Fellows are recognised as leaders by their peers for their significant contribution to engineering. There are three types – Fellow, Distinguished Fellow and Honorary Fellow.
New Fellows in 2017
SAY HELLO TO REX CORLETT FENGNZ
I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I studied geography at university and then took a summer job as a surveyor’s chainman at the Ministry of Works. They offered me an engineering cadetship and it all went from there. It really does prove to those entering the profession that they don’t necessarily have to follow the standard course.
"Engineers like to make a difference in the world we live in. We provide solutions. I really enjoy being a problem solver."
I’ve had a long and varied career. One of the key highlights for me was being awarded the Angus Award for Supreme Technical Excellence last year for my work on effluent pond design and construction projects with Opus.
I became an Engineering New Zealand Fellow in 2014. There comes a point that there are no further tests you can undergo to prove your skill, but becoming a Fellow is, in a way, the ultimate test. I talked with my peers about it first and they readily gave me their support. When I applied, I had to ask myself, “Have I made the grade?” Being awarded a Fellowship has answered that question. It offers industry recognition of your work, performance and dedication.
Working with Engineering New Zealand on practice notes has also been a highlight of my career. I’ve now authored three codes of practice; effluent ponds, farm infrastructure and dairy housing alongside Dairy NZ.
What do I see as the future challenges for the industry? There are perhaps too many individuals, especially in the agricultural industry, who tell a good story and call themselves engineers but are acting at the extreme end of their competence. For instance, farm conversion and effluent systems require engineering specialist inputs but clients may avoid using highly-qualified engineers to save a buck or because there is a perceived cost – and then it ends up costing them more because they don’t get it right first time.
On the other hand, there are a lot of engineering grads going straight into firms and specialising too early. This means they miss out on some of the practical skills that being out in the field can offer. Rubbing shoulders with hardened contractors develops soft skills and relationship skills that can benefit them later in their careers.
There’s a fine balance, and engineers today shouldn’t hold back on getting support and advice from others in the engineering profession.
Rex is Principal Engineer (Rural) at WSP Opus and the Engineering New Zealand Angus Award winner 2017.