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Top structural engineering lecturer steps down

Top structural engineering lecturer steps down after 26 years at Canterbury University

An award-winning engineer, who provided technical direction and led the assessment of major structures in the aftermath of the Canterbury quakes, has given his last lecture at the very institution where he completed his own Master’s degree.

Internationally recognised for his expertise in structural engineering, concrete structures, and seismic design and durability, Des Bull (60) has taught at the University of Canterbury for more than a quarter of a century.

Des lectured more than 1,500 students over the past two decades in the fields of reinforced concrete and structural concrete. In addition to this specialism, Des also co-lectured courses including bridge design, structural concepts & systems, and engineering materials.

Looking back at his time at the university, Des says that interacting and working with the students is what he will miss the most.

“Working with bright young minds was definitely the highlight and something I’ll really miss. With one of the post-graduate students, there were discoveries made during his PhD studies which have since provided a directive for totally changing the way we do things at an industry level. It’s exciting breakthroughs like that that made it all worthwhile.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support and generosity of the team at Holcim NZ, who provided the means to ensuring the adjunct professor role could continue for as long as it has. For this I’m extremely grateful.”

And it seems the feeling was mutual. To give thanks to their lecturer, Des’s most recent class visited him in the computer suite to present him with a card and a bottle of whisky – a surprising but thoughtful gesture.

As he steps down from his position at the University, Des now turns his sights to focusing on his role as Technical Director at leading engineering firm, Holmes Consulting. It is a role he has successfully juggled with his lecturing position at the University for the past two decades.

Looking ahead, Des says he is looking forward to contributing more to the wider industry and using his knowledge and experience to continue to help others overcome structural challenges.


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