FIDIC honours Dick Kell with prestigious Prangey Award

16 Sep 2021

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Former chairman of Cardno Group and past president (2003-05) of FIDIC, Dick Kell has this week been awarded the prestigious Louis Prangey Award, the highest recognition for outstanding service to FIDIC and the global industry.

Named after FIDIC’s founding president, Louis Prangey, the award is only given to those who have given significant service to FIDIC and the profession of consulting engineering. Recipients of the award are considered to be a role model for the consulting engineering industry.

Kell’s career in the industry has been truly outstanding and the past presidents of FIDIC, who make the award, were unanimous in their decision to give him the organisation’s highest honour. Receiving the award, during FIDIC’s annual global infrastructure conference on 14 September 2021, Kell said that he was greatly honoured and humbled to be given such a prestigious award, adding that it was a “totally unexpected honour” for which he was truly grateful.

Civil engineer Kell graduated from the University of Sydney, Australia in 1959. He joined Sydney-based consulting civil engineers McMillan & Britton shortly thereafter and began a lifelong career in the engineering, construction and infrastructure industry. His firm's involvement in the Sarawak (Malaysia) Bridges Project commencing in 1964 launched his long career on projects outside Australia, principally in the Asia/Pacific Region, one of the first Australian engineers to do so.

Kell became managing director of McMillan Britton & Kell Pty Ltd in 1975 as the firm grew in numbers and scope of services. MBK merged with the Queensland firm Cardno & Davies in 1999 and Kell became chairman of Cardno Group and helped to grow the combined firm while he continued managing major engineering projects. Cardno now has more than 8,000 staff in offices throughout Australia and worldwide. Kell was chairman throughout Cardno's successful IPO listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2004.

Kell has spent his working life as an engineer, project manager and director on infrastructure and engineering projects, specialising in commercial and public buildings, site developments, bridge, road, marine, and industrial facilities. In his FIDIC roles, he travelled extensively to meet with consulting engineers throughout the world, convened numerous FIDIC tak groups and committees and was influential in steering FIDIC in many new and innovative directions. Amongst many achievements, he helped FIDIC build strong relationships with Asian countries, including China and expanded the organisation’s training programmes and supported the development of its strategic plans.

Kell also served as president of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Australia (1994-5) and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1998 for services to Australia in Engineering, particularly bridge engineering and international affairs. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia.

Below, a number of FIDIC past presidents comment on their decision to award Dick Kell with the Louis Prangey Award:

Eigil Steen Pedersen (2001-2003): “Dick has shown a dedicated contribution to the development of FIDIC as the global representative of our profession with a profound respect for the diversity of the membership, small or large, developed or less developed economies. His own professional history from work in East Asia has been an invaluable support to the development of FIDIC's members in that region and at the same time he has also managed to be a key player in developing his own firm and his national association.”

Gregs Thomopulos (2009-2011): “I was elected to the FIDIC executive committee the same year that Dick became president of FIDIC and served with him for the two years of his presidency. I appreciated Dick’s dedication to FIDIC which he promoted per excellence. His good humour is unparalleled and over the years I considered him to be a friend whom I was honoured to be associated with.”

Jorge Diaz Padilla (2005-2007): “We worked as a team for several years during which it always amazed me (and continues amazing me) his energy and selfless commitment to FIDIC. After his presidency, he continues waving the FIDIC flag with passion.”

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