The annual presentation of honours and awards was held in the Common Room of University College, Cork on Monday 4th December 2005 at 7.00pm. The Minister of Industry, Mr Micheál Martin TD, attended.

Micheál Martin TD

I am delighted to be able to be here this evening in this historical centre of education dating back to 1845. This occasion is intended to acknowledge and encourage excellence and achievement amongst those involved in, and those training for, careers in automation and related areas of technology.

Cork has, in recent years, developed a worldwide reputation in the Technology area and, given the standard of work which these awards acknowledge; itÕs not hard to see why.

When people involved in such diverse areas of technology achieve excellence and in the process produce quality work, it is only right that we should publicly acknowledge such success. I would like to wish the winners, their families, sponsors, and all present a Joyful and Peaceful Christmas.

Brian Nolan

President 2006/7

I would like to welcome you all here this evening, to our 26th Annual Honours and Awards Ceremony. We hold this annual ceremony to acknowledge and encourage excellence for those training for careers in Instrumentation, Systems and Automation.

This year we have five awards, four of which have been submitted by Third Level institutions and one is from the membership of our section. I would like to welcome the recipients and their families. We are delighted each sponsor is represented here this evening; this clearly shows the industryÕs awareness and support for promoting and awarding excellence

I would like to thank UCC for allowing use this very elegant and historic Common Room. I hope you all have a very relaxed and enjoyable evening as we celebrate excellence in our industry.

Craft Apprentice Award

Recipient: Mr. Brendan Byron, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo.

Nominated by: Mr. Robert Lyttle FÁS Sligo.

“The contributions for which the above named nominee should be recognised are as follows:

Consistently throughout his apprenticeship, displaying a very high degree of ability (both practical and academic), motivation and interest in the Instrumentation trade, as indicated by the number of extra curricular activities he has undertaken, and also having an exemplary record with regard to attendance, timekeeping and general manner.

During this period I have followed his results with interest from phase 2, 4 and 6 of his apprenticeship and he achieved merits in every module completed.

He also completed other studies, PLC Night Class in FAS training Centre, Sligo, and Level 1 of The Certified Control System Technicians program (this is an ISA Program). Brendan is currently attending Sligo IT fulltime course in Batchelor of Engineering in Mechatronics, having completed his first year.

I am delighted to nominate Brendan for the 2006 ISA Craft Apprentice Award in recognition of his accomplishments.”

Technician Award

Recipient: : Mr. Conor Fahy, C/o School of Science, GMIT, Galway

Nominated by : Mr. Gareth Roe. Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

“Conor FahyÕs nomination for this award is based on his outstanding achievement on the Certificate course in Physics & Instrumentation at GMIT in gaining a Distinction with an average mark of 91.6%.

This average mark is the highest ever achieved by a student on our Certificate course and in addition to this, Connor was consistently excellent across the entire range of subjects he took from Instrumentation & Control through to Physics.

Conor has also demonstrated an impressive aptitude (at this early stage) for applying his skills to real world instrumentation problems Ð his work for his technical project module culminated in the successful construction and testing of a working PI level control system, with the work being carried out within a very constrained time frame.

Conor’s highest results were 98% in Physics, 97% in Mathematics, 95% in Control Systems and also in Computer Programming.

In addition to all this Conor must also be complimented for his enthusiastic, enquiring and cheerful engagement with the course, his fellow students and his lecturing staff throughout the duration of his studies.”

Technologist Award

Recipient: Mr. Sean O’Mahony, Blackrock Road, Bantry, Co Cork

Nominated by : Dr. Liam McDonnell Cork. Institute of Technology

Sean obtained a BSc (Honours) in Computerised Instrument Systems at Cork Institute of Technology in June 2006. With an average mark of 86.90% in his final year, Sean was awarded a First Class Honours grade. No subject result in SeanÕs final year was less than 78% with four of his subject results being 90% or higher. Whilst an exceptional result by any standard, SeanÕs final year performance was not surprising given his First Class performance in the earlier years of his course: Year 1 (81.26%); Year 2 (77.80%); and Year 3 (86.69%).

For his final year project, Sean developed a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) system for efficient network control of remote instrumentation. Many VNC systems exist to allow users gain access to, for example, the desktop of a remote PC. Desktop mirroring VNC systems are very bandwidth intensive since they use bitmap caching, etc., to achieve an accurate representation of a remote desktop. In many cases, a user simply wants to run a specific application on the remote machine and may not require a full-colour representation of a remote desktop.

In his project Sean networked two PCs to create a client/server system and developed an application specific VNC system to control a programmable DC power supply unit. His approach reduced the strain imposed on the network that bitmap caching imposes. In this project, Sean became very experienced in networking and gained knowledge of a new language VB.Net. Sean is now working for a Cork company that develops vision and imaging systems for industrial applications.

Ger. Dullea Award

Recipient: Mr. Damien Howard, Ennis Road, Limerick

Nominated by: Dr. Jim Mc Comb, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology

The contributions for which the above named nominee should be recognised are: Outstanding performance in final year of Hons. BSc Applied Physics & Instrumentation Damien came into the final year of the Hons. BSc Physics & Instrumentation from a general degree in NUIG.

As such he was at a significant disadvantage as there was a lot of totally new material and in particular laboratory equipment and techniques that he had not met previously. He displayed tremendous enthusiasm and aptitude in not only catching up with but surpassing the rest of the class in just one year.

He achieved 1st place in the class with an average mark of 80%. But even more impressively his laboratory work was outstanding earning a mark of 87%. He undertook a very difficult project in attempting to measure stress by examining interference of light through optical fibers.

He achieved remarkable results earning a mark of 85%. In fact his performance was outstanding across all subjects displaying no weaknesses. Additionally Damien carried out all his tasks in a quite and unassuming manner and displayed an inquiring mind and a keen interest in the subject matter.

Damien has just been accepted into a research program in Waste Power Engineering in Queens University Belfast.

Technology Achievement Award

The committee decided, that the nominations submitted did not merit the presentation of this award for 2006.

Instrument Pioneer

Recipient : Mr. Michael Riordan, Hettyfield, Well Road, Cork.

Nominated by: Mr. Brian Curtis and Mr. John Reidy.

“Michael served his electrical apprenticeship in the textile and cotton industry with Seafield Fabrics and Blackwater Cotton in Youghal. This was a six year period learning the basis of electrical maintenance and installation in the early fifties.

Michael receives the “Noteworthy Notions” award from Ian McCallum, Factory manager Irish Refining ca 1965. He then applied for and gained employment as a member of a team with Irish Refining Company at the newly constructed oil refinery in Whitegate, Co. Cork, to be trained as an instrument craftsman. Following on site classroom lectures, the members of the team were assigned to individual qualified instrument craftsmen who were on secondment to the Irish Refinery from Esso Oil refineries in the UK to commission the instrumentation facilities at the Whitegate Refinery.

Having completed this phase the Irish Team took over the maintenance function including scheduled 24 hour on-call duty. Four years later Michael applied and was selected for secondment to Standard Oil Libya, where oil resources had been discovered. As one of a team of instrument craftsmen from Esso Refineries in UK and Ireland to commission a new oil refinery and a power generating plant which had been constructed on barges in Spain and installed on the Mediterranean coast of Libya.

Following this assignment Michael returned to Whitegate refinery and worked as an instrument craftsman specialising in on-line continuous analysers and developed temperature scanning equipment which at the time was not commercially available. In these years the PC was in its infancy and its unreliability was a significant deterrent to its use in critical control applications.

After ten years in oil refinery and power generating industries, during which Michael had gained a lot of knowledge and worked with very competent people. The Irish Refinery company advertised a voluntary redundancy scheme which he availed of after securing other employment.

Michael receives the “Noteworthy Notions” award from Ian McCallum, Factory manager Irish Refining ca 1965.

Later Michael worked with ANCO (now FAS) as an instrument instructor for one year. When he was offered the position of Electrical/ Instrument foreman by Mitsui Denman, who were constructing a manganese processing plant in Little Island, where he stayed until construction was completed, the plant commissioned and in full operation, two years later.

At that time Nitrogen Eireann Teoranta (NET) later Irish Fertilisers Limited (IFI) were constructing an Ammonia and Urea plant at Marino point near Cobh. They advertised for an Electrical /Instrument Supervisor which Michael applied for and was selected in 1977. Responsibilities there included jointly recruitment of staff, witnessing and acceptance of instrumentation on behalf of NET, commissioning of control and monitoring equipment and plant start up.

In 1983 Michael was promoted to a positions instrument and electrical project engineer, which he fulfilled until his retirement in 2002. During these years NET/IFI made substantial investment in necessary projects, e.g. plant efficiencies, natural gas pressure boosting station. Installation of SCADA and DCS control systems.

Looking back over the 25 years working for NET/IFI Michael recalls the variety and scope of the job and most importantly the memory of all his colleagues who worked there. We know that IFI was closed in 2003 and the Ammonia plant has been dismantled and shipped to South America to be rebuilt. Michael has not applied for the position of commissioning engineer on the construction of this plant; he has retired his boots and his 4-20mA meter for the quieter environs of Douglas.

Michael is married to Frances and they have four children, Jim, Catherine, Fiona, and Caroline.

Tonight we honour Michael Riordan with the Pioneer Award. He really has been a pioneer in the development of the instrumentation industry in Ireland over the last 40 years.”

Combined Irish and British commissioning team that went to Libya in 1963 and show Michael forth from the right in the middle row
Some of the sponsors of Honours and Awards 2006. Back row : John Downey RPS, Colm Fitzgerald, Kirby Group, Donal Grogan, Valve Services, Gery Creaner, DPS Engineering, Tony Donnelly, Endress + Hauser, John Farrell, Proscon. Front row:, Brian Curtis ISA, Brian Nolan, President ISA Ireland, Minister Micheál Martin TD and Kevin Dignan, ISA.