The six finalists in the running for the Chartered Engineer of the Year Award 2014, sponsored by Hanley Energy, have been selected from over 500 engineers who successfully achieved their chartered engineer title in a 12-month period over 2013/2014. The winner of this most prestigious title will be selected and announced at this year’s Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards, which will take place in Dublin’s Four Seasons Hotel on Friday, 7 November 2014. We take a look at the finalists in the run up to the awards night.

David Cashman

CashmanDavid Cashman is a senior power systems engineer who specialises in the grid integration of renewable energy systems on the power system. He is currently employed by EirGrid, the transmission system operator for Ireland. Cashman is part of the Sustainable Power Systems team in the Operations Department of EirGrid. His main responsibilities include technical analysis of power system stability, developing standards for the Irish Grid Code and supporting development of analytical tools for the National Control Centre. Projects that he has been involved in include the East-West Interconnector project and the DS3 programme. Cashman received his PhD degree in electrical engineering in 2010 and his bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering in 2006 from University College Cork. In May 2014, he was awarded the title of chartered engineer from Engineers Ireland. Cashman is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the UCD Michael Smurfit Business School.
  • Project Summary – The East-West Interconnector
The East-West Interconnector is a major electricity connection that links the electrical power systems of Ireland and Britain through a 260km high-voltage direct (HVDC) current cable. The East-West Interconnector utilises the latest developments in HVDC technology to transfer a maximum of 500MW of electrical power between the jurisdictions of Ireland and Great Britain. The project was the first of its kind in the history of the Irish state and was a major investment at €600 million. The East-West Interconnector was brought through development and construction to full operation in a period of 45 months. In late 2012, the East-West Interconnector began operating with power flows between the two jurisdictions. In its first year of full operation, it has resulted in significant benefits for consumers across the island of Ireland. Benefits include providing a downward pressure of 9% on wholesale electricity prices and also facilitating increased levels of renewable generation on the power system.

Bronagh Lennon

Bronagh LennonBronagh Lennon graduated with an NFQ Level 8 qualification in civil engineering from NUI Galway in 2003. She worked as a site engineer before joining Tobin Consulting Engineers followed by Brunner Consulting Engineers, where she worked on a range of civil and structural projects including domestic, retail, hospitality and educational. In 2008, Lennon joined Mott MacDonald in Dublin and began working in trackform infrastructure design. She has since become a technical specialist in this area expanding her experience in diverse light-rail projects in Ireland, UK and Norway, while keeping up to date with the newest technologies which are paramount to offering the best service to clients. She has been centrally involved in design build contracts, employer’s representative and traditional contracts. Lennon is currently studying in Trinity College, Dublin for a NFQ Level 9 qualification in Project Management and is an active committee member of the Railway Society in Engineers Ireland.
  • Project Summary – Bergen Light Rail Stage III
Stage III Bybanen – the Bergen Light Rail System comprises 7.8km double track service from the end of Stage II at Råstølen to an underground stop at Bergen Airport, Flesland. A depot and workshop is also being provided at Kokstad for maintenance and stabling purposes. The track travels through 2.8km of tunnels, over four bridges and four culverts and has seven tram stops. The majority of the line is ballast track with polymer concrete infill panels used for road and pedestrian crossings. A slab track solution is used for three open plan and aesthetically significant stops. The depot, comprising of the workshop and parking hall can maintain and stable 40-50 trams which will facilitate the future expansion of the scheme. Mott MacDonald was appointed at the end of 2011 to provide a complete engineering design service to Bybanen Utbygging. This included full design and coordination of: track alignment, trackform, civil, structural, traction power, building services, depot operations, environmental, geotechnical, architectural, noise and vibration, landscaping and equipment specification design elements, with design offices based in six different countries throughout Europe. The contract commenced with initial optioneering and tender design, the project will continue through construction stage and commissioning, with passenger operations commencing in mid- 2016. The end of the contract will coincide with the end of the construction defects responsibility period in 2017.

John McGivney

DSC_5887aJohn McGivney is the principal clinical engineer at St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network. He graduated from Dundalk Regional Technical College in 1990 with a diploma in electronic engineering. He went on to complete further studies in Trinity College Dublin, including a postgraduate diploma in physical sciences in medicine in 1998 and an MSc in healthcare informatics in 2002. McGivney is a clinical engineer with vast experience in both the public and private sector. Currently, he manages a team of clinical engineers within St Luke's Radiation Oncology Network, which provides clinical engineering and radiotherapy ICT services to the three sites within the network, located at St Luke’s Hospital and on the campuses of St James’s and Beaumont hospitals. McGivney’s interests are focused on professional development and he has been involved with the Biomedical Engineering Division of Engineers Ireland since its inception in 1998 and is a past chair and secretary of the division. He has also served terms on the Council and Executive Council of Engineers Ireland.
  • Project Summary: National Network for Radiation Oncology Services
In 2005, the then Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney announced the Government’s approval for a national network for radiation oncology services to be put in place. It was expected that the capital investment involved would be approximately €400 million with the majority of this being funded through a public-private partnership (PPP). This led to the establishment of the National Plan for Radiation Oncology to bring radiation oncology treatment services in Ireland to international best practice. This project was split into two phases:
  1. Two major developments each incorporating four linear accelerators, on the sites of Beaumont and St James’s hospitals in Dublin to be funded through the Exchequer; and
  2. Provision of new and expansion of existing facilities on six designated cancer centres nationally to be procured by PPP. McGivney’s work focuses on Phase I of the project, while Phase 2 is still ongoing.
Phase I was successfully implemented and the new centres went into clinical operation in 2011. It was a large-scale project that was delivered on time and within budget and has led to an overall improvement in cancer services within Ireland.This project covered a spectrum of engineering challenges from design to implementation, from ICT interfaces to radiation protection, all in the context of a shifting economic environment.

Bridget Mullane

BHMBridget Mullane graduated from Cork Institute of Technology in 2008 with a first-class honours degree in structural engineering. She gained undergraduate experience working as part of the site team on the Kinnegad to Athlone sections of the M6 motorway with contractors Ascon Bam Civil. Upon graduating, she accepted a position with the National Roads Design Office in Cork where she spent a year, before moving to Hewson Consulting Engineers, a specialist bridge design consultancy based in Guildford, UK. With Hewson Consulting, Mullane has worked on major civil engineering projects in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, the Middle East and UK as well as Ireland-based projects such as the recently opened Rosie Hackett Bridge in Dublin. Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she is the design team leader for the elevated structures of a major mass rapid transit scheme. She is responsible for the design of 37km of pre-stressed concrete viaducts, to be constructed using the latest precast segmental techniques.
  • Project Summary – Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transport Line 1 - Sungai Buloh to Kajang
Klang Valley MRT (KV MRT) Line 1 is a large-scale public transport infrastructure project delivering 51km of rail network to Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur, 42km of which is achieved using elevated viaducts and 9km in twin bored tunnels. KV MRT viaducts were split into eight design packages with Hewson Consulting working on the design of four of them, totaling over 20 km of structures. The bridge geometry and segmentation developed in Hewson’s design were adopted project wide, given their structural proficiency and economic merit. Detailed design commenced in 2011 and was completed in under a year. The scheme is currently in the construction phase and is due to be completed and open to the public in 2017. Delivering a fast-track project of this scale required innovative design and construction techniques. The bridge design and construction method allows the spans to be erected using advanced gantry methods and permit the roads and railways that are crossed to remain in continual use, thus minimising the impact on the existing infrastructure. It is expected that 400,000 commuters will use the MRT daily when operational and will help to relieve some of the congestion problems the city is currently facing.

Martin O'Halloran

MartinOHalloran_colourMartin O'Halloran is the youngest ever successful proposer of a European COST Action, leading a network of over 160 European researchers from 24 countries, bringing new microwave-based medical devices from research bench to patient bedside. Completing his BE degree and PhD in 2004 and 2008 respectively, his research now investigates the biomedical applications of microwave imaging. In 2012, O’Halloran was awarded the prestigious Science Foundation Ireland Starting Investigator Award to develop a microwave-based system for the detection of early-stage breast cancer. Since then, he has been awarded over 18 national and international research and commercialisation awards, including the Ireland-Canada University Foundation Dobbins Scholarship, the International Union of Radio Science Young Scientist Award (in 2011 and also 2013), and NUIG's Inaugural Early-Stage Research of the Year Award 2014. He is currently completing a MSc in clinical research to better manage the clinical translation of his medical devices and develop a strong network of clinical collaborators.
  • Project Summary: Exploring New Frontiers in Breast Cancer Detection using Microwave Imaging
Approximately 1,700 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in Ireland, resulting in the death of over 600 women. While X-ray mammography provides high-resolution images at low radiation doses, its limitations in terms of specificity and sensitivity are well-recognised. In some studies, up to 75% of cancers identified by X-ray mammography are later shown to be benign following biopsy, putting unnecessary distress on the patient and an unnecessary financial burden on the health service. However, much more worryingly, up to 15% of cancers present at the time of screening are missed by X-ray imaging. At best, this can give the patient a false sense of security; at worst, it can delay treatment often to the point where it is no longer effective. One of the most promising alternative breast imaging modalities is microwave imaging. Microwave imaging involves illuminating the breast with extremely low-power microwave pulses, and using the reflections from any tumour present to create an image of the breast. Microwave imaging is non-ionising, non-invasive, does not require the compression of the breast associated with X-ray mammography, and is potentially very low cost. Dr O'Halloran is currently developing a prototype breast imaging system at NUIG, and hopes to progress to pilot patient studies within the next 12 months.

David Quinn

240David Quinn graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2009 with a first-class master’s degree in structural engineering with architecture. This included a year’s study in Duluth, Minnesota, which was rewarded with a certificate in American business practice. Following a year in engineering consultancy, Quinn was recruited by Macrete Ireland Ltd to commercially develop the innovative FlexiArch Bridge system. Road, river and rail crossings necessitated creative problem solving as the FlexiArch was a pioneering approach to bridge construction. Projects ranged from small crossings for flood-hit communities to multiple-span bridges on arterial routes. In October 2013, Quinn accepted a position in Christchurch, New Zealand, with Fletcher Earthquake Recovery. Since achieving chartered engineer status, he has been promoted to senior engineer and leads one of the technical teams. To date, over 60,000 homes have been repaired and over NZD$2 billion spent on an unprecedented project.
  • Project Summary – Heavy Vehicle Access Crossings for Griffin Wind Farm, Perthshire
In winter 2010, Macrete Ireland Ltd received an enquiry from a number of contractors about the delivery of a rapid construction, reduced cost, maintenance free and sustainable bridge infrastructure solution. The client required the provision of three priority-access bridges for the newly commissioned Griffin Wind Farm project in Perthshire, Scotland. The solution was a rapid assembly arch structure, termed FlexiArch, in which individual voussoirs are linked via a flexible membrane. The project involved stretching the previous limits of the FlexiArch system as well as testing the expertise of the design team and the company’s production capabilities. Once the general arrangement was confirmed, work on the FlexiArch design and foundation design loads commenced. For design purposes, the maximum gross weight of any transport vehicle was related to the Nacelle delivery and was approximately 145 metric tonnes. When the windfarm site was ready to receive the bridge units, all three bridges were successfully installed within a six-week period in spring 2011. This project presented a demanding challenge that required intensive design, communication and innovative solutions. It acted as a catalyst for a series of award-winning projects, which led to international exposure for both the system and the author.