ENZ Board: Tony Fairclough in the mix

2020 - the year of elections.

The U.S. presidential election.

The NZ general election.

While not on the gargantuan scale of the aforementioned, there is a certain election that means a tonne to the engineering community in New Zealand - Engineering New Zealand’s 2020/21 Board election.

Voting is now open and two of our Tonkin + Taylor whānau are up for nomination in key roles on Engineering New Zealand’s board, and need our support to help them get elected.

Tim Fisher, Executive Leader for Engineering, is one of four candidates in the mix for Vice President on the Engineering New Zealand Board.

Tony Fairclough, Principal Geotechnical Engineer, is one of 14 candidates in the running to fill two available spots on the board.

Voting closes on Friday 6 March, so if you are an eligible voter make sure you cast your vote!

We caught up with Tony Fairclough ahead of board selection to ask him about his background, passion for engineering and what he hopes to achieve on the board.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I’m a geotechnical and civil engineer with over thirty years’ experience, having been with Tonkin + Taylor for over nineteen years where I currently hold the roles of Principal Geotechnical Engineer and Project Director. I’m a long-time member of Engineering New Zealand, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and several other international engineering organisations.

In September 2010 I was elected by my peers to the New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS) National Management Committee (NMC). The NZGS NMC are responsible for managing the diverse affairs of this respected technical group and its more than 1,200 members.

What is it about engineering that you are so passionate about?

My father instilled a passion for building civil and structural infrastructure by taking me to his construction sites as an eight year old boy. He showed me that being an engineer is highly creative and a lot of fun!  As engineers, we are constantly improving the built environment via solutions and innovation that, if properly designed and constructed, positively affect everyone's lives.

I love the fact that engineering is the ultimate team sport. It requires imagination and simultaneous collaboration, respect and teamwork across several professionals, stakeholders and agencies if the best outcomes are to be achieved. Engineering projects often result in a lot of sweat, blood and tears, however, great satisfaction and pride always result from involvement in a well-executed project, in particular if tenacity was needed to achieve completion.

Why do think you should be elected?

I’m a practicing Engineer who is firmly at the “coal face” of the civil engineering design and construction industry. I almost exclusively interact with practicing designers and contractors that hail from a range of company type and size. As such, I have a good understanding of the needs and issues currently faced by Engineering New Zealand members across a wide section of the industry. Such issues include reducing or relatively low levels of construction activity within the South Island and many provincial centres in the North Island, and, the continuity, programming and real impact of recently announced public infrastructure projects. My presence on the Engineering Board would give a voice to a significant section of the Engineering New Zealand membership that is currently under-represented.

If elected – what do you hope to achieve?

If elected to the Board my primary objective will be to ensure that Engineering New Zealand continues to monitor and influence the MBIE Building system legislative reform process and outcomes. Appropriate, robust, pragmatic and workable changes must be made to the Chartered Professional Engineer process if a significant adverse impact on professional engineering, consenting and/or the wider New Zealand Construction industry is to be avoided.

Secondly, I will encourage and motivate the Engineering New Zealand Board to commission a survey to identify and rank the issues which are of concern to our membership. This data will be collated, published and used to prioritise and develop a program of future Engineering New Zealand special projects.

Voting closes on Friday 6 March.