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Tributing 50 years’ contribution to civil engineering at Sydney

12 November 2018
Malcolm Boyd retires as Executive Officer, Council for Civil Engineering Sydney
As an alumnus, Malcom Boyd has a reputation for ‘going above and beyond’ in his voluntary contribution to the University of Sydney. Amidst a busy professional life, Malcolm’s work has been foundational to the strong industry links forged in civil engineering.
Malcolm Boyd

Malcolm Boyd

After more than eight years as Executive Officer of the School of Civil Engineering’s industry council, Malcolm Boyd – who is well known to both the academic staff and students who have passed through the School in that time – has decided to retire.

Malcolm’s association with Sydney University dates to the late 1960s when he completed his Bachelor of Civil Engineering followed by a Master of Engineering. In his student days, he acted as a postgraduate tutor and was actively involved in the Sydney University Rugby Club, touring California with the first-grade team in 1974.

In his professional career, Malcolm is best known for the introduction of reinforced earth technology to Australia. Having served the Reinforced Earth Company in various roles from 1976 to his Chairmanship in 1999, Malcolm was responsible for the strategic direction of the Groupe TAI Company in Australia and New Zealand as well as the technical development, standards, communication and assistance for the COMTECH group. Reinforced earth technology has become a fundamental component of a civil engineer’s toolkit for solving many earth retaining problems, especially in infrastructure.

Amidst a busy professional life, Malcolm always found time for his voluntary commitments to the Faculty of Engineering and IT, and his connections within the School of Civil Engineering. Serving as President of the Civil Engineering Foundation from 1991–1997 and again in 2000–2002, Malcolm secured resources to ensure that the School remained at the forefront of civil engineering research and education in Australia.

He served on the Dean's Industry Advisory Council for 10 years from 1996, helping to strategically develop the interaction between the Faculty, students, industry and the community, before becoming a Supervisor to the Faculty’s brightest Advanced Engineering students in 2007.

Acting as Chief Operating Officer and then Project Officer with the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering from 2010 to 2015, Malcolm helped to bring industry, government and academia together to create thought leadership in engineering, technology and innovation within the Faculty. 

As Foundation Officer and then Executive Officer for the Council for Civil Engineering Sydney, Malcolm had an “unprecedented focus, systematically enhancing the School’s engagement with industry,” says Professor Kim Rasmussen, Associate Dean Research, and Head of the School of Civil Engineering from 2005 to 2016.

Malcolm added an industry perspective to multiple reviews of the School’s educational programs and contributed richly to several accreditation interviews by Engineers Australia. He arranged seminars by leading national and international practitioners as a means of connecting students and staff to industry and drew on his network of industry contacts to help students find industry placement in their later years of study.

The School expanded rapidly during his term in office, doubling in student and staff numbers, and appointed many junior academics who, being educated at foreign institutions, had few contacts with Australian industry. Malcolm played a leading role in creating a “dating” service for these young academics to visit and connect with practitioners to identify engineering problems in need of solution. At a time when Government is becoming increasingly focused on seeing research translated into industry practice, these connections are proving pivotal for the continued success and high rankings of the School.

“If any non-staff member can be said to be ‘rusted on’ to the Faculty and the School, it is Malcolm,” says Professor Brian Uy, current Head of School of Civil Engineering. “We owe him a great debt of thanks for his service. But I suspect that, while he is retiring from his formal position, Malcolm will likely continue his service and connections to the University in other ways. We look forward to that."

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