Friday, 27 May 2011

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Last night I felt very honoured to be elected President of Engineers Ireland which is the authentic voice of Engineering in Ireland. Last year we celebrated our 175th anniversary so I have 'big shoes to fill'. In terms of my predecessors I'm reminded of what Martin Luther King Jnr said 'If I can see farther than others, it’s because I'm standing on the shoulders of giants'.

In my inaugural speech I tried to capture the sense of Hope we must have as we help to Engineer our way out of the current severe recession particularly in the construction industry. As Engineers, there is much we can contribute to the world of Design, Creativity and Innovation in diverse areas like energy, ICT, biopharma and biomedical engineering. These sectors of engineering in Ireland are not impacted by the recession and are currently mainly responsible for the success of our export led growth.

Speaking of Design I was privileged to be present yesterday morning for the launch of the Dublin bid to become World Design Capital 2014. The bid was branded as 'Pivot Dublin'. The breakfast event was hosted by Lord Mayor Gerry Breen and the guest speaker was Minister for Enterprise and Jobs Richard Bruton. Both lend support to the ambitious bid which is supported by design professionals including Engineers Ireland.

Yesterday morning I was happy to attend the Engineers Ireland conference on Offshore Wind Energy where leading companies in the market shared their experience and ambition to build a viable subsea export network of renewables including Wind Wave and Tidal resources. I very much support this ambition for a low carbon energy infrastructure.

Just before our Annual General Meeting last evening the outgoing President Martin Lowery launched the State of Ireland Infrastructure Report. This excellent report was completed by our members on the recommendation of our Cork Region and assisted by our Civil Division. It is hoped to issue this Infrastructure Progress Report on an annual basis with respect to Energy, Transport, Water, Waste and Communications.

We also welcomed our new Junior Vice President Dr John O'Dea Managing Director of Crospon a leading biomedical manufacturing company based in Galway. John is one of 4 people shortlisted this week as Entrepreneur of the Year. Our Senior Vice President this year is Michael Phillips, the Dublin City Engineer and Director of Traffic, who takes over as President from me in a year's time. I am also grateful that Martin Lowery as Immediate Past President will remain on the Officer/Presidential Team for another year.

Finally I want to sincerely thank the outgoing past President Dr. Chris Horn for his selfless service over four years on the Presidential Team. It was Chris (ex-CEO of Iona Technologies) who inaugurated the first President’s Blog, whose format I am now following.

My inaugural speech in progress

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