Following completion of a three year full-time Bachelor of Engineering in Building Services Engineering Degree (BEng) at CIT in 2005 I decided to make the move to Newcastle upon Tyne to complete my Honours Bachelor of Engineering Degree BEng (Hons) at Northumbria University. I graduated from Northumbria University in 2007 with first Class Honours.
While studying in university I gained a particular interest in passive design along with low and zero carbon technologies. In order to further my educational qualifications and to further develop my skills I enrolled on a Master of Science (MSc) in Renewable Energy & Architecture at the University of Nottingham. I graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2008 with a first Class Masters Degree.
During the summer period of 2006 – between my second and third year of my studies at Northumbria University – I arranged work experience with building contractors John Sisk and Sons Ltd as a trainee building services engineer. During this time I was based on the site of a major refurbishment of the 5-star Inter Continental Hotel at Park Lane in Central London.
On completion of my final year of the BEng Honours Degree at Northumbria University in 2007, and before I started my Masters at the University of Nottingham, I arranged work experience for the summer at the Faber Maunsell (AECOM) Newcastle Office.
When I graduated with my Masters in 2008 I decided that instead of returning to Ireland I would stay in the UK and went back to Newcastle to work with Faber Maunsell (AECOM) as a graduate engineer within the Building Engineering Department. I was promoted from graduate engineer to engineer in 2010.
While employed by AECOM I worked on numerous national and international projects within a wide range of building sectors including, healthcare, office, educational, hotel, government, leisure, heritage, industrial and retail building design. My projects to date have been primarily new-build but have also included refurbishment projects, many of which have had Grade 1 listed status.
My responsibilities have included all aspects of mechanical building services, and renewable and low-carbon energy system design in buildings, from initial concept through to detailed design stage on both small-scale and large-scale projects. The largest project I worked on while at AECOM was the KEMH Bermuda, Hamilton, Bermuda as a mechanical design engineer. This new-build hospital building, the largest development of its kind on the Island of Bermuda, includes 90 single-occupancy en-suite patient rooms, a day surgery unit, ambulatory care facilities, diagnostic imaging services, a new emergency room and a new utility plant. The project has a budget of $247million US dollars.
In September 2011 the recession began to hit the UK quite hard with a lot of government funding for public sector projects that were the bread and butter of our work drying up. As a result that October it was announced that AECOM’s Building Engineering Department in the Newcastle upon Tyne office was to reduce to a skeleton staff of directors with some CAD support. Consequently, I was made redundant in November 2011.
However, I secured a job with Patrick Parsons Consulting Engineers in Newcastle and started work as a senior mechanical engineer within the M&E Department in the same month. I have been progressing my career and experience here ever since and early this year I was granted my CEng status.
I am also involved with the local CIBSE committee in the region. I established the Young Engineers Network (YEN) in 2009 and have been on both the YEN and main committee ever since. In 2013 I was nominated as the CIBSE Vice Chairman of the committee in the region and in April of this year I became the Chairman of the region.
My role as Chairman involves representing the region on a local and national basis, increasing awareness of the Institution’s work in the North East, fundraising, and actively encouraging participation and new memberships. As Chairman I aim to promote career opportunities in building services engineering and encourage collaboration between other professional groups and organisations during my tenure.
I love living in the UK and in Newcastle in particular. I have made lots of friends while working in the area and it is not too far from home. I usually get back to Ireland about three times per year to visit family and friends in Tipperary. The Newcastle folk (also referred to as Geordies) are friendly and there is some great scenery in the region, along with the infamous nightlife. ■