The man leading Fiji’s efforts to build a world-class transport network has been recognised with a prestigious industry accolade.
Fiji Roads Authority CEO Neil Cook has been named a Lifetime Member of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).
Mr Cook moved to Fiji in 2013 to head up the FRA and oversee the country’s biggest ever infrastructure project.
IPWEA New Zealand President Braden Austin recommended Neil for life membership, citing his significant contributions to the engineering profession and his active involvement in the community and a number of organisations.
“Neil represented IPWEA – then INGENIUM – with mana, skill and dedication and he continues to be a strong driver of integrating social needs and engineering. Neil relentlessly pursues improvement in our industry, he’s a true leader.”
Mr Cook says the nomination is especially meaningful, given his FRA role.
“As an engineer who has spent so much of my career in public service roles, working for the greater good, the FRA work is a natural extension. It is immensely satisfying,” says Mr Cook, whose IPWEA lifetime membership status recognises his contribution to Engineering as a profession.
“When you get involved in a professional body, it’s over and above the paid work you do. Already, as an engineer, your work is about making life better for people through what you do. If you look at the engineers working on FRA projects, for example, there is a lot of focus on plans and spreadsheets and calculations. But as a result of that people are able to get to school, get to work and get health care more safely and easily.’
Mr Cook encourages other engineers to give back to the profession.
“It’s a responsibility. Whatever we give back to the profession ultimately benefits thousands or millions of people. Whether it’s safety, convenience, productivity or some other benefit, it is making a difference to peoples’ lives.”
Here, engineers can join the Fiji Institute of Engineers to give back to the profession and get all the benefits of belonging to a professional body.
“It creates the opportunity for people to network, and leads to closer, more productive working relationships, as well as promoting professional standards and being a facilitator of training.”
Mr Cook says the work the FRA is doing will act as a catalyst for the development of the profession in Fiji, as well as individual careers.
“It’s so important as the infrastructure gets better developed and maintained, that the profession grows alongside it. Part of the brief is ensuring that Fiji is moving towards self-sustainability. Being part of a professional network encourages this, and also provides a very important advocacy role, contributing to government policy and having a say on funding priorities.”