Paul Murphy reports from the bi-annual European Young Engineers Conference, which was hosted in Dublin this year for the first time since 1996
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From 5-7 June, Engineers Ireland Young Engineers Society (YES) hosted the bi-annual European Young Engineers (EYE) conference in Dublin. The event ran back to back in the D4 Ballsbridge Hotel with the Engineers Ireland Annual Conference. This was the second time Ireland had hosted the event, the last time being 1996. EYE is an association representing the young members of 23 engineering professional bodies and organisations across 14 European countries with approximately 150,000 members.

The theme chosen for the event was ‘Building networks to the world’. As an island nation to the northwest of Europe, with the largest territorial waters in the EU, technology and engineering is of vital importance for Ireland to remain connected to the wider world. During the conference, we explored how Ireland uses technology to export and import finished goods, data and energy.

The event brought over 100 engineering professionals and students to Dublin for the three days from 16 countries including Germany, France and the UK and citizens of the US, Russia and Australia working or studying in Europe. The first event of the weekend was three industrial site visits to Bord Gáis Networks Gormanstown Above Ground Installation, Celtic Anglian Water’s Ringsend water treatment plant and the Dublin Airport air traffic control tower.

On the group’s return from the site visits to the hotel, the opening ceremony was launched by Naoise O’Muiri, Lord Mayor of Dublin and Michael Phillips, President of Engineers Ireland, with some anecdotes from the mayor comparing the history of the two chains of office present. The Dutch attendees, in particular, were delighted to hear the mayor’s chain was presented to the city of Dublin by King William of Orange. Paul Murphy, vice chairman of YES and president of EYE, welcomed the attendees on behalf of both organisations.

After the closing ceremony, the attendees were taken on a musical tour of Dublin city to gain an appreciation for the craic agus ceoil.

INDUSTRY EXPERTS

L-r: Michael Phillips CEng FIEI (president, Engineers Ireland), Naoise O Muiri MIEI (lord mayor of Dublin), Paul Murphy AEng MIEI (president, YES), Tim Moenkendieck (Director General EYE)

Saturday morning began with a TED-style series of presentations. The speakers came from a number of industries and companies including RPS, PM Group, MSD Ireland, Dublin City University Business School, Bord Gáis Networks, Shell E&P and Ericsson Ireland.

The topics discussed included a mix of technical topics such as the European green capitals project, the impact of wind energy on the gas network, the Lean six sigma approach to energy usage reduction and the Corrib gas pipeline project. Also featured were ‘soft skills’ topics dealing with communicating for project success, cultural awareness as a competitive advantage and the networked society.

In the afternoon, the delegates participated in group workshops such as 21st-century learning skills hosted by Aidan Harney, CPD director, Engineers Ireland; practical creativity tools for engineers and collaborative networks presented by Katawave Consulting; modules on stress management techniques by the Stress Management Institute; and even the art of ‘business flirting’ by Lifesparkle Coaching.

That evening, a black-tie dinner was arranged at the Jameson distillery with traditional Irish dancing and music to give the delegates a taste of Irish culture. It was quite an experience to see a hundred or so foreign engineers try to emulate Riverdance with a former member of the Dubliners and the Fureys providing the background music.

For the third day of the conference the delegates visited Engineers Ireland headquarters at Clyde Road. A final workshop was held facilitated by Engineers Without Borders Ireland, simulating the experience of working on an NGO project in a developing country. As the weather had been on our side, we held a barbeque in Clyde Road before beginning the closing ceremony and handover of the EYE presidency to the Belgian representatives, the next holders of the title.

The final event of the conference was a cultural event where we brought our attendees to Na Fianna GAA club to experience Gaelic games (particularly hurling) to round off their experience of Irish culture.

IRELAND’S CONTRIBUTION TO ENGINEERING

YES volunteers (back l-r): Colin Keogh MIEI, Paul Murphy AEng MIEI, Cormac O Dohery MIEI, Robert Dowdall MIEI, Alex Filhol MIEI. Front (l-r): Una O’Grady MIEI, Justine Butler CEng MIEI, Anu Joy MIEI, Anne Marie McCague MIEI (click to enlarge)

Feedback from the delegates was that the conference was a great success. Many were impressed with the quality of the presentations and the organisation of the conference and said they learned a great deal about Ireland’s contributions to European engineering. All were very happy with the events that showcased Irish culture, dancing, traditional music and Gaelic games. For many, it was their first time in Ireland and they expressed the wish that they wanted to return again to learn more and work with us in the future.

Finally, there are a number of people and groups YES would like to thank for helping make the event such a success. We would like to thank Naoise O’Muiri, then Lord Mayor of Dublin and Michael Phillips, then president of Engineers Ireland for attending our opening ceremony and welcoming the attendees.

YES wishes to thank our sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible. Our main sponsor was Bord Gáis Networks and our gold sponsors were PM Group, the Irish Aviation Authority and Shell E&P Ireland. We would like to thank Bord Gáis Networks, Irish Aviation Authority and Celtic Anglian Water for facilitating industrial site visits. We would like to thank the presenters who provided such informative and quality presentations and workshops and were willing to engage with our multinational and cultural audience.

We would also like to thank the staff of Engineers Ireland for their help and expertise in running such a large scale event, particularly the marketing, sector support and third-level liaison teams who helped us plan the event throughout the previous year and worked at the coal face during the weekend. Finally, we would like to thank our YES volunteers who worked hard all weekend in making our guests feel at home.

Paul Murphy AEng MIEI is the vice chairman of the YES and Ireland’s representative at EYE. He held the position of president of EYE for 2012-2013. He is a council member of Engineers Ireland and is a member of the CPD committee. Murphy works in the asset operations group of Bord Gáis Networks in operations performance management.

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  From 5-7 June, Engineers Ireland Young Engineers Society (YES) hosted the bi-annual European Young Engineers (EYE) conference in Dublin. The event ran back to back in the D4 Ballsbridge Hotel with the Engineers Ireland Annual Conference. This was the second time Ireland had hosted the event, the last time...