worked on the future housing and transport needs of the Greater Wellington region, attitudes to billeting after the Canterbury earthquake, and the use of fleet vehicles within Opus New Zealand.
In his spare time Joel likes to ski and practise Aikido.
Dr Kym Neaylon
Kym is a bituminous road surfacings specialist and Team Leader of our Pavements Research and Laboratory team. He joined Opus Research in 2014 following seven years with the road and transport industry research organisation ARRB Group in Australia.
Kym’s experience includes provision of surfacings advisory expertise for clients throughout Australia, and technical support for a sprayed sealing practice review project in Ethiopia. He has undertaken open cut mining engineering, contract supervision and rural road construction project work, and has lectured on bituminous surfacings at the University of South Australia.
In addition to his work commitments, Kym is Chairman of the Australian Standards committee for ‘bitumen and related materials for road making purposes’ and he currently leads the revision of the many Australian Standards relating to bitumen. Kym is also completing a PhD part-time, investigating the effects of heavy vehicles on chip seal design.
Dr Murray ForbesScientist, Engineering Sciences
Murray is a versatile and experienced scientist with a doctorate in physics.
During 16 years at Opus, Murray has worked on a variety of projects including:
• rheology of bitumen
• compliance appraisal of fire alarm systems
• functionality testing of portable traffic signals
• overhauling and calibrating British Pendulum Testers
• logistical and technical support for Ministry of Transport alcohol and speed survey
• development and refinement of thermal resistivity test procedures
• peer reviewing geomechanical laboratory test reports
• wind tunnel testing of pedestrian wind speeds for proposed new CBD buildings.
Murray is also responsible for routine computer support for Opus Research’s LAN, and writing certain specialist software. He is the only person in New Zealand who is IANZ accredited to appraise fire alarm systems to NZS 4512 and AS/ISO 7240.
Dr Rosslyn McLachlanResearch Engineer, Geotech and Pavements
Rosslyn is a senior research engineer with over 13 years’ experience in geotechnical and pavement design and research in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Rosslyn has been involved in the consulting, local authority and research environments. This has given her an understanding of the drivers specific to each.
Her experience includes pavement design, analysis and research, and the development of best practice guidelines. This complements a geotechnical background including slope stability, retaining wall, pile design, dam legislation assessment and finite element modelling.
Rosslyn is working on a four-year project funded by the MBIE. This looks at developing more sustainable underground networks following an earthquake. It incorporates both pavement and geotechnical concepts.
Rosslyn enjoys time outdoors with family and friends.
Dr Robert HendersonResearch Engineer, Engineering Sciences
Robert works on the computational analysis of tyre / road noise, finite-element analysis of road surfaces and constitutive material modelling of bitumen.
Robert is a PhD-qualified chartered engineer. His recent experience includes the development of a Visual Basic®-enhanced Microsoft Excel® tool to help road design practitioners select aggregate; and development of a MatLab® program for defining out-of-context curves on New Zealand’s state highway network.
He is experienced in data analysis, extractions from databases (particularly large data sets) and writing and running Simple Query Language (SQL) scripts.
As well as numerical projects, Robert has experience devising models. A recent example is a water film model where ruts are present. The model is implemented in software, then output verified against measured data. He has also designed items of mechanical apparatus.
Dr Stephen BagshawResearcher, Pavements and Road Surfaces
Steve has established a reputation as a leader in the field of science and technology research. He also specialises in materials chemistry and nano-porous materials.
Steve’s extensive experience has been gained in labs in New Zealand and around the world. Steve has developed several novel materials that showed activity in areas ranging from catalysis and molecular sieving to energy and bio-medical devices.
He has worked on projects for the NZ Government, the European Commission (UK), CNRS (France), JISTEC (Japan) and commercial clients.
Steve has spent the past five years building a motorcycle racing coaching academy. More recently he set up a motorcycle manufacturing business designing, developing and marketing a new GPMono/Moto3 motorcycle to the world motorcycle racing market.
Steve spends his spare time working on race bikes, cycling, or with family and friends.
Dr Vivienne IvoryUrban Scientist, Urban and Environmental
Vivienne is a social scientist specialising in urban environments. Her work at Opus has a public health focus.
Vivienne has expertise in examining the relationships between where people live and their health. Her current research interests include links between built and natural environments, transport, and health and wellbeing; and how impacts might affect population groups differently.
She recently extended her work to researching the ongoing effects of natural disasters on businesses and communities.
Vivienne also has a part-time research role at the University of Otago’s Wellington campus, working in the multidisciplinary field of neighbourhoods and health.
Gary BentleyRoading Laboratory Manager, Pavements
Gary has over 32 years’ experience in laboratory testing. He is passionate about testing and ensuring correct results are given.
Gary understands the importance of meeting clients’ needs and strives to offer a fast, efficient, accurate and quality service. He has the ability to manage several projects simultaneously.
For the last six years Gary has been managing a client contract for The Provision of Professional Advice and Testing of Roading Materials.
In a previous role with AgriQuality, Gary was a successful study director. He project-managed GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) studies, including scoping, regulation, performance design, data analysis and final reports. These studies involved a high level of quality assurance and traceability.
Guillaume Roux joined Opus Research as leader of our structural testing and analysis activities. He is a Structural Performance Technologist qualified in mechanical and industrial engineering, and innovation management.
Guillaume’s work with Opus includes specialist investigation, testing, and research related to the structural performance of a wide variety of materials and products. A recent project involves complex and demanding standards compliance testing for the innovative ReidBar™ coupler for New Zealand-based Reid™ Construction System, to confirm compliance under both tension and compression deformations.
Guillaume has previously worked in the automotive and special machinery industries, and in the development of anti-counterfeiting solutions for the security printing industry. He is experienced in project management, process engineering and design in an industrial context.
Engineering Scientist, Iain McIver returned to Opus Research after five years pursuing other interests. For the last three years Iain has been working in an agritech product development company where he continued to develop his strong analytical skills. Iain’s primary role within the Engineering Sciences team relates to road-traffic noise, structural monitoring and data analysis, particularly modelling of noise and assessment of effects.
Outside of work Iain enjoys running, biking, kayaking and fishing.
Igor KvatchEnvironmental Scientist – Urban and Environmental
Igor plans and develops investigations and environmental impact assessments for road transport related noise and air quality.
He has over 26 years’ experience in air pollution dispersion modelling, air quality monitoring and environmental impact assessments. This includes odour impacts, dust and road transport emissions, and transport noise monitoring and modelling.
Igor’s environmental impact assessment projects include odour assessments in Katanning, Western Australia, for a poultry farm and a proposed relocation of a saleyard complex.
He prepared noise and air quality impact assessment reports for the SH1 Avalon Drive bypass; post construction noise at the Hawke’s Bay Expressway interchange on SH50; the Christchurch southern motorway projects and the Wellington Basin Reserve bypass. Igor also has experience in preparing evidence for council hearings.
Jean has joined Opus Research as an urban studies researcher specialising in pragmatic, cross-disciplinary infrastructure research. Jean’s research interests include investigating infrastructure investments relative to what people need now and what they are likely to need in the future, as well as how infrastructure interacts with human behaviour and socio-economic systems.
Jean is particularly interested in designing and conducting research to produce outputs that are immediately relevant and useful for decision-making. She has research experience in revealed and ‘unrevealed’ transport preferences, latent and future demand for different types of travel and transport infrastructure, and testing of common assumptions around the benefits of different types of transport infrastructure.
Jean is also involved in research into social and built resilience to natural hazards, including factors influencing business recovery after earthquakes, and approaches that can effectively motivate owners of earthquake-prone buildings to adopt hazard mitigation measures.
Jo Westwood joined Opus Research in 2016 as Client Care Coordinator and is the third member of our Business Services team. Jo has extensive secretarial experience and has most recently worked for law firm Buddle Findlay. Jo also enjoys coordinating events and marketing.
Outside of work Jo loves interior design and runs a styling blog, working with a few companies styling and photographing their products.
John PatrickPrincipal Research Engineer - Pavements
John manages Opus’ research into pavement materials, design and performance. He provides expertise to the New Zealand Transport Agency.
John has over 40 years' experience. His work includes the relationship of deterioration models to pavement design, and modelling pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. He has investigated pavement failures throughout New Zealand and in American Samoa and Malaysia.
John has managed research into pavement materials including hot mix asphalt, granular base course, aggregates, chip seal and bitumen. His technical input for the NZTA includes advice on specifications for granular base course, chip seal and hot mix, and revisions to the pavement design guide and specifications.
Instruments Engineer Lance Molyneaux is a graduate of Victoria University Wellington, with an ME in electronic engineering.
For his master’s project, Lance designed an underground mine scout robot which is highly mobile, and able to gather sensor data in hazardous underground mine environments.
Outside of work, Lance plays a lot of football and enjoys tinkering with automated toys and technology. His current focus is a modular sensor system, with a view to improving monitoring capabilities.
Laurence Harrow joined Opus Research after transferring from the Opus Napier office. Laurence is part of the pavements team specialising in road surfacings and asset management. Laurence is also part of the NZ Transport Agency national surfacing steering group providing direction and education on surfacings within the roading industry and works with Opus’ global asset management team in Australia and Malaysia.
Laurence enjoys being outdoors with hunting, tramping, fishing, diving and kayaking the main activities pursued.
Dr Maggie Trotter
Maggie is a senior researcher in our Behaviour Sciences team. She has a background in systems safety and accident analysis, and was previously a researcher in the Accident Research Centre at Monash University, Melbourne.
Maggie is currently working on a range of projects looking at road user behaviour in reaction to infrastructure such as road signage and on-road treatments designed to improve cyclist safety. These projects employ a range of methodologies including in-depth interviews, focus groups, naturalistic observations, and instrumented vehicles.
Maggie is also currently completing a PhD on the system factors that may influence people’s ability to improvise in safety critical situations.
Mike Lusby is an electronics/IT/software specialist based in Palmerston North.
Mike has joined our Instrumentation Team to develop and implement novel instrumentation solutions. Recent projects include bridge monitoring, traffic statistics, and the instrumented bike.
Mike is an avid powerlifter and enjoys motorsport, both as a driver and an engineer.
Murray McLachlanSenior Geotechnical Technician - Asset Management
Murray brings extensive experience analysing earth materials to the Opus Asset Management team.
Murray has been working in the geomechanics lab testing area since 1977. His experience covers triaxial, shear box, consolidation, permeability and classification testing of soils and base course materials.
In recent years Murray has been involved with thermal resistivity testing of soils, aggregates and low strength concrete.
Neil JamiesonResearch Leader Aerodynamics and Road-vehicle inte
Neil leads two areas within Opus Research’s Urban and Environmental team: road-vehicle interaction and aerodynamics. This includes operation of the Opus wind tunnel.
Neil has a master’s degree in physics and over 25 years’ experience in wind engineering and industrial aerodynamics. His work in this area includes desk, field and wind tunnel based assessments of things like pedestrian level conditions, wind speed in complex topography, and wind-induced building motion.
Neil also leads road-vehicle interaction research. His research and consultancy projects have included studies in skid resistance, tyre wear in different tyre-road combinations, and crash reconstructions with PC-Crash®
His particular expertise is the instrumenting of vehicles for performance monitoring.
Neil's clients include EECA, NZTA, NZ Police and the Road Safety Trust.
Neil LeeSenior Materials Technologist – Asset Management
Neil works within the Opus specialist Concrete Materials Group. He is mainly involved with condition assessment, service life prediction and remediation of concrete structures.
Neil has post-graduate qualifications in geology and industrial chemistry, and a particular interest in durability performance.
Before joining Opus, Neil was a scientist with BRANZ Ltd managing a research programme quantifying the service life of modern concrete mixes in marine environments. He was also involved in the development of novel binders designed to mitigate the contribution to anthropogenic climate change from Portland cement manufacturing.
Neil has also worked on durability testing and consultancy for a range of inorganic construction products, reported on building failures, and provided opinions on the compliance of materials and systems with the B2 durability clause of the New Zealand Building Code.
Pam is our Office Manager. She has worked in a variety of industries during her career, including the professional sports arena, aviation, executive consultancy and not-for-profit sectors. Pam also brings engineering sector experience to her Opus Research role from a previous position with the civil engineering department at the University of Western Australia in Perth.
Pam recently returned to New Zealand – and her home city of Wellington – after 21 years in Australia.
Paul CarpenterWind Engineering Specialist – Engineering Sciences
Paul brings to the Opus Engineering Sciences team extensive experience in wind engineering, aerodynamics and wind tunnel testing in construction design.
Paul conducts wind tunnel studies to predict pedestrian experiences around buildings, and effects on glazing and cladding. He studies the effects of wind loads on tall buildings; researches wind speeds for structural design and wind energy applications; and develops wind tunnel test procedures, equipment, and analysis techniques.
Paul has also been involved in road safety research, including skid resistance, and has analysed environmental vibrations from traffic and construction works. He has skills in data acquisition and analysis, and computer programming using Matlab®.
Paul came to New Zealand from England in 1981, and has spent most of his career with Opus. He lives near Hamilton, and works with his colleagues at Opus Research through remote desktop technology.
Peter BenfellBusiness Manager – Corporate and Adminstration
Peter leads Opus Research. His primary focus is on ensuring that Opus Research delivers significant value to clients.
Peter has over 25 years’ experience in research and product development working in both the private sector and in Crown Research Institutes. Prior to joining Opus in 2011, Peter was General Manager, Agriculture & Environment at AgResearch Ltd where he led a team of 300 research staff.
Peter has significant experience in establishing, managing and executing large multi-disciplinary projects. He has also played a governance and leadership role in the development of several large research partnerships, including leading the successful establishment of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.
Peter CenekResearch Manager – Engineering Sciences
Peter is a partner at Opus International Consultants. He has considerable expertise as a mechanical engineer.
Peter's specialist areas include building and vehicle aerodynamics; tyre-road interactions; safety management of roads; assessments of pedestrian level wind flows and ground vibrations; and analysis of vehicle operating costs.
Peter has published widely in all these areas and has received two ACENZ Awards of Excellence for improved road asset management. International recognition for his research on tyre rolling and skid resistance led to Peter’s involvement in development work on the World Bank’s HDM model.
Currently Peter’s attention is focused on the development of robust crash prediction and pavement performance models to inform management of road infrastructure, and more accurate estimates of structures’ response to wind loading.
Philip HerringtonScientist - Road Materials
Phil Herrington is a chemist who brings 25 years’ experience in roading materials research to the Opus Pavements team.
Phil's work focuses on bitumen rheology and chemistry, and applied research into bitumen production, asphalt and chip seal surfacing.
Findings from Phil's work have been included in numerous international
journals and conferences. His research has also been incorporated into various NZTA specifications and methods.
Phil's recent projects include research carried out as part of an international collaborative project coordinated by the OECD.
Phil currently leads a large, MBIE-funded programme developing new road construction technologies in collaboration with CRL Energy Ltd and the University of Wisconsin.
Russell KeanSenior Instrumentation Engineer
Russell has over 30 years’ experience in electronics and software engineering.
Russell has been with Opus for 12 years and has a particular interest in data acquisition and embedded systems. His work at Opus has included the design and build of many electronic and embedded systems, capturing data in one-off acquisition projects, and completing technical reviews of equipment.
Russell has also taught process control to students in the water and wastewater treatment industry.
Specific projects he has worked on include:
• a laser based stationary road profiler for Main Roads, Western Australia
• a data acquisition system to monitor blast pressures during prison door
• evaluation of automatic pedestrian counters for NZTA
• evaluation of the Apple iPad for acquiring vehicle speed, handling and
ride quality data for road asset management purposes.
Russell Steele joined the Opus Research Testing Services team in 2015. With his science degree in chemistry from Massey University, he will be undertaking a range of laboratory and field project work including playing a key role in our testing work for the Wellington highway management contract.
Russell has an extensive background in road contracting services and laboratory work, and spent the past 10 years working for Higgins Contractors. His hobbies include alpine and bush tramping, and caving.
Richard joined Opus Research in 2013 as Business Development Manager. He has over twenty years’ experience in research and development, and in commercialisation of intellectual property for Crown Research Institutes and start-up companies.
Prior to joining Opus, Richard was a senior business manager with AgResearch Ltd. He has also undertaken contractual work for BCC, which is involved with early-stage technology, start-up companies and angel investment.
Richard has a background in biotechnology and engineering, in managing large patent portfolios, and in the global commercialisation of intellectual property. He has been directly involved with four technology start-up companies in NZ and the US. Richard is also a business coach and mentor.
Shaun CookResearch Labotatory Technician – Pavements Group
Through his varied work at Opus, Shaun has gained extensive knowledge in roading surfaces and construction, as well as quality control of hotmix testing and bituminous materials.
Shaun has been part of the Opus Research team for 10 years, during which time he has gained considerable experience through working across two significant parts of the business.
Shaun started out in the Roading Laboratory but for over five years has been an integral part of the Pavement Surfacing Group. Shaun is involved in both new development projects and site investigations.
He has technical skills in bitumen, asphalt and aggregate testing; nuclear density meter operation; and bridge conditioning assessment work.
Sheldon BruceManager - Asset Performance
Sheldon is the Research Manager of the Opus Research Asset Performance Group. He is recognised as a Technical Principal in the field of concrete materials.
Sheldon brings to the Asset Performance Group 28 years in concrete materials technology. He specialises in site investigation of deteriorating concrete structures including bridges, wharves, chimneys, towers, buildings, pipelines and treatment plants.
Sheldon has extensive experience in the investigation and repair of concrete damaged by reinforcement corrosion in New Zealand as well as Australia and the Pacific Islands. He is actively involved in research into various aspects of concrete durability.
Sue FreitagTechnical Principal, Concrete Materials
Sue brings to the Concrete Materials team over 30 years' experience as a cement and concrete technologist and scientist.
She has made many contributions to the development and uptake of concrete materials technology in concrete products, infrastructure and buildings.
Sue researches alkali silica reaction, reinforcement corrosion and asset management practices. Her work has fed into concrete industry guidelines and standards. In 2009 Sue was one of a team awarded Australia’s Kevin Stark Memorial Award for its multidisciplinary approach in identifying and addressing concrete durability problems on two coastal bridges.
Sue's recent projects include research into the durability of concrete piles in South Island bridges, and reviewing the influence of surface treatments on the service lives of concrete bridges.
Sue currently chairs a group of Opus practitioners with interests in engineering and construction materials.
William is a chartered professional civil/geotechnical engineer who has worked for Opus and its predecessor for over 30 years. His role with Opus Research involves ensuring the team continues to deliver relevant and high quality research to our clients, as well as encouraging others to see the true value of good engineering.
William is a Fellow of IPENZ and recipient of the IPENZ Turner Award for ongoing commitment to the self-regulating profession. William is also an invited member on the National Pavement Technical Group, which assists the NZ Transport Agency to comment on current practice, and to review and develop technical specifications and guidelines.
William’s previous experience includes delivery of pavement materials and earthworks construction courses as part of the Diploma of Highway Engineering and BTech (Hiways) qualifications. He has also presented earthworks design/construction and engineering material theory courses, and a series of geomechanics workshops for IPENZ.
Denise WaringClient Care Coordinator
Denise Waring joined Opus Research in January 2017, as a Client Care Coordinator and is the third member of our Business Services team in Petone.
Denise is a great addition to the team, bringing with her strong customer service skills gained from many years in the retail industry. Denise is also the Health and Safety Representative for our Petone site.
Outside of work Denise enjoys being outdoors, gardening, tramping and spending time with family.
Lia van den KerkhofResearch/Engineer Scientist
Lia is a scientist in the pavements team. She completed her master's degree in chemistry in 2014 which focused on improving the efficiency of solar panels through thin film and liquid crystal technology. She also has experience in nanomaterials, liquid crystals, spectroscopy and chemical synthesis.
Lia joined Opus at the end of 2016. Prior to this she spent two years working in a quality assurance laboratory with a focus of analytical chemistry. Her current research interests include bitumen rheology and chemistry with a focus on bitumen and PMB specification.
Outside of work, Lia enjoys dancing and taking part in modern jive competitions and doing many crafts.
Richard JackettPrincipal Scientist – Acoustics and Data Analysis
Richard specialises in acoustics, with expertise in environmental noise, modelling and measurement of sound propagation, and developing measurement and calibration systems.
He has over 15 years of professional experience in data analysis, covering topics including earthquake damage prediction, race car telemetry, road traffic crash rates, and various behavioural studies.
His previous experience includes responsibility for maintaining the primary standard for sound pressure at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK, developing catastrophe risk analysis systems in the United States, managing noise research for the UK’s department for the environment (Defra), and stints at several environmental consultancies.
Rio YonsonSenior Research Scientist
Rio is an economist specializing in the study of the economics of natural hazards and disasters. Her work in Opus focuses on the economic assessment of costs and benefits of projects and on researches pertaining to natural hazards and disasters. Rio has been engaged in disaster-related work since 2010.
She has 15 years of experience in the provision of technical assistance to government agencies, state universities and colleges, and local government units along development planning, investment programming, and project monitoring and evaluation. She has taken lead roles in several projects funded by foreign donor countries and multi-lateral development institutions.
Her current research interest is along economic vulnerability and economic resilience to natural hazard and disasters, using econometric methods and GIS tools.
Sebastian SchäfflerGraduate Engineer – Aerodynamics and Mechanical
Sebastian joined Opus Research in 2017 as a Graduate Engineer specialising in Aerodynamics. He has completed a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Canterbury and more recently a Masters of Aeronautical Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano.
Sebastian’s work focuses on aerodynamic testing in the Opus Wind Tunnel. These tests involve using scale models to establish the behaviour of wind around both current and proposed structures in New Zealand cities.
Outside of work, Sebastian enjoys playing squash and playing/listening to music.
Dr Lisa Early
Lisa is a senior researcher in the social sciences team. Her interests include urban form and transport, urban and regional development, and the impacts on people and environment.
She has previously worked as a researcher and manager at the University of Otago, most recently at the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities. She has also held digital communications and project management roles at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZ) and The National Archives (UK).
Lisa's skills include science communication - analysing and translating complex data into clear advice. She has co-edited two books on New Zealand research, Drivers of Urban Change (2015) and Homes People Can Afford (2013), with a third book on resilient urban futures in press.