Skip to page content

For general enquiries Call 04 819 4000

You are here: Home : About us : Don Houchen Scholarship

The Don Houchen scholarship

don houchen image

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.

You can download the application form here. Applications close on 16 March 2018. For further information please contact Gary Smith at gsmith (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.


Previous Recipients


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

Rebecca will attend a residential course at Harvard Business School on Risk Management for Corporate Leaders in December 2017. Rebecca expects this will improve her knowledge of business risk which will benefit both her career development and her work at T+T as Quality Programme Manager. Her ambition is to take on greater leadership roles and better integrate risk management into everyday thinking in her organisation.


Hamish Bennett, Senior Mechanical Engineer- Dobbie Engineers Ltd

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


Feedback from Previous Recipients

Hamish Bennett (2015)

I attended the PSMJ Architecture and Engineering Consultants Emerging Leaders workshop in Seattle for two days in September 2015. Since I have returned from the course our MD and I have put together an action plan to implement a number of items I identified during the workshop including staff evaluation and development, tendering techniques and firm performance benchmarking.

CEAS is also assisting me with attending the FIDIC Conditions of Contract Training Course on the Red and Yellow book. Our firm is starting to use FIDIC contracts for some projects and I see future opportunities for the firm to be involved with overseas work where FIDIC contracts are frequently used.

Matt Bishop

In April I attended the "Leading Professional Service Firms" course at Harvard Business School, thanks to the Don Houchen Scholarship. The course content and networking opportunities were of immense value to myself and my business, value that I am still realising 6 months down the track. The scholarship application process was not at all onerous, I would highly recommend both the LPSF course and the Don Houchen Scholarship.


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.