Dr Higgins began his career in the traffic signal unit at Brisbane City Council (BCC), simultaneously pursuing an electrical apprenticeship and engineering qualification at QIT, showcasing a rare blend of technical ‘hands-on’ abilities and design skills. Notably, he established the BCC Traffic Signal Laboratory, which was instrumental in developing Brisbane's BLISS wide area traffic management system during the evolution from relays to microprocessors in the mid-1970s.
Dr Higgins' entrepreneurial spirit led to the establishment of a software engineering company in the late 1980’s, followed by the formation of Excel Infotech in 1992 and its eventual expansion to the Excel Technology Group (ETG) in 1996.
Under his leadership, ETG’s robust R&D focus yielded over 30 innovative ITS products, securing five patents and garnering a reputation for reliability and quality. ETG has also delivered a highly successful range of detection solutions, which are widely deployed across Australia and internationally.
Paul’s pursuit of knowledge and excellence earned him a Queensland Government research Scholarship to attend the Engineering Entrepreneurship Development Program at MIT Sloan School of Management in 2007, further amplifying his contributions to the industry.
Beyond his own achievements, Dr Higgins’ commitment to societal impact is evident through ETG’s sponsorship of undergraduate and postgraduate research students. Paul’s dedication to nurturing future talent was recognised by the Queensland University of Technology in 2007 when he was honoured with an Outstanding Mentoring of Students Award.
Paul was appointed adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Queensland in 2013 which became a six-year tenure, and he continues to mentor and supervise research students today.
In 2023, Dr Higgins received Life Membership of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers Society, underscoring his profound impact and influence.