President's Address

My desire to become an engineer was as a result of the various trips my uncle would take me on as a child in Savanna-la-Mar, which included visits to the Frome Sugar Factory, Grace Meats in Westmoreland, JPSco Power Station in Paradise Westmoreland, NWC water pumping Station in Waterworks Westmoreland and the Sugar Wharf in Savanna-la-mar. Another event that inspired me was watching Neil Armstrong’s moon landing in 1969, when I was in Fifth Form at Manning’s High School.

There was something that struck me when I was a child, and seeing those Engineers and craftsmen working. It always looked to me like the engineers were playing. In addition, as I was growing, I noticed that actually, innovation comes when Engineers are in the state of mind of playing. Playing is what makes or helps us to be creative.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure and honour that I assume the responsibility of the President of this great institution, the Jamaica Institution of Engineers for the 2016-2017 council year.

The JIE was formed by the merger of the Institute of Engineers Jamaica and the Jamaica Association of Engineers. We have been inspired by the founding Presidents namely Engineer J. Wint (1966-1967) of the Institute of Engineers Jamaica, Engineer V.M. Lawrence (1974-1975) of Jamaica Association of Engineers and Engineer R.C. Fisher (1977-1978) of Jamaica Institution of Engineers. These Presidents’ words continue to resonate 50 years later through JIE’s mission, which is, “to utilize engineering knowledge to improve the quality of life”.

Our mission exemplifies the focus and strength of the JIE, to be agile and nimble, even in changing times, as we strive for excellence and impact in all our endeavours.

In performing its mission, the JIE, I believe, must adhere to these core values:

  • Embrace integrity and ethical conduct
  • Embrace diversity and respect the dignity and culture of all people
  • Nurture and treasure the environment and our natural and man-made resources
  • Facilitate the development, dissemination and application of engineering knowledge
  • Promote the benefits of continuing education and of engineering education
  • Respect and document engineering history while continually embracing change
  • Promote the technical and societal contribution of Engineers

Today the JIE is celebrating its 39th anniversary. Reflecting on the accomplishments of JIE during the year, we are energized by the optimism and sense of opportunity in the air, as JIE sets its sights on building an even brighter future for our Institution.

We have come a long way since the days of our founders, and yet there is so much more to do. For this reason, the JIE continues to pursue new pathways – so that our Institution and our profession can continue to make great strides – with significant and lasting contributions for the betterment of humankind. Technological advances continue to be the fuel which propels our mission.

The implementation of the National Building Code, which articulates JIE’s and Jamaica’s cultural values, vision for strategic growth and financial stability, will assist in placing Jamaica on a path for continued growth and future success well into the future.

Similarly, the Continuing Education Units initiative has added an important dimension to the JIE’s work by maximizing opportunities for the entire JIE community to work collaboratively across the Institution as we focus more deeply than ever on the needs and opportunities in the Jamaica engineering market.

This will place new emphasis on our ability to proactively serve the needs of key markets through an integrated content and engagement approach, particularly in the areas of energy sources and supply, power generation and advanced manufacturing.

Our expanding role in the Jamaican engineering community through our conferences, partnerships and student activities has further established our leadership role as an essential resource for engineers and other technical professionals. From college students and early-career engineers to project managers, corporate executives, researchers and academic leaders, JIE's members are as diverse as the engineering community itself. JIE serves this wide-ranging technical community through quality programmes in continuing education, training and professional development, codes and standards, research, conferences and publications, government relations and other forms of outreach.

In Jamaica, for example, approximately 23,000 scientists and engineers that will be required to meet growth needs in our industries between now and 2022.

Many industry players believe that colleges and universities will need to further increase engineering enrolment and build greater capacity to graduate enough engineers to meet the high demand, notwithstanding that engineering enrolments are already at historically high levels

This shortfall in technical skill, according to industry executives, could hamper development, impede innovation and slow research programmes that are on the horizon of firms in sectors ranging from manufacturing and consumer electronics to energy and healthcare.

To attract more young people to the sciences, many companies should sponsor competitions that test students of all ages in critical thinking, analysis, design and communications. Like its counterparts in industry, JIE is a strong advocate for workforce development and supports the role that design competitions have on influencing career decisions.

JIE believes that these design competitions will propel some of the best and brightest students and entrepreneurs into the engineering disciplines of future generations while helping to make the world a better place through the application of new and advanced technologies.

We need to inspire students and young engineers to share our love and passion for engineering and we at the JIE have tools that can help us to help the students and the young engineers to handle the challenges they will face in their careers. We are right now shaping the future of our society and our country. What we do today affects our children, grandchildren, the next generations and our planet.

With Jamaica’s population of over three million people, JIE is keenly aware of the challenges facing all persons in Jamaica. Energy resources, food, clean water, transportation and shelter are just some of the challenges facing today’s Engineers. New advances in manufacturing, such as drink manufacturing, are revitalizing industries and contributing to economic growth. JIE has been and will continue to be a vital part of these conversations, now and well into the future.