Our People

Dr Rachel Westcott

PhD BVMS (Hons) BSc DipAppSc

Rachel is an independent researcher-practitioner who was awarded her PhD in October 2018, from the Translational Health Research Institute, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University. She is a veterinarian, graduating in 1999 with First Class Honours from Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, winning prizes in Anatomy and in Nutrition. After two years as an employed veterinarian, Rachel started her own mobile practice, Homecare Vet to Pet, in 2002, in response to community needs for veterinary care for people and animals with access difficulties. She attends many at-home euthanasias of beloved pets, and assists owners whose animals cannot attend a ‘regular’ veterinary clinic due to behavioural problems. Her veterinary special interests are in geriatric and preventative medicine.

Rachel is a former serving Police Officer in South Australia, and was a diagnostic radiographer at a major trauma centre in Adelaide until 1995. In 2009 she founded the volunteer agency South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM Inc), now a part of the Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Support Group under Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) in the South Australian State Emergency Management Plan. Her academic research interests include normalising preparedness in the community, reducing the impact of cropland fires and working with animal owners to help them best manage their animals in all-hazards emergencies.

Rachel has authored an extensive international list of peer-reviewed publications, posters, conference presentations and given many media interviews. She has written an expert blog for the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Resilience, and is a frequent guest at community forums. Outside research and academia she has won awards in the business and volunteer sectors. Rachel believes the researcher-practitioner brings a powerful skill set to facilitate strong and effective links across disciplines connecting academia, industry and other stakeholders in the community to find and drive solutions to many research questions.

For many years Rachel was an active competitor in equestrian sports, and since 2002 has been Veterinary Controller (Radio) at the four-star Australian International Three Day Event in Adelaide. Her out-of-office interests include growing organic fruit and vegetables, land care and restoring native habitat on her property and promoting the care and management (as well as owning) retired racing Greyhounds.

Emilis Prelgauskas

B.Arch FRAIA HE014

Emilis Prelgauskas graduated from the University of Adelaide Faculty of Architecture in 1973. He worked in private architectural practices, local government (including as Principal Architect with the City of Adelaide) and on State Government programs (including the Public Buildings Department- Asset Managers Forum) until 1988 when he began his own sole-practitioner private practice.

Emilis is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and a Sessional Commissioner for the Environment Resources and Development Court of South Australia. An ongoing regime of professional development focuses dynamically at the ‘innovation’ end of his profession, including post-graduate studies in town planning, business planning and mediation. He holds a TAFE SA Certificate IV in National House Energy Rating System (NatHERS) Assessment.

Emilis’ interest in high performance built environment began at university. As an architecture student he used the Adelaide University Faculty of Architecture wind tunnel on a series of elective studies with a focus on energy efficiency. During the early 1970’s he participated in the Energy Friends program, where he holds certification.

He has acted as an external reviewer for the South Australian State Government as South Australia moved toward minimum energy efficiency requirements for buildings, beta testing early versions of the National House Energy Rating System for the then Department of Mines and Energy, and the subsequent verification systems for the Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure. Emilis contributed peer-reviewed protocols for ‘expert judgement’, published as Note TEC 21 in the Environment Design Guide (EDG). He assembled a refereed post-occupancy measured building portfolio published as EDG Notes DES20 and DES59, to complement the DES12 paper by Cole. His team also reviewed the Environment Design Guide as a whole published as NOT 11.

Emilis’ projects are varied, including energy efficiency research programs for Dairy SA, and for Western Australian Government in the Pilbara Vernacular planning guidelines. The latter draws on Emilis’ arid desert building design expertise.

In 2018 Emilis was a finalist in the Citizen of the Year program in the Rural City of Murray Bridge, based on his years of inputs to Recovery Committees after bushfires, helping families with burnt-out properties to re-build, notably providing assistance with insurance claims, regulatory approval processes and builder contracts. The Department of Communities and Social Inclusion and the Department of Premier and Cabinet have recognised Emilis’ contribution. His in-depth knowledge of human-factor and building issues post bushfire have led to published papers in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management and in the memorial books coming out of each major bushfire event. A record of Emilis’ publications can be found at www.emilis.sa.on.net.

Emilis has a lifetime interest in unpowered flight. Adelaide University awarded him a full Blue for his achievements, and the Gliding Federation of Australia have awarded him a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards. These skills blend with his expertise in arid desert building design, drawing together his practical understanding of overarching weather systems down to the level of the microclimate of the built environment.

Emilis Prelgauskas is a Director of Engine Room Solutions. He brings expertise spanning practice, research and publishing with an emphasis on innovation, problem solving and proactively addressing the future needs of his chosen disciplines.

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