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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.


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 Board is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients - the scholarship is shared between two applicants. Congratulations.

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

Joe will attend a short course called "The Professional Service Firm Leader" at Judge Business School at Cambridge University (UK) later this year.


Julian Ramsay, Managing Director, Ruamoko Solutions

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


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


Feedback from Previous Recipients

Rebecca Jackson (2017)

Corporate Risk Management: Lessons from Harvard Business School

By Rebecca Jackson, Quality Programme Manager and Senior Environmental Engineer at Tonkin + Taylor

"I was the lucky (and delighted!) recipient of the CEAS Don Houchen Scholarship for 2017. I chose to attend Harvard Business School’s Risk Management for Corporate Leaders. The programme is aimed at senior professionals who manage risk for their companies.

The programme was very cleverly designed. 45 attendees from all over the world essentially facilitated risk-based discussions around 15 well known (some very famous!) case studies, including the Columbia space shuttle disaster, the Mars Curiosity landing, Cyber attack on Target, the Fukushima and 3 Mile Island nuclear disasters to name a few.

The programme was very inclusive rather than competitive and made networking easy. Other training programmes could learn a lot from this inclusive, case-based style of development. It made learning so easy.

I learned about the three types of risks: Operational/ preventable risk, Strategic risk, and Novel risks, and was able to bring back a number of useful risk tools and techniques.

Thank you so much to CEAS and to AON for sponsoring the Don Houchen scholarship. This programme changed my whole thinking around risk and I can’t recommend it highly enough". 

As part of the course Rebecca was asked to give a testimonial to Harvard Business School - read more:


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.