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Engineers as business Leaders

Media Release -
Monday, 29 March 2004

Engineers as business Leaders - challenge for
new IPENZ president

Engineers as business Leaders is a theme Dr Ian Parton, Chairman of Maunsell’s New Zealand operations, will pursue as the new President of the Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ). He takes office from 26 March 2004.

Dr Parton Dist. FIPENZ, plans to spend his one year term in office highlighting the need for engineers to come to the fore in the creation of national wealth and prosperity through engineering and business. To this end he has already begun discussing the engineer’s role as leaders with the business community, and has set himself the challenge of raising the profile of engineers in the business community by, among other measures, getting more engineers involved in business governance and on the Boards of companies.

“To lead the kind of change that is needed, engineers must not only maintain the high professional standards they have set in the past, but also become more involved in the related processes of innovation and business to promote national wealth creation,” he says.

Dr Parton believes that New Zealand will face a problem maintaining its living standards and growth targets, let alone achieving the government’s goal of returning New Zealand to the top half of the OECD tables. With skilled people in short supply in all sectors of the economy, there is little capacity in the economy to achieve the required growth.

He strongly believes that national wealth is created primarily through the work of engineers, and scientists, and mathematicians: “There is overwhelming evidence that this country could do a hell of a lot better if there was greater investment in engineering education, and engineers were contributing more to the economy. An engineering degree is a great platform for a career in business and management, not just design.” “Evidence from the UK shows companies with engineers in senior management positions tend to better than those with out”.

Dr Parton takes over from Gerry Te Kapa Coates, Consultant, ISP Consulting Engineers Ltd, on 26 March 2004.

Background Notes

Ian Parton Dist. FIPENZ (Distinguished Fellow of IPENZ) is the Chairman of Maunsell’s New Zealand operations. He has distinguished himself as a Professional Engineer.

Qualified with a first class honours degree in engineering and a PhD from Auckland University, Ian Parton extended his knowledge and management skills through training at the New Zealand Staff College and the Harvard Graduate School of Business, Boston.

He has developed his businessthe company (formerly known as Worley Consultants and then Meritec) since becoming managing director in 1987 into one of New Zealand’s foremost engineering consultancies. In 1996 Meritec the company received a Trade New Zealand Excellence Award as an exporter of services. In 1997 Meritec the company became the first IPENZ Endorsed Employer, which required a demonstrated commitment to systematically supporting graduate members’ development of the competencies expected of engineering practitioners. In 2002 Meritec joined,and subsequently changed its name to Maunsell.

Dr Parton’s service to the profession has progressed in parallel to his own interest in the export of engineering services. On behalf of Trade New Zealand he has led trade missions to several Asian countries and facilitated missions to Eastern Europe on behalf of business and professional service providers. He was Chairman of the Ceramco (Bendon) Board during the sale of its core businesses and is presently Deputy Chairman of the Watercare Board.

His interest in education at secondary and tertiary level is illustrated by his Chairmanship of the Advisory Group Board to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Auckland University, and memberships of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Auckland School of Engineering.


The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is the professional body which represents professional engineers from all disciplines in New Zealand. The Institution sets internationally bench-marked qualifying standards for degree qualifications in engineering and thus serves engineers by securing formal recognition for their professional standing. IPENZ provides services for about 9000 members.


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