Thursday, May 27, 2010

End of My Year

Well,  this evening was the end of my Presidential Year,  and so this is my last post to this blog.

We had our Annual General Meeting this evening,  and after presenting the annual reviews of the year,  and financial report,   I duly passed the chain of office to the incoming President,  Martin Lowery.

Its been an extraordinary year for me,  and one that I enjoyed tremendously.   I've summarised it in my annual report to the members,  which has been distributed electronically to them and which is also reproduced below.

Thanks for following me on this blog.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finance Committee Meeting; Executive Committee Meeting

This evening we had a regularly scheduled Finance Committee meeting, followed by a meeting of the Executive.

It in fact was Brian Kavanagh's last meeting as Chair of the Finance Committee,  after six years of voluntary leadership and oversight.  It was also Jim Browne's last Finance and Executive meeting,  as out-going Past President.  I am very grateful to both for their enormous commitment and support for Engineers Ireland,  and expressed our gratitude.  In fact,  it was also my last Finance and Executive meetings as the current President,  and Martin Lowery takes over from me at the AGM on 27th next.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Presidential Speech

I have given my presidential speech a number of times throughout my year as President,  and recently in Galway,  for the last time.   I've therefore (at last :-) posted the full text of it here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Conferring at the Helix

Last evening,  I presided over the annual conferring ceremony,  hosted at the DCU Helix.  The evening was a celebration,  and while a little formal was a happy occasion with friends and families attending.  About 160 people were conferred with Professional Titles,  including over a 100 new Chartered Engineers and about 20 new Fellows.   This year,  over 450 people nationwide have received Professional Titles.

As President,  I also have the privilege of inviting distinguished engineers to Fellowship.  As you may have read earlier in this blog,  I already did so for Deputy Prime Minister Hai of Vietnam last October.

Last evening,  I similarly awarded Fellowship to:

  • Tim Chapman,  of Arup,  a leader in geotechnics;
  • Bill Grimson,  of DIT,  a respected and a long time senior volunteer for Engineers Ireland;
  • Dervilla Mitchell,  a director of Arup,  and who lead the design team of the Heathrow Terminal 5 project;
  • Regina Moran,  who developed her career as an Engineering Technician to Chartered Engineer and is now the CEO of Fujitsu Ireland (and who spoke at our recent conference);  and
  • Ray O'Rourke,  who is the founder,  CEO and Chairman of Laing O'Rourke,  now one of the world's largest construction firms.

Finally,  I was delighted to be able to give a special award to Malcolm O'Kelly,  of the Irish rugby team and who has freely given much of his time as an engineer to our STEPs programme.

Academy of Engineering: AGM

I attended the AGM of the Academy last Thursday morning at the RDS, representing Engineers Ireland. Michael Hayden retired as President,  after many years,  and Jack Golden is the new President.   The meeting was well attended,  including a strong representation from Northern Ireland. It was followed by a lunch which I had to miss due to another commitment.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Western Region Conferring and Presidential Address

This evening I was the kind guest of the Western Region at their professional conferring ceremony in the Clayton Hotel in Galway.  I was particularly delighted that amongst the twenty members conferred tonight,  three were to Fellowship. of registered status (Fellow,  Chartered and Associate) on a number of their members.  I also gave my Presidential Address,  and took questions from the audience afterwards.

Midlands Region Conferring and Presidential Address

Yesterday evening I was the kind guest of the Midlands Region at their conferring of registered status (Chartered and Associate) on a number of their members,  at the Clonmore House hotel in Tullamore.  I also gave my Presidential Address which stimulated quite a lot of discussion and questions afterwards.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

World Intellectual Property Day

This evening,  I gave a guest presentation as President of Engineers Ireland at an event organised by William Frys to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day.   I spoke about some of my experiences and thoughts on intellectual property,  arising from my career at IONA.   There was also some discussion during the Q&A on the innovation taskforce.

DIT Bolton Street

This afternoon,  I gave a guest lecture via the  kind invitation of Mike Murphy of DIT to about 350 engineering students at DIT Bolton Street.  I spoke briefly about my own career,  and then addressed the importance of Chartered Engineering status,   and the role of Engineers Ireland.   We had a pretty lively Q&A afterwards,  with people interested in entrepreneurship,  Chartered status,  Jobseekers,  and the transition in 2013 to Masters level for Chartered Engineers.

TCD-UCD Innovation Alliance

TCD & UCD hosted an all-day design innovation today at Foster Place.  As President of Engineers Ireland, I chaired a one hour discussion panel at lunch time with Mark Dyer,  Tony Fagan,  Eugene O'Brien,  Gregory O'Hare, Feargal O'Morain and Richard Reilly.   The main emphasis of the Q&A with the audience was on even more efficient mechanisms for technology transfer including intellectual property.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bicentennial of Robert Mallet, the father of seismology

This evening,  I had the pleasure of chairing a meeting of the Heritage Society at Clyde Rd,  and also streamed to the internet and will soon be available for playback on Engineers TV.

The presentation was by Dr Ron Cox,  historical author and former Dean of the TCD Engineering School. His subject,  Robert Mallet,  1810-1881,  was an observationalist, experimentalist,  polymath and engineering scientist.  Amongst his many achievements, he is widely internationally regarded as the father of seismology,  writing his seminal work on the dynamics of earthquakes in 1846 and coining both the terms "sesimology" and "epicentre".  Three of his descendants travelled from the UK this evening to join us.

Launch of HSE Medical Device & Equipment Management Policy

I attended by invitation and spoke at the launch this morning at the HSE Phoenix house building, of the HSE's new policy document on medical device and equipment, covering procurement, operation and maintenance. The event was hosted by Brian Gilroy of the HSE. Minister Mary Harney was the guest of honour and spoke of the importance of the new policy.

I used the opportunity to highlight the role of engineers in the medical profession, and how engineering mistakes can be more dangerous than medical ones. This of course gave me a segue to talk about registration and licensing of Chartered Engineers in Ireland.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Annual Conference

Well,  the dust has settled after a great annual conference in Cork last thursday and friday.  Well over 300 people attended,  and I suspect the final figure may be as high as 350.

Last monday (19th),  I was very concerned since we had lost four featured speakers due to Eyjafjallajökull - Minister Conor Lenihan, Craig Barrett, Ian Quinn and Bertrand Barré. Conor was stuck in Dubai;  Craig on US east coast;  Ian on US west coast and Bertrand in Paris.  Bertrand very kindly agreed to do a video conference instead.  I approached Ian's CEO,  Helen Ryan who happened to be in the country, and she very kindly agreed to take his place.  But both Conor and Craig were completely unavailable.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ICE Presidential Address

On Friday 16th last,  we were honoured to have Prof. Paul Jowitt of the Institution of Civil Engineers,  visit us and deliver his presidential address.  I had previously met Paul in Belfast and he was kind enough to attend my own presidential address in London.

Paul and his wife June had a challenging time reaching us,  leaving Glasgow at 9.30am,  and travelling via Stranraer,  Larne and Belfast,  to reach us by 7pm.  I am very grateful for their determination!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Joint Council & Executive Meeting

This morning we held a scheduled joint meeting of Executive and Council at Clyde Rd,  from 10am-1pm.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finance Committee Meeting

Yesterday evening,  we held a scheduled meeting of the Finance Committee at Clyde Rd.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tadhg Walshe

It was with great sadness that I attended the funeral mass for Tadhg Walshe this morning,  along with other members of Executive and Council.   Tadhg attended our Executive meeting just last Thursday evening and was in fine form as usual!   He died suddenly,  and completely unexpectedly,  the next afternoon and as a relatively young man.

He is survived by his partner Pauline,  daughter Mary-Liz and son-in-law JP,  together with his large family of brothers and sisters.

He served Engineers Ireland,  and his colleagues and students at Bolton St. extraordinarily well.

May his soul rest in gentle peace.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finance Committee Meeting; Executive Committee Meeting

This evening, we held our regular Finance Committee Meeting,  followed by Executive,  at Clyde Road.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Presidential Address - London

I gave my Presidential Address as a guest of our GB region this evening under the leadership of Catherine O'Sullivan,  at the Institution of Civil Engineers headquarters in Westminster.  About 50 people attended.  In my presentation,  which I have previously given in Clyde Road,  I consciously try to address both non software specialists in the audience as well as software practitioners - in the event,  only 2 of the 50 were software engineers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Smart Futures Seminar

This evening,  I spoke at the Smart Futures Seminar being hosted at Clyde Rd,  in conjunction with our STEPS team,  ICT Ireland,  Discover Science and Engineering,  and Fasttrack to IT.   The main purpose of the evening was to launch the Irish participation in the European wide eSkills week,  and in particular to brief and assist new volunteers from the Engineering profession who are interested in participating in our schools outreach programme via STEPS.  About 80 people attended.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Northern Region Annual Dinner Dance

Rounding off a busy week,  I attended the Northern Region annual dinner dance in the Ramada Hotel,  Shaws Bridge, Belfast.

Atlantic Corridor Conference 2010

On Thursday,  I attended and spoke at the 2010 Atlantic Corridor conference in the Tullamore Court Hotel.  Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs,  the organisation has built links between Ireland,  and in particular the east coasts of Canada and the USA.   The main theme of the conference this year was the education of Science and Mathematics.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sir Bernard Crossland Lecture

I had the honour of being one of four keynote speakers and panellists at the 9th Sir Bernard Crossland Lecture series,  in Queens University Belfast this evening,  on the theme of "Engineering Innovation - re-inventing business".

Innovation Forum

Yesterday evening I chaired the Innovation Forum at Clyde Rd.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

West Region Annual Dinner

I had the pleasure of attending the annual dinner for the West Region,  in the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway,  hosted by the regional chairman John Colleran.

Water Research Facility at Tuam

This afternoon,  I spent a few hours visiting the recently opened Water Research Facility at Tuam this afternoon,  hosted by Dr Michael Rodgers and Dr Eoghan Clifford,  both of the Department of Civil Engineering at NUI Galway.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Innovation Connections Programme Launch

I had the honour yesterday of representing Engineers Ireland,  and speaking,  at the launch of the InterTradeIreland Innovation Connections Programme,  at the EU buildings in Dawson St,  Dublin.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cork Region Annual Dinner

I had the immense pleasure of attending the Cork Region Annual Dinner this evening,  at the Maryborough Hotel.

Finance Committee Meeting; Executive Committee Meeting

Yesterday evening we had scheduled meetings of the Finance Committee and Executive Committee.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Launch of Mathematics and Science education report

The work of our taskforce,  led by PJ Rudden,  was published today and is available on our web site here.   Very considerable work and effort,  and an inspiration to us all.

Considerable media interest,  including being the very first item on RTE's "Morning Ireland" this morning ay 7am;   also Matt Cooper,  George Hook and others...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Minister Ryan and Engineers Week

Attended a photo-shoot this morning at Clyde Road,  with Minister Ryan.   Photo here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'ld like to bring to your attention the new Careers Portal website and specifically its presentation of careers in engineering.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BT Business of Science and Technology Programme

This year,   BT have extended the Young Scientists Exhibition to take the top 50 (actually,  53:-)) students and offer them a three month programme to extend their projects using insights from entrepreneurs and innovators.   Hopefully some of these students will be inspired and guided not only to successfully conclude their academic careers,  but also to consider founding and launching their own innovative businesses in due course.

This morning I was invited by William McAuliffe of BT to give my personal experiences as an entrepreneur to the students in the Science Gallery (which,  coincidently,  I chair).   It was quite a humbling experience,   with insightful questions from the audience!

The Place of Mathematics Education in Ireland’s Future

I had the privilege today of being asked to chair a national symposium on mathematics teaching,  organised by Professor Clive Williams and the TCD Faculty of Engineering,  Mathematics and Science and hosted at the RIA.   The full programme of speakers is here,  and about 90 people nationwide attended - third level academics,  second and primary level teachers and associations,  business associations and public servants - and, for part of this afternoon, the Minister for Education and Science,  Batt O'Keefe.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


We held our January Council meeting yesterday in Clyde Rd.   It was extremely well attended and, although there are occasional Liaison meetings after Council including yesterday,  I think it was the largest Council participation I've seen to date.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Academy of Engineering: New Fellows Dinner

I was delighted to represent Engineers Ireland at the dinner this evening in the RDS Dublin to honour the election to the Academy of Engineering of five new highly distinguished members.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Regulation and Licensing of Professional Engineers

I attended a meeting this evening at Clyde Road hosted by John Power to discuss regulation and licensing of professional engineers.   This was a part of a series of meetings,  first started in October as I previously reported.

Science and Technology in Action; Spirit of Enterprise

I attended and spoke at the launch this afternoon of the fifth year of the Science and Technology in Action and Spirit of Enterprise initiatives,  and the opening meeting of the EU Framework Programme 7 supported ESTABLISH project,   at the EU Parliament Office in Dublin this afternoon,   along with Batt O'Keefe Minister for Education and Science,   and Anna Gethings,  the driving force behind the initiatives.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Engineers volunteer for Haiti

In response to an email from John Power,  our DG,  to our unemployed Members,  I was very pleased to learn this morning that six of our members have volunteered to travel to Haiti immediately to aid in the re-construction work.  Their CVs have been forwarded accordingly via Goal.

We also have had a number of expressions of interest,  and will submitted these to any of the NGOs as and when needed.

Finance Committee Meeting

Yesterday afternoon we had a scheduled meeting of the Finance Committee at Clyde Road,  chaired as usual by Brian Kavanagh.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

BT Young Scientists Gala Dinner

I had the honour of representing Engineers Ireland at the celebration black-tie dinner this evening for the Young Scientist and Technology competition at the RDS.  I was privileged to sit at the table for the winner,  Richard O'Shea,  a wonderfully articulate and confident young man who not only spoke so well about his project but who also is determined that as many people as possible may benefit from his innovative biomass stove. I also met Richard's very proud parents,  together with his supportive and close brother.

Annual Ball, and first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

We held our annual ball last night in the Burlington Hotel in Dublin,  with about 650 people attending.  A special occasion in our 175th year,  and I was particularly delighted that Dermot McCarthy Secretary General Taoiseach's Office,  and his wife Rosemary,  were able to join us,  along with past Presidents,  and the Presidents of our regions and societies.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

BSTAI Awards

A Happy New Year - and sincere Happy New Decade - to you.

My first engagement of the New Year was to speak and present the Business Studies Achievement awards at the annual Business Studies Teachers' Association of Ireland earlier this afternoon in Dublin,  sponsored by the Irish Bankers Federation.