Gary Chalmers, a civil engineer from infrastructure consultancy Opus International Consultants (Opus), has become the first New Zealander to receive the prestigious International Medal from the UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers.
Since 2000, the International Medal has been awarded annually to a civil engineer who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession and this is the first time in its 15 year history it has been given to a New Zealander or an engineer working for a New Zealand business.
Gary, Technical Principal – Ports and Marine at Opus, received the medal for his contribution to several engineering fields, including: seismic design; risk management; and asset management in the ports sector with a focus on Lyttelton Port of Christchurch.
Foresight and technical expertise are behind Gary’s success according to Opus’ Chief Executive Dr David Prentice. “This is a fantastic accolade which Gary richly deserves. His collaboration, leadership and vision during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake meant that Lyttelton Port could keep operating and become a hub for the wider recovery efforts,” said Dr Prentice.
The earthquake caused significant damage to wharves, sea walls, and pavements at the port, with most key wharf assets requiring reconstruction. The award recognised Gary for his prior asset management planning and fragility modelling and his integral role in maintaining structures during the difficult post-earthquake conditions, as well as concept work for the re-build.
Gary’s outstanding contribution to engineering was also acknowledged by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand in 2014 when they awarded him the Dobson Award, the Supreme Technical Award for Transportation Infrastructure.
“Being recognised like this is quite humbling. As a Cantabrian it has been extremely fulfilling to do my bit to help get the region back on its feet through the work at Lyttelton Port, but I see my work as a small part of a wider team effort,” said Gary Chalmers.