Galway City Tribune - Opinion Piece
Concrete award for retiring EamonSeptember 27, 2012 - 3:53pm
Eamonn Cannon is one of those modest people who don’t boast about their achievements but recently his significant and sustained contributions to teaching and research in concrete that stretch back over thirty years was recognised with a lifetime achievement award.
The Bridge and Concrete Research in Ireland Lifetime Achievement was not Eamonn’s first award but it was his first lifetime achievement and, in fact, he is the first ever recipient of what will now be an biennial award.
Now retired from the Civil Engineering faculty of NUIG, he is at first reluctant to be interviewed or to talk about his award at all. It is not that he isn’t proud of it but because he is modest and shy and prefers to keep a low profile.
And though he has worked or taught structural design for many years, he lives in a house on St Mary’s Terrace which was built in the early 1890s and says he has no notion of building a ‘dream home’ anywhere as he is very happy where he is and doesn’t have that compulsion to create a new building.
The Donegal native left the private industry and started lecturing in NUIG in 1982 where he remained until his retirement at an early age (he is still in his early sixties) last year.
He admits that he gave a hard time to a former colleague who nominated him for the award but says now that he is thrilled with the recognition, especially when it came from his own peers from across the country.
“He was persistent so I gave in. . . and I am glad I did,” he says.
In fact, on the night of the awards ceremony in Dublin, Eamonn was equally thrilled that a young ex-colleague and a student from the faculty were also recognised for their research work.
“My award was a total surprise, as I am very conscious of the research achievements of others, and have focussed a lot on teaching for the past three decades in college that with the design as a subject, one has to - and in recent years was heavily involved in work on Eurocodes. These are harmonised structural design standards now applying throughout Europe and represent the culmination of fifty years work by several generations of engineers; it was very satisfying to be involved.”
Eamonn was always interested in architecture and how buildings were constructed, which is why he choose to study in UCD as it had a combined faculty of Engineering and Architecture.
He remembers one lecturer who was particularly inspirational and who bridged the divide between architecture and engineering. He was Sean de Courcy, who specialised on the design of concrete structures and who was also a great communicator.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.