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 The Don Houchen scholarship

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The $25,000 (excl. GST) 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 training opportunity 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;
  • associated travel, accommodation, and related 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 during and 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 ACE New Zealand and Engineering New Zealand publications.



All applications will be treated in confidence.



2023 Scholarship Recipient

Vis (Yuanzhi) Chen, Senior Geotechnical Engineer – Engineering Geology Ltd, Auckland

She plans to undertake a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration through Melbourne University Business School

Previous Recipients

2022 Gary Stevenson, Principal Civil Engineer – Davis Ogilvie, Christchurch Gary will complete an MBA at the University of Canterbury

 2021 Michael Simcock, Structural Engineer – Project Structure Ltd, Christchurch, enrolled for an MBA at the University of Canterbury to further develop his consulting skills through its broad coverage of business development topics.

2020 The scholarship was shared between three applicants:

Ben Haines of Project Structures – who attended a leadership development programme provided by Icehouse.

Ben is a structural engineer based in Christchurch and was extensively involved in assessments and repairs following the Canterbury earthquakes. Read his feedback by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

Che Robertson of Modulus Engineering Ltd – who enrolled in a one-day Engineering NZ course on ‘Negligence and Liability for Engineers’. Unfortunately, the course was impacted by COVID restrictions. Che is looking at other suitable opportunities for further education.

Che is a Mechanical Engineer based in Nelson region involved in heavy vehicle certification and the design and certification of lifting devices and safety equipment.

Michelle Farrell of NZ Civil – who enrolled in a ‘Master of Construction’ (Construction Law) course at Massey University.

Michelle is a Chartered Civil Engineer with experience in project & design management, construction contract management, Engineer to the Contract roles. Read her feedback by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.


Robert Lane, Associate, Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers

Rob was to attend a 5-day course "The Professional Service Firm Leader" at the Judge Business School in Cambridge, UK, in May 2020 - postponed due to COVID-19.


The 2018 scholarship was shared between two applicants:

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

Julian Ramsay, Managing Director, Ruamoko Solutions


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.