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Engineers Urged to Strengthen Their Focus on Innovation and Technology

Published:Friday | September 25, 2015 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Omar Azan, head of Boss Furniture Company, speaking at the recent Jamaica Institute of Engineers' Engineers Week Conference.

Omar Azan, past president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, has urged members of the engineering sector to strengthen their focus on innovation and technology to mitigate the effects of environmental changes on Jamaica's social and economic development.

Presenting a keynote address on the second day of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers conference held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Azan noted that with the reality of climate change and its implications, members of the profession will have to take a more strategic and holistic approach to managing and developing national infrastructure.

"The current crisis presents opportunities for the engineering sector. It becomes vital that we measure engineering capacity to tackle these challenges and to make the difference. This will require re-engineering the existence of infrastructure, along with the provisions of new infrastructure, which will require tremendous amount of targeted innovations and ingenuity. It requires engineers to analyse problems and to integrate solutions," Azan said.

Citing the importance of proper training to incorporate and expose engineering students to climate change and its impact on their professional work, Azan affirmed that this will enable engineers to pre-empt challenges with resilient and practical solutions.

"What is abundantly clear is that the education of engineers must be constantly reassessed and reinvented to address the major global issues that we face as a world. Engineers of the future must exist to protect and enhance the quality of life while simultaneously facilitating sustainable development with appropriate technology," he said.

"The great age of engineering is now. When we consider the challenges, the engineering community has to now re-evaluate some of the old order of thinking by doing new ones to contribute to the construction of a more sustainable society," he added.

With the consistently growing world population and the increasing demand for energy identified as contributors to climate change, Azan also expressed the need for an institutional framework policy to address energy sustainability.

The three-day conference was held as part of the activities for Engineers' Week, under the theme 'Engineering for Human and Social Development'.