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The Don Houchen scholarship

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The $25,000 Don Houchen scholarship is awarded to one or more people each year. Recipients must be an employee of a CEAS member firm, and have at least 3 years industry experience.

The scholarship can be used for a one off conference or for longer term further education for up to a 3 year period.

Applicants can apply for part or all of the scholarship. The scholarship can be used for:

  • course fees and other costs associated with further education;
  • attendance at conferences, seminars, short courses or workshops;
  • including travel, accommodation and associated costs.


How to apply

Complete the application form including a brief description of the proposed activity, timing, cost and what you hope to achieve. The application should be sponsored and co-signed by a principal of your CEAS firm. If you are a principal of your firm you don't need a sponsor

Applications for scholarship 2019 closed on 1 March 2019.

For further information please contact Gary Smith at


Selection criteria

The scholarship selection criteria include:

  • clear and well-defined objectives in the application;
  • objectives that relate to developing business acumen or commercial and technical risk management skills;
  • being a principal of a CEAS firm or if you are not a principal the support of a principal of the CEAS firm that employs you.

Priority will be given to applicants who demonstrate:

  • a commitment to developing business acumen and risk management skills in consulting engineering ;
  • ambition for leadership roles in the engineering industry;
  • an interest in the activities of CEAS.


Payment of the scholarship money

If your application is successful payment will be made when you present receipts, or at pre-agreed milestones in the scholarship.

What we expect from recipients

You need to provide feedback on your progress and reflections at the end of the scholarship. These may be posted on the website and included in CEAS Indemnity Matters. You may also be asked to present to members in your local area as part of the CEAS annual roadshows.

We ask that recipients' names and the name of their employer can be included in publicity material about the scholarship. This may include featuring in CEAS Indemnity Matters, CEAS roadshows, Aon Professional Risks and CEAS websites, and ACENZ and Engineering New Zealand publications.



All applications will be treated in confidence.



2018 Scholarship Recipients

The 2018 scholarship was shared between two applicants.

Joe Bain, Principal Engineer & Managing Director, JSK Consulting Engineers

Julian Ramsay, Managing Director, Ruamoko Solutions

Joe will attend a short course called "The Professional Service Firm Leader" at Judge Business School at Cambridge University (UK) in early 2019.


Julian attended a 5-day course at Harvard Business School in Boston (USA) called "Leading Professional Service Firms"

Here is an overview of his feedback.

 I was fortunate enough to have been a co-recipient of the 2018 CEAS Don Houchen Scholarship, for which I attended the Leading Professional Services Firms (LPSF) course at Harvard Business School (HBS) in Boston, Massachusetts. The course was a week-long intensive programme of case-method presentations.

Cases presented covered numerous management and business acumen topics such as leadership style, firm culture, staff retention, metrics and analysis, risk, client management, mentoring, strategic planning and resilience.

There were many immediate take-aways from the course that I have since directly applied to our business, but the nature of the course is such that I will still be realising outcomes many years down the track.

The scholarship application process was simple and straightforward. I would strongly encourage CEAS members to apply for the Don Houchen Scholarship.

Click here to read Julian's full feedback


Previous Recipients


Rebecca Jackson, Senior Environmental Engineer / Quality Programme Manager at Tonkin & Taylor Limited.


Hamish Bennett, Senior Mechanical Engineer- Dobbie Engineers Ltd

Matt Bishop, Senior Mechanical Engineer/Managing Director - BVT Consulting Ltd


Click Here to review past recipients feedback


Background to the scholarship

The Don Houchen Scholarship was established in 2015 to fund the development of commercial and risk management skills among CEAS member firms. Don believed that consulting engineers needed to develop these skills to reduce commercial disputes and improve the services they provide to their clients. 

Don died in 2013 while still the lead insurance broker with Aon Professional Risks. Through Aon Professional Risks and its predecessors, Don supported CEAS for more than 30 years. He was a passionate advocate of the principles behind the society.

He worked tirelessly to assist CEAS members in negotiating equitable contracts with their clients, providing risk management advice, representing CEAS members in submissions to government, and providing support and encouragement in resolving insurance disputes.