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Don Houchen Scholarship - Recipients Feedback


Julian Ramsay, Ruamoko Solutions

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 program of case-method presentations and learning while living on the picturesque Harvard campus, and the week included networking and attending workshops in the evenings. There were approximately 140 attendees from professional service firms from all over the world, from hugely wide and varied backgrounds.

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One of the unique features of the HBS is the “case method” style of teaching, whereby participants are required to contribute as if they were involved in the cases themselves. Many interesting and relevant cases were presented, and I was glad for having done most of the case reading beforehand to allow maximum benefit from the course. 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. In addition there were presentations on globalisation, and new technologies in business. The calibre of the presenters was exceptional, and it was almost impossible not to be fully engaged due to their presentation style. The subject matter was hugely relevant, and I found it useful to get a feel for international best practice in professional service firm leadership.


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 intense nature of the course and close living environment was such that I made good friends and contacts from all over world, and our living group network regularly keeps in touch with a social media page, and has plans for a reunion in Hamburg next year.

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I cannot recommend the LPSF course enough. I would like to thank CEAS and the Don Houchen Scholarship for making it happen. It is wonderful that the scholarship can help to continue the principles of skill development for consulting engineers which Don Houchen was a passionate advocate for. The scholarship application process was simple and straightforward. I would strongly encourage CEAS members to apply for the Don Houchen Scholarship.




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


"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, Senior Mechanical Engineer- Dobbie Engineers Ltd

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


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".