Wednesday, 9 November 2011

2011 Excellence Awards

Last Friday night was the second year of our new Excellence Awards night when we celebrate all that is exciting innovative and interesting in Irish engineering. This year's event was held in the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin.

Master of Ceremonies was again Mary Kennedy of RTE who is a consummate professional with a public audience and a delightful conversationalist privately.

There were 7 awards in total - Volunteer of the Year, News Story of the Year, Education Award of the Year, Technical Paper of the Year, Chartered Engineer of the Year, Environmental Project of the Year and Engineering Project of the Year.

Mary Kennedy RTE, Terry Nolan Managing Director Shell,
Matt Cotterell Head of School of Engineering at C.I.T.,
PJ Rudden President Engineers Ireland
The story of the night was how shortlisted entries from the Cork Region ran away with 5 of the Awards led by the Mizen Head Footbridge which won two awards - Best Project of the Year and Best Technical Paper. The Project of the Year was a public vote and the news on the night was that it was a favourite project with the public by a large margin. The iconic new NUIG Engineering Building was in second place and the Peace Bridge in Derry in third place.

Mizen Head Footbridge

The News Story of the Year was won by the Irish Examiner for balanced reporting of Engineering Projects. This was well deserved when you consider how some of our more controversial engineering projects are reported by some sections of the media. I know of no instance where I could complain on the reporting balance by the Irish Examiner and that speaks myriads about their professionalism.

The Education Award went to Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Chartered Engineer of the Year from a shortlist of 6 went to Louise Connolly of ESBI and native of Cork.

PJ Rudden President Engineers Ireland, Louise Connolly Chartered Engineer of the Year,
John Power Director General Engineers Ireland

Environmental Project of the Year went to Portlaoise Sewerage Scheme another very innovative project.  Volunteer of the Year went to Michael Loughnane of ESB for his unstinting service to Engineers Ireland over many years particularly on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Committee which I had the honour to chair for two years as Vice President.

In my own opening address I recounted 'the many sights I had seen' by going around the country and at events in Clyde Road including the Innovative Student of the Year in June, my visit to the opening of the NUIG Engineering Building in Galway and the CPD Company of the Year awards in October. Indeed I had also attended the official opening in early August by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar of the Mizen Head Footbridge in August on the invitation of County Mayor Tim Lombard County Manager Martin Riordan and County Engineer Noel O'Keeffe. If you see the splendour of this bridge against the deep Atlantic from the local vantage points you will realise why it won the Project of the Year as it’s a truly incredible sight.

Obviously we can conclude that 'people love bridges' simply because they can see them above ground and consider them 'things of beauty'.

Equally beautiful in my view was the entry from Aerogen in Galway where a 'drug impregnated mist' was developed to give the necessary therapeutic administration of drugs to a premature baby in an incubator! This is real life saving biomedical engineering. In the words of Claire Lillis of Aerogen in our TV advert as she looked at the premature baby in the incubator 'This (engineering) was made for you and me'!

I ended by showing the new Engineers Ireland TV advert on Chartered Engineer  ..... 'Will You Come With Me ........ Making Dreams for You and Me' - starting with Jamie O'Meara BE an Agricultural Engineer and ending with Claire Lillis BE a Biomedical Engineer in Galway.

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