Tuesday, 19 May 2015

President's Reception for EGA Corporate Members

We adopted a new EGA Strategy at the end of 2013 to move to a Corporate Funding model as Individual Member subscriptions at their current level could never give us a sustainable funding base.

In Spring 2014 we commenced approaches to Engineering Companies for a membership fee of €250 to €500 per annum depending on overall numbers of staff. In return we offer advertisement of company logos on our website and events together with 10% reduction on tables at our Annual Dinner.

This has been a success as we have enlisted 19 Corporate Members over the past year alone and have a target to achieve more in 2015/2016 as we still have barely enough funding to support our annual events.

Cormac Mannion Energia with Professor Andrew Deeks UCD President
Siemens Head of Engineering Gary O'Callaghan with
UCD Dean of Engineering Professor David Fitzpatrick
We also promised to seek out other opportunities for companies to get advantage in UCD for Corporate Membership as the opportunity arises. One such opportunity arose last week to have a President's Reception for Corporate Members on the same evening as the Annual Spring Lecture coincidently given this year by UCD President Andrew Deeks.

Andrea Ahern, Shell Senior Compliance Engineer and
John Fitzgerald, Eirgrid Director of Grid Development

Brendan Butler, Shell with Neasa Kane-Fine and Larry O'Toole, Directors with RPS

Practically all of the Corporate Members were able to attend except for 2 or 3 who had genuine business difficulties  on the same day.

President Deeks meets Yvonne Wylde NSAI, John Fingleton
and Mary White Directors of Fingleton White Consulting Engineers
Andrea Ahern, Senior Compliance Engineer and Brendan Butler, Deputy Project Director Shell
with Dr Aisling Harkin UCD Careers Consultant

At the Reception attended by one or two company representatives they were met by President Professor Andrew Deeks, Vice President Professor Orla Feely, UCD Careers Consultant Dr Aisling Harkin, EGA President PJ Rudden and as many EGA Board Members who could attend.
PJ Rudden, UCD Vice President Professor Orla Feely and Tina Pittock EGA Board and ESB
Aisling has been appointed by the Board to act as Liaison Person with the Corporate Members who can arrange for Member Companies to address the Final Year Classes at the start of the second semester with a view to Graduate Recruitment.

Donal Duggan and Patrick Joy of Suretank with Andrea Ahern Shell
President Andrew Deeks addresses the Corporate Members
President Deeks addressed the Corporate Members to tell them that the new UCD Strategy called for closer linkages between the university and industry and to make UCD into Ireland's Global University.
Dr Aisling Harkin, UCD Careers Consultant, PJ Rudden, EGA President
and Katie O'Neill UCD Marketing Manager outside Ardmore House

On behalf of the EGA I thanked President Deeks for fitting this event for Corporate Members into his already busy programme for the evening and also thanked the Corporate Members and UCD staff for coming to Ardmore House on this very sunny May evening.

UCD President gives 2015 Annual Spring Lecture

We were honoured that UCD President Andrew Deeks agreed to give the 2015 EGA Annual Spring Lecture. In welcoming the President I remarked how genuinely pleased we were to see an internationally acclaimed academic take the reins in UCD.

EGA President PJ Rudden and President  Andrew Deeks before lecture

Taking as his theme 'Challenges for Engineering Education in the 21st Century' the President covered a large number of very topical areas which are continuing areas for debate in Irish engineering circles.
President Deeks presents lecture

Firstly, do we educate for 'breath or technical depth'? The choices are between the 'Bologna Process' of 4 years bachelors degree and 5 year masters with technical depth or the U.S. System which gives more diversity and flexability.


Secondly do we educate to provide theoretical foundations or for applied skills? Professor Deeks' experience is that the larger companies favour the former while the SMEs seek the latter with the need for minimum training.


What of the Educational Fads? He asks. There's for example Outcome Based Education (OBE), Problem Based Learning (PBL), Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)! He does not regard any of them as a 'silver bullet' especially distance learning.


The advances in technology in the 21st century have radically altered Engineering Education in terms of computerisation, communications, globalisation, mobility and rate of change. We are now in the age of "The Internet of Things" with all the analytical and computational skills which that brings.

Professor Deeks also dealt with the issue of 'emotional intelligence' - to recognise one own and other people's intelligence and use this a guide to thinking and behaviour. People with more emotional intelligence are said to perform better.

EGA's first President Dr Tom Hardiman among an attentative audience

Another factor is cultural difference defined by Hofstede (from IBM HR world wide survey of employees between 1967 and 1973) based on cultural values including 'power distance' i.e. acceptance or not of hierarchy - higher acceptance in Asia and Latin America and lower in Western Europe - US is somewhere in between.


He spoke of 'capstone experience' where students are encouraged to take time out in the community or internships in industry. He emphasised the importance of group projects and group learning as one approaches degree stage as it better mirrors real life experience. The top universities are research intensive and must adopt this model to grow their collaborative research capability.


On the issue of assessment, Professor Deeks talked of models that delay exams until later years of degree courses and concentrate on continuous assessment. He has seen the issue raised now in Ireland by secondary school teachers on the issue of Second Level Reform. He was not definitive on the way forward but I sense that he agrees with the current recommendation from the Minister of Education and Skills that the optimum approach is a combination of both continuous assessment and examinations at critical junctures.


A lively Question and Answer session followed with questions from representatives of Trinity College, UCD, DIT, Higher Education Authority and many other senior retired engineers.

Professor Gerry Byrne, Former Dean of Engineering UCD
Dr Liam Connellan, Former Director General Confederation of Irish Industry
and UCD EGA Distinguished Graduate Awardee.

Dr Gerry Farrell, DIT Director and Dean of Engineering with Dr Aisling Harkin UCD
Tim Conlon, Higher Education Authority

Murt Coleman, Executive Board of Engineers Ireland
In fact the questions ran on so long that we were forced to bring proceedings to a close as we were well over time when I thanked President Deeks and presented him with a framed and inscribed Dublin Crystal memento of the event.

I presented him with very sincere thanks from the EGA and from a very appreciative audience for a highly interesting and obviously provocative lecture on a subject where he has obvious international expertise and experience.  It's no wonder he won many awards as Professor of Civil and Resource Engineering in University of Western Australia for teaching.

UCD College of Engineering staff with President Andrew Deeks and Dean of Engineering, Professor David Fitzpatrick
(L to R) Katie O'Neill Marketing Manager, Dr Aisling Harkin  Careers Consultant and Fionnuala McGowan, EGA Administrator
A highly social gathering of attendees enjoyed a wine reception in the atrium of the Peter Sutherland School of Law after the lecture. It was the close of a highly historic and successful day for UCD EGA.
Incoming President of Engineers Ireland Bill Grimson, PJ Rudden and
Professor Jane Grimson, former Vice Provost TCD

Tom Fitzpatrick EU Commission, Conor Fingleton and Mary White both
Fingleton White and PJ Rudden
Head of Mechanical Engineering TCD Professor Darina Murray and
Professor Jane Grimson TCD, former President Engineers Ireland

Dr Greg Foley, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning DCU,
Mark Foley Managing Director Coillte Enterprise and PJ Rudden

UCD Lecturers Pat Connolly, Dr Aisling NĂ­ Annaidh, Dr Vincent Hargaden and PJ Rudden

Professor John Kelly, Rebecca Patterson Marketing Manager (International)
UCD College of Engineering & Architecture and PJ Rudden





Celebrating 30th Anniversary of University Industry Centre

May 13th 2015 will go down in UCD EGA history for many reasons. It was the date we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the official opening of the EGA funded University Industry Centre in UCD It was also the date of the first EGA Corporate Member Reception hosted by the UCD President in the lovely setting of Ardmore House.
It was also the first time later that evening that a UCD President gave the EGA Annual Lecture. His chosen topic was very apt - 'The Challenge of Engineering Education in the 21st Century' and it was extremely well attended.
It was a very busy afternoon and evening for President Andrew Deeks. We in UCD EGA are most grateful to him for giving us his time and wisdom over the extended period of these three events on the same evening.
Prof. Andrew Deeks, UCD President
I will post Blogs with photographs on each event later today. In addition we will be placing a video of the Annual Lecture by President Deeks on the EGA website over the coming days.
The history of the University Industry Centre (UIC) was told in an earlier blog and does not need repeating. Suffice it to say that the new authorities in UCD led by President Deeks have responded most positively and sympathetically to quickly rectify the wrongs of 10 years ago and the matter is now resolved to everybody's satisfaction. The future of the UIC building is in the safe hands of the UCD President and his management team as part of the UCD Strategy 2015 - 2020. The EGA are happy that wise decisions will be made in the best interests of UCD and with due regard to the original funding of the building.
In UCD the College of Engineering is the largest in Ireland and now looks forward positively to a growing international reputation which will be a key driver in delivering President Deeks' vision of UCD as Ireland's global university.
I am also very grateful to Vice President Professor Orla Feely, NovaUCD Director Brendan Cremen and NovaUCD Marketing Manager Miceal Whelan for facilitating and assisting the erection of the new UIC plaque in NovaUCD. Orla also acted as Facilitator/MC for the event introducing the President and other speakers. Another plaque with similar wording will be erected in the UIC in the next week or two.

The plaque commemorates the founding of the University Industry Centre in 1985 funded entirely by engineering firms and graduates including UCD academic staff.

Prof. Orla Feely, UCD Vice President Research, Innovation and Impact who
introduced the President and other speakers

At the event President Deeks said 'The opening of University Industry Centre 30 years ago this month with the significant support of the Engineering Graduates Association was a transformational initiative for university-industry co-operation at UCD. Since then our cooperation with industry has gone from strength-to-strength. In the last 10 years over 250 companies have funded research at UCD and over 1,000 companies have collaborated on research programmes. In addition over 50 companies, ranging from early-stage high-tech startups to established innovation-led companies are currently located at NovaUCD or NexusUCD and collectively have a staff of over 370 based on the University campus'.
Professor John Kelly said 'we set up the UIC in the 1980s as we thought there should be greater  co-operation between the university and industry. The success of the UIC under its Director Pat Frain grew and grew in the 80s and 90s and eventually moved here to Merville as NovaUCD where there has been phenomenal success in terms of Research Innovation and Impact. I wish NovaUCD under Vice President Orla Feely and Director Brendan Cremen every success going forward.'
I then thanked President Deeks for helping us to celebrate these past events and to Vice President Feely and NovaUCD  Director Brendan Cremen for hosting this event and for helping in every possible way together with Dean of Engineering David FitzPatrick who has been very supportive. It is very much appreciated by the EGA and by all engineering graduates.
Standing at the new EGA plaque in the NovaUCD is PJ Rudden, UCD EGA President,
Prof John Kelly & Prof Andrew Deeks.
It was a tremendous coming together of two UCD generations separated by some 20 or 30 years. We had the first President of the EGA Dr Tom Hardiman (1983 - 1985) and the first Hon Secretary Clodagh O'Donnell attending. Clodagh was then a young graduate while Tom had already been Director General of RTE and was by then President of the Confederation of Irish Industry (CII).
Group photo at NovaUCD (from L to R back row):
Prof. David Fitzpatrick, Prof. John Kelly, Prof. Orla Feely, Prof. Andrew Deeks, PJ Rudden, Dr. Liam Connellan,
Dr. Vincent Hargaden,
(from L to R front row): Sean Murphy, Clodagh O'Donnell, Dr Pat Frain, Dr John Bourke, Dr Tom Hardiman, Eoin O'Cathain
Also heavily involved in were two other national industry leaders from that period Dr Liam Connellan as Director General CII and Dr John Bourke, Director Allied Irish Investment Bank, members of the original UIC Educational Trust. I was delighted to see former NovaUCD Director Dr Pat Frain joining us for the occasion. Three of the current EGA Board Dr Vincent Hargaden (currently EGA Hon Secretary), Sean Murphy and Eoin O'Cathain were also present.
The early summer sun shone brightly on NovaUCD last Wednesday afternoon and I'm sure there are even brighter days ahead for this leading international centre of Research and Innovation excellence.
At the same time let us not forget the courage and leadership 30 years ago of John Kelly, Tom Hardiman, Liam Connellan and John Bourke who in the early 80s in the midst of national recession led the funding, building and setting up of the UIC which in time contributed to the establishment of NovaUCD.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Two New EGA Board Members Elected

The EGA have appointed two new members with international experience to the Board - Brendan Butler of Shell Ireland and Tina Pittock of ESB International.
Brendan graduated with Honours in Electrical Engineering from UCD in 1985 and joined the Shell Group in Holland where he stayed as trainee and then project engineer in Oman on  design and installation of 132KV power lines and switching stations. In 1996 he moved onto Venezuela, then Syria, then Canada and Russia as Construction Manager on the Sakhalin Project in eastern Siberia.
Brendan Butler
 In 2007 he was posted to Ireland as Project Manager on design and construction of the Corrib Gas Terminal in Mayo and is now Deputy Project Director for the entire project soon to be producing its first gas into the national grid.

Brendan represented Ireland in the European Orienteering Championships in 1981 and is into running half marathons, skiing and hillwalking. His eldest daughter is in First Engineering in UCD and Brendan is working closely with the Chemical Engineering Dept on a UCD - Shell joint enterprise.
Tina  graduated with Honours in Mechanical Engineering in UCD in 2002, did a Diploma in Project Management in TCD and had just completed her MBA in Smurfit Business School.
She worked first with Powerscreen International on manufacturing processes then joined ESB as Gas Turbine Site Engineer in South Africa on the Atlantis site then moving back to Ireland as Mechanical Engineer on the Aghada CCGT power plant where she ensured codes and standards were implemented.
Tina then transferred to a new school project in Ghana as part of ESB's corporate social responsibility organising 33 volunteer staff from ESB to complete within time and budget.
Tina Pittock
She subsequently saw service on power stations in Derry, Spain, Dublin Bay and Turlough Hill in Wicklow before transferring to ESB Telecons where she managed the new Ireland Wales subsea 96 fibre optic cable. More recently she worked with ESB Innovation and ESB Vodafone on 'fibre to the building' (FTTB) broadband projects in a management capacity.
Tina has huge voluntary work experience as Chair/Vice Chair of Electric Aid with global budget of $1.2m in Ghana and has worked also with other charities in South Afrixa, Zambia and Ireland.
We welcome both Tina and Brendan to the EGA Board where no doubt they will be active members.