Usher heads into new academic role

AFTER 13 years as director of the WA Division of Engineers Australia, Richard Usher is moving into academia at Curtin University.

Mr Usher will be taking up the position of First Year Engineering Director in the Faculty of Engineering and Computing.

He will be responsible for introducing a common first year program for Curtin’s 480 engineering students.

The move to a standard first year program reflects an international trend and has already been implemented at the University of Western Australia, which has 490 students in its engineering faculty.

It gives students a broader education and allows them to delay their choice of engineering specialisation until they have a better understanding of the profession.

Looking back on his time at Engineers Australia, Mr Usher said the renovation and upgrade of its West Perth headquarters reflected wider changes to the organisation.

“It was a sleepy, backward looking organisation when I joined, with not a computer in sight,” he said.

Mr Usher said recruitment and retention of members, especially younger engineers, had been a major focus.

Membership of Engineers Australia in WA doubled during Mr Usher’s time as State director and now totals about 8,100.

Another highlight was the national engineering forum in 1997, which attracted delegates from 17 countries.

“A lot of business opportunities were created out of that event,” Mr Usher said.

He will commence his new position on October 27.

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