Matt Bishop standing for IPENZ board

Matt Bishop, BVT’s Managing Director, has been nominated for a Board position with the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), New Zealand’s peak professional body for engineers. The opportunity to represent the engineering profession on this national body is highly sought after, with over twenty candidates standing for just three Board positions.

The new IPENZ Board representatives will be elected democratically by IPENZ members voting online. The team at BVT are supporting Matt in the upcoming election and, if you’re an IPENZ member, we’d love you to vote for Matt too!

You can read Matt’s profile here: https://www.ipenz.nz/home/news-and-publications/news-article/candidates-for-the-ipenz-governing-board

We asked Matt a few questions about why he is passionate about representing engineers at the highest level nationally, and what he aims to achieve as a board member.

Matt, tell us about your nomination for the IPENZ Board?

With the appointment of Susan Freeman-Greene as the IPENZ CEO, IPENZ have announced an exciting new strategic direction.

It is likely that the Institute will change considerably over the next few years, and I’d like to actively contribute to that future state, drawing on my experience as a senior engineer working across a multitude of industries, and as the owner of a leading engineering professional services firm.

And what do you hope to achieve on the board?

IPENZ has already announced a significant change to the membership structure, with Member IPENZ being associated with an engineer’s Professionalism, and Chartered Engineer being a quality mark associated with current Competence.

At present MIPENZ and CPEng are practically the same thing; separating Professionalism and Competence can only strengthen both aspects of a Professional Engineer, and therefore the Institute. These changes are in addition to an increased focus on Professionalism in Engineering. This will strengthen the profession generally, and broadens the appeal of the Institute outside of the traditional Civil/Structural/Geotech practice areas.

What is the difference between Professionalism and Competence and why is Professionalism important?

Technical competence is about ‘what you do as an engineer’. It is the technical understanding of a particular engineering practice field, typically deep and narrow expertise.

Professionalism is about ‘how you carry out the engineering’. It represents how engineers represent the profession and interact with the community, stakeholders, clients and other engineers.  Essentially it is how the engineering profession represents itself within society, given the role and contributions we make. Professionalism is a common facet across all fields of engineering, and underpins the credibility of the engineering profession.

At times an engineer can let their technical competence take precedence. For example, an engineer who gives technically accurate reports to a client who has experienced an occupational health and safety incident, but doesn’t appreciate the broader impact of such an event on a business and its personnel.

Or the case of the engineer who gives technically accurate testimony in court, but isn’t prepared to shoulder the burden of responsibility for the greater good of the profession. It is technically competent, but unprofessional engineers that has, paradoxically, lead the government to consider further regulation of the engineering profession’s competence. Professionalism builds trust faster than Competence.

And why should IPENZ members vote for you?

I’ve a track record of executing in engineering projects, in growing a business, representing the profession on a range of formal bodies including regulatory forums and IPENZ TIGS.  As an employer of choice for graduate engineers, I am also committed to increasing capability within the profession and drawing on technological advances to improve our services. This is very much where the future direction is headed, not just for our profession but also globally.

I believe that the engineering profession in New Zealand can achieve much more and IPENZ plays a critical role in achieving this through its advocacy and representation.  I am keen to contribute to this future and offer IPENZ members my expertise as a senior engineer, who is commercially astute and driven by building the capability in our profession. I believe these factors will provide a fresh perspective on the IPENZ Board and I’d welcome the support from our BVT community.