As the six finalists for the 2016 Chartered Engineer of the Year Award prepare for the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards on 4 November, we profile the nominees who are vying for this prestigious title

The six finalists in the running for the Chartered Engineer of the Year Award 2016, sponsored by Arup, have been selected from engineers who successfully achieved their chartered engineer title in a 12-month period over 2015/2016. 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 Intercontinental Hotel on Friday, 4 November 2014. We take a look at the finalists in the run up to the awards night.

Darragh Collins


Darragh Collins

Born on 21 May 1973 to Paddy Collins, an electrician, and Rose Collins, who worked at home, Darragh Collins is the second eldest of four children. He grew up and continues to live in Cratloe, Co Clare. He attended Cratloe National School and Christian Brothers Secondary School in Limerick.

Collins attended Limerick Institute of Technology and the University of Dundee in Scotland. He graduated in 1997 and has had an interesting career to date. Property development has been his main area of work. Probably the single most significant milestone in his career has been the financial crash of 2007. According to Collins, it was “life changing, and has severely tested my character”.

Collins has stood up to his responsibilities and is now emerging from what he considers to have been the most difficult period of his life, with his reputation unblemished and looking for his next opportunity.

Project: House of Tomorrow

Shantraud Woods, located in Killaloe, Co Clare, is a housing development of 49 units ahead of its time. These units have been designed and constructed to be highly energy efficient. Construction commenced in 2005 and today these units have a BER rating of B2.

In order to achieve this, the houses were built airtight, incorporated heat-recovery units, increased levels of insulation, smart plumbing, energy efficient wood-burning stoves, energy efficient condensing-gas boilers etc.

At the time, the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland (SEAI) had launched the House of Tomorrow scheme. Under the scheme, a grant was made available to developers that covered 50 per cent of the increased cost involved in bringing proposed housing developments up to an energy-efficient level set by SEAI. The energy efficiency of each house type was assessed by SEAI at design stage. SEAI monitored on site construction and carried out air pressure testing on the units.

Today, these block-built units have an annual running cost of circa €250 for both central heating and domestic hot water. The market place is now only coming to terms with building such energy-efficient housing. Shantraud Woods is a decade ahead of its time, according to Collins.

Marcello Corsi


Marcello Corsi

Marcello Corsi leads the track design department of the State agency Transport Infrastructure Ireland and is responsible for the provision of the highest quality track systems on Dublin’s light rail and metro projects.

Corsi joined the then Railway Procurement Agency in 2008, bringing his wealth of experience as design manager for Italian Railways Engineering Company (Italferr) in the construction and operation of major railway projects internationally, including Syria, Uzbekistan, Iran, Romania, Colombia and Venezuela.

Since 2008, he has overseen the track and alignment design and construction for the three Luas extensions, the design of Metro North and Metro West, and several additional Luas lines across the city. As part of this role, he continues to undertake extensive research and investigation into track systems technology and has successfully implemented several innovations and initiatives for the improvement of light rail in Dublin.

Corsi is a member of the panel of EU railway experts evaluating research projects as part of the Shift to Rail programme under their Horizon 2020 initiative.

Project: Innovative Track Design for Urban Railways – the State of the Art on Luas

Coming to Dublin was Corsi’s first hands-on experience of light rail. As a benchmarking exercise, he undertook research studies and international analyses on the best means of improving track quality, efficiency, sustainability and constructability, with particular emphasis on the urban and suburban environments, given the challenges they bring to cities such as Dublin.

He built upon the lessons learned delivering the original Luas lines, while collating relevant and relatable experiences from across Europe. Based on this, and assessing the operational and maintenance aspects of the Luas system, as well as developments in environmental standards such as noise and vibration, Corsi developed a programme of initiatives and improvement for future Luas and Metro lines.

These include the development of new efficient embedded track design for use in cities, noise reduction systems, retrofitting of track with improved surfacing for noise, and development of shallow track forms for particularly slender bridges such as the Rosie Hackett in Dublin.

Corsi has liaised closely with the construction and operations teams and contractors to ensure the track design strikes the optimum balance of quality, durability, performance, value, buildability and maintainability. This approach has enabled the providing of expert track design services to several overseas projects such as in Bergen, Utrecht, Copenhagen and Birmingham.

Jonathan Cosgrove


Jonathan Cosgrove

Jonathan Cosgrove from Tullow, Co Carlow, graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology in 2005 with a first-class honours degree in mechanical engineering. He first worked in manufacturing as a quality engineer for a company producing hydraulic cylinders for heavy industrial equipment.

In 2006, Cosgrove moved to the pharmaceutical industry as a maintenance engineer responsible for project execution, commissioning and development of procedures and instructions. He joined ESB International in 2007 as a project engineer. He worked across design, operation and maintenance roles, undertaking a long-term overseas assignment in Malaysia and Pakistan.

Cosgrove is currently a specialist in the generation engineering department with responsibility for gas and steam turbines. This role involves specification assessment, evaluation and asset management on both domestic and international projects. He is also responsible for the development and negotiation of long-term service agreements on power plants.

Project – Rousch (Pakistan) Lifetime Extension Project

Rousch 450MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power plant is located 350km from Lahore, Pakistan. The plant comprises two Siemens SGT2000E gas turbines and one steam turbine. Siemens recommended a ‘Lifetime Extension’ (LTE) for the gas turbine at 100,000 equivalent operating hours (EOH) to ensure reliable and safe operation of the plant beyond its normal design lifetime.

Work involved the complete strip down, rotor removal and de-stacking, non-destructive inspection, condition assessment, extensive replacement of compressor blading, combustion system and turbine hardware.

Between April and June 2012, ESB International managed and co-ordinated the LTE outage on behalf of Rousch Pakistan Power Ltd. The complexity of the project and remoteness of the plant demanded intensive planning and risk-mitigation measures. A detailed technical survey was conducted in advance, enabling management of logistics, parts, manpower and security through the project risk register for the duration of the project.

The client deemed the LTE to be a success and the project was completed on time, with no lost time injuries. The LTE has delivered high availability, reliability and safety of the plant, thus ensuring its long-term viability and commerciality.

Following the LTE, the plant output and efficiency increased by 3.6 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively compared with pre-LTE performance.

Sarah Dunne


Sarah Dunne

Sarah Dunne graduated with a first-class honours degree in civil engineering in 2009 from NUI Galway. She has worked for Laing O’Rourke since graduating, both in Europe and Australia. Her experience ranges from structural design, value engineering to project and design management.

Previously in London, Dunne worked in research and development focusing on concrete precast products. During her time in Australia, she worked as a design and then as a project engineer for a coal seam gas associated water treatment plant, managed the regional design for manufacture and assembly strategy and managed the delivery of an AUS$7 million project within the Novo Rail Alliance.

Currently, Dunne is the senior design manager for the Northern Line Extension in London and serves on the GB Region committee of Engineers Ireland. She commenced a master’s in construction engineering at the University of Cambridge in September of this year.

Project: Northern Line Extension

The Northern Line Extension connects the existing Northern Line to the developing Battersea and Nine Elms area. The new section extends west from the existing Kennington Station and is targeting completion in 2020. It will support the 20,000 new homes throughout the Battersea and Nine Elms opportunity area, and will help alleviate congestion on the current local transport network.

The new terminus stop will service the Battersea Power Station development, which forms the heart of the opportunity area, and includes buildings by Frank Gehry and Foster and Partners. Nine Elms Station will serve the newly built American Embassy and the Convent Garden Market development.

London Underground has appointed FLO, a joint venture comprising Ferrovial-Agroman and Laing O’Rourke, to deliver the project. The new section consists of two bored tunnels (northbound and southbound) approximately 3.2km long each, two new London Underground stations, two ventilation and intervention shafts, a number of cross passages and two new step-plate junctions where the extension joins the existing line at the Kennington Loop.

The two stations began piling in 2015 and have now commenced excavation and basement slab construction. The tunnel-boring machines are arriving on-site and assembly will begin shortly in advance of an early 2017 launch.

Orla Morley


Orla Morley

Orla Morley is a senior systems engineer at Firstco UK, predominantly working on the London Underground Northern Line Extension systems design. She has worked on many high-profile, design, install and commission projects, including Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, Heathrow Pods Parking, GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo Guinness, Glanbia and Wyeth with systems values in excess of £10 million.

She is a seasoned problem-solver, capable of quickly assimilating and assessing, new and complex systems, while also identifying and resolving intractable issues. Morley was personally commended in Heathrow’s chief information officer’s newsletter for such work, which facilitated opening Heathrow Pods Parking.

She graduated from University College Dublin in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and food engineering, having completed an additional year as a student engineer with APV UK and Ireland, where she developed her passion for control systems. In 2007, she achieved a Master of Laws in International Commercial Law, whilst working full-time.

Project: Heathrow Terminal 5C Systems Integration with Terminal 5

Heathrow handles  approximately 75 million passengers annually. Around 45 per cent pass through Terminal 5 (T5), with  approximately three million via its satellite building C (T5C).

T5C was built after T5 opened to the public. This presented various challenges, particularly being entirely airside (after security) and requiring integration into T5’s live systems. T5C’s systems were isolated from T5’s until each was sufficiently stable for integration, minimising the risk to T5’s operations and facilitating rapid change during construction.

Post T5C opening, a six-month systems integration plan was implemented, with contingencies and mitigation strategies, which restricted change to engineering hours (midnight to 4am) and involved 15 third-parties. This plan was successfully delivered one week prior to the fixed deadline.

The building management systems integration was the largest and most complex, carrying a high risk of closing T5, due to inherent system features. It necessitated a five-day, 24-hour programme, with nightly milestones, contingency mitigation (two-hour storage capacity before instigating T5 shutdown) and roll-back options.

The critical operations during night works were planned in five-minute segments, per the hardware proprietary communications’ stabilisation times. The implementation by the 24-hour, 40-strong team, comprising eight third-parties, occurred on time and incident free. Its success was commended in Heathrow’s chief information officer’s newsletter.

Nicholas Tarrant


Nicholas Tarrant

Nicholas Tarrant is a native of Lombardstown in Co Cork and a past pupil of the Patrician Academy, Mallow. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (honours) from the University of Dundee in 2008.

Since 2009, he has been working internationally, where he has been responsible for the design, management and construction of large multidisciplinary infrastructure projects across the aviation, gas and road sectors. Tarrant has acquired wide-ranging experience in client, designer and contractor roles on complex projects in Ireland, the UK, Australia, Bahrain, and the State of Qatar.

Project: Engineering Qatar’s Vision

In 2014, Tarrant joined Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to manage the design of two expressway projects in Doha city centre as part of Qatar’s Expressway Programme, one of the largest road infrastructure programmes in the world.

These projects are recognised as being the most technically challenging on the Expressway Programme due to their geographical location, Tarrant and his team consistently faced numerous engineering challenges including land availability, congested utility corridors and complex stakeholder interfaces.

The Expressway Programme is a key element of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the country’s economy through a strategy that includes an enhanced knowledge-based economy for its citizens, sports development and significant investments in infrastructure and transportation support.

As the programme management consultant for the Expressway Programme, KBR is managing this ambitious programme, which aims to transform the way people and places are connected across Qatar. Budgeted at QAR 50 billion, the Expressway Programme will deliver a total of 800km of new and upgraded roads, along with 278 major interchanges and 348 bridges/underpasses.

To undertake such a large road infrastructure programme, KBR has engaged eight supervision consultants and 22 contractors, with a total workforce of close to 50,000 people. Critically, the Expressway Programme will establish strategic transport corridors for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, one of Qatar’s key entry points to the modern world stage.

“As a chartered engineer, having responsibility for progressing the innovative design of Qatar’s national road network is a wonderful challenge. Applying my skills and experience to help engineer Qatar’s vision is an exciting and fulfilling opportunity,” said Tarrant. O'RiordanNewsawards,Chartered Engineer,Engineers Ireland,excellence awards
The six finalists in the running for the Chartered Engineer of the Year Award 2016, sponsored by Arup, have been selected from engineers who successfully achieved their chartered engineer title in a 12-month period over 2015/2016. The winner of this most prestigious title will be selected and announced at...