03 December 2013

Annual Kennedy Wunsch Lecture

Dr Merv Jones

Looking for First Australian professional process safety engineers announced, click here.

SCENZ-IChemE in conduction with the Society of Materials New Zealand Inc (SMNZI) hosted the New Zealand conference of chemical and materials engineering held at the University of Auckland recently.

Attracting over 140 delegates, the conference covered topics such as energy, food processing, metals and alloys, surfaces and coatings, nanotechnology and biomaterials with a highlight being the annual Kennedy Wunsch Lecture. This year’s lecture was given by IChemE Fellow and Australian board member, Merv Jones, who was a 1969 graduate of the Chemical & Materials (C&M) engineering course at Auckland University.

Jones spoke about his time at university and how he completed his PhD with guidance from Professors Miles Kennedy and Alan Titchener, to whom he owes gratitude for their personal intervention for getting him across the PhD line!

With over forty years in the chemical engineering profession, Jones started with 20 years in a variety of roles within Government, initially working as a clean air officer for the Department of Health in New Zealand.

“As a raw graduate this was an extremely interesting role, I was exposed to so many different chemical, mechanical and other processes, some of which were well-designed and operated, through to others that were both poorly-designed and poorly-operated.”

From the late 1970s, Jones progressed through a range of management roles within government and industry before relocating to Sydney as the Asia Pacific Manager for URS Corporation. After leaving URS in 2007, Jones has taken on both chair and non-executive director roles for various organisations and consultancy groups.

Jones talked about his committee and board roles with both the SCENZ and for the past five years, the Australian IChemE board as its New South Wales representative.

“I have always been a strong believer that if a professional body has given me a qualification then I should get more involved than simply gaze at my certificate on the wall.

“I also thoroughly enjoy being a member of the IChemE University Accreditation Panel and I get enormous pleasure from my mentoring role, which is all about passing on knowledge and wisdom as there are many younger engineers out there who really want to grow through a mentoring arrangement.”

For most of the lecture, Jones focussed on the responsibility that chemical engineers need to have for the work that they get involved in, and the responsibility of experienced engineers to pass on their knowledge to students and younger professionals, whether that be through our teaching institutions, the profession or via formal or informal mentoring.

The Kennedy-Wunsch Lecture is the flagship annual lecture of SCENZ-IChemE in New Zealand.  It recognises the role that Miles Kennedy and Donald Sandys Wunsch have played in chemical engineering. Wunsch was a founding member of IChemE, a recognised figure in the lactose industry and encouraged the founding of a chemical engineering department at Canterbury University.  Kennedy is a pioneer of chemical engineering, particularly in education in New Zealand.

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).