The recent election of Kevin Kelly as President of the Chartered institution of Building Services Engineers is a timely and well-deserved accolade. It recognises decades of unstinting service not just to the Institution, but across the entire spectrum of building services engineering. Apart from high-profile roles as CIBSE Ireland Chairman, SLL President and various CIBSE Committee appointments, he was instrumental in shaping the evolution of engineering education during his many years with DIT (now TU Dublin). He took up the position of CIBSE President in the first week in May and here we reproduce extracts from his Presidential address.

Change must embrace diversity

Pat Lehane May 14, 2021 , , , , , ,

It is a great honour to be the second Irish CIBSE President. Eoin Kenny was the first in 1986. I believe my presidency has come about in recognition of the great work of CIBSE Ireland over many years.

Kevin Kelly, CIBSE President

What is clear in this era, and going forward, is that the only constant in our lives will be change. The last 15 months have seen quite profound change and many new challenges for The world. The Covid-19 pandemic hit everyone like a hammer-blow but our industry responded extremely well and served at the forefront in delivering helpful solutions.

While many people have tragically lost their lives, everyone has been affected. This is what our future may look like with a continually changing health environment and challenges we have not faced before. The effect on The economy is also very significant.

The development of the vaccine is both an interesting and inspirational example of what educated, talented researchers can achieve when faced with such a sudden and devastating event. However, Covid-19 did not come out of nowhere. SARS, MERS and Ebola all came before it. We had earlier warnings from The World Bank and even Bill Gates to prepare for a pandemic.

This reminds me of the example of reactions to change and the analogy of placing a frog in boiling water – it jumps out, or so it is claimed. Alternatively, if the frog is placed in a pot and the water is slowly boiled, then the frog will go to sleep and not respond adequately to save its life.

This clearly illustrates how it is often more difficult to respond to a slower-changing environment than a fast-changing one. Covid-19 required such a response from governments who took urgent action, while everyone promptly changed their behaviour.

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May/June 2021

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Pat Lehane

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