President's Award

The ACE New Zealand President's Award recognises outstanding service or special effort to ACE New Zealand and the engineering and consulting sector. It's chosen by the current ACE New Zealand president. 

Past recipients are leaders of their community and game-changes in our sector. 

Past winners 

2019 winner - Alison Murray of Ministry of Education



Alison has worked in procurement for over 20 years in leadership, operational and consulting roles in the UK and New Zealand. Alison joined the Ministry of Education in 2014 and has been integral in transforming infrastructure procurement, and directing the procurement of major construction projects, transport, school internet provision and schools payroll. In recent years, infrastructure expenditure has doubled and is now approaching $1.3 million annually and 30% of all published government procurement opportunities. Since 2012, Alison has delivered a step-change in procurement capability to support thousands of distributed buyers in schools and the wider public sector, driving best procurement practice, and striving to make the Ministry easy to do business with. Alison is a passionate leader, natural collaborator and does the work of at least two people. She has a humble yet strong, commercial-style which she has used to bring about genuine change in the sector. This has included standardising the Conditions of Contracts for Consultancy Services, to create efficiencies and a better experience for consultants working with Government agencies. Alison also drove the implementation of a standardised process for financial due diligence, the key risk assessment criteria when selecting the main contractor. This is why we recognise her – collaboration and commitment to the industry and encouraging both consultant and client to work together for the good of Aotearoa. 

Past Winners


2016_Presidents_Award_-_Web_Thumbnail.jpg 2017-Presidents-Award---Web-Thumbnail.jpg 2016_Presidents_Award_-_Web_Thumbnail.jpg 2015_Presidents_Award_-_Web_Thumbnail.jpg



2013_Presidents_Award_-_Web_Thumbnail.jpg 2012-Presidents-Award---Web-Thumbnail.jpg Blank_White_Cover.jpg


2018 - Tristan Meo

Tristan Meo holds a double degree in law (Hons) and building science from Victoria University in Wellington and was admitted to the bar in 2002. He worked in private practice as a litigation solicitor in construction and infrastructure at Kensington Swan before taking senior advisory roles in government (Ministry of Fisheries) and industry (Gas Industry Company Limited).  Tristan is currently the New Zealand Legal Manager for Aurecon, working as part of a global legal team in a company with assignments in over 80 countries. Tristan applies his unique combination of skills to the resolution of complex technical and legal issues and over the past 9 years has contributed greatly to ACENZ.  Tristan has provided and continues to provide ACENZ with legal input, including the review of the Conditions of Contract for Consultancy Services (CCCS). More recently he has chaired the newly formed Commercial Advisory Forum, a collection of a number of in house solicitors. This team has already provided much-needed insight in a number of areas.


2017 - Graham Chapman

Graham Chapman is the Market Sector Director of Highway & Bridges for AECOM New Zealand. With a Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering (Honours), Graham has professional registrations as a Chartered Professional Engineer in New Zealand and a Chartered Engineer in the United Kingdom. He is a fellow of Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ) and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK. Graham is also an active member of the Society of Construction Law in NZ. He further volunteered with ACENZ as a Past President, Board Member and continues to contribute to his profession on several volunteer forums and advisory groups within ACENZ. Graham has over 40 years' experience in consulting engineering and specialises in design and project management of transport infrastructure, preparation of professional service agreements and administration of construction contracts. He recently chaired the committee of 25 local and central government department representatives, consultants, professional organisations (IPWEA NZ, Engineering NZ and NZIA to name a few) and insurers reviewing the Conditions of Contract for Consultancy Services (CCCS).


2016 - Andrew Read

Andrew is a chartered professional electrical engineer with a broad experience base, enthusiastic approach and an aptitude for realising the bigger picture. Andrew is a director for Pedersen Read. He enjoys the "people" aspect of engineering and is a prominent contributor in many professional forums and organisations, including being actively involved with ACENZ as a Past President, INNOVATE Judge (and past Convenor), and a FIDIC New Zealand representative. Andrew lives in Christchurch with his wife and two children. He is a keen fly fisherman and enjoys snow skiing, camping, cycling, and the outdoors in general. He is very family and community-oriented, and has an active involvement in the interests of his children through sports coaching, Scouts, and Guides, and as a PTA member.


2015 - Hon Dr Nick Smith MP

Nick Smith was born and brought up in North Canterbury in a bridge construction industry family. He subsequently completed a first-class honours degree in civil engineering and a PhD in landslides at Canterbury University. Hon Dr Nick Smith has held 11 ministerial portfolios in the Bolger, Shipley, and Key cabinets. His portfolios have included education, housing, immigration, corrections, social welfare, treaty negotiations, conservation, environment, ACC, climate change, and local government. He currently holds the building and construction and environmental portfolios. A member of the National Party, the Minister has played a significant role in, which includes the creation of the Kahurangi and Rakiura National Parks, a number of marine reserves, the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme, and the establishment of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority as well as the Environment Protection Authority. Read more about the Hon Dr Nick Smith here.


2014 - Dick Kell

Dick began his engineering journey at Sydney University graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (BE), Civil with honours II. Since then, Dick has spent his working life as a consulting structural and civil engineer and project manager in infrastructure engineering. He is a former Managing Director of Sydney based consulting engineers McMilan Briton and Kell. Then serving as Chairman of major Australian and international company, Cardno, which has over 8,000+ staff and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was instrumental in growing the company from a small private firm to an international company with a market capitalisation of $55 million. Dick has since formally resigned from Cardno as Chairman but remains a consultant to Cardno Group and a Director of Cardno International. In 2003, Dick was elected President to the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC, the global body of consulting engineers). He continues to be active with FIDIC and Consult Australia. Aside from a life in engineering, he is an avid supporter of Australia's National Rugby Union, the Qantas Wallabies.


2013 - Colin Crampton

Colin is a civil engineer with some 25+ years experience in the transport sector. He is interested in the practice of general management and the leadership of people when allowed, and likes to maintain currency around procurement practice. Colin is further involved in the engineering industry, having served on the Board for the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT). He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering, Civil from the University of Canterbury and Deakin University with a Diploma of Business Administration. In his free time, Colin enjoys yoga, kayaking, and other challenge sports. He has been involved and completed the Speights Coast to Coast multisport race for many years. He is supported by his family, a daughter who is a promising netball player, young son and wife. At the time of the award, Colin was a Group Manager for the NZ Transport Agency, and now serves as Chief Executive at Wellington Water.


2012 - Allan Leahy

Allan graduated from Auckland University with a BE in Civil Engineering. He started his career at Connell Wagner before moving on to Harrison Grierson, leading their water resources management team. Allan spent 15 years at Harrison Grierson (seven years as a Director) before moving to Stantec (then MWH) as the National Technical Lead for Stormwater. Allan is widely regarded for his stormwater expertise, recently being bestowed the 2017 Stormwater Professional of the Year. He is a founding member of the Management Committee of the Stormwater Special Interest Group of Water NZ and has served as past Convenor of Awards for the ACENZ INNOVATE Awards of Excellence, as well as ACENZ Board Member and Area Representative. Allan lives in Auckland with his family (two boys and wife Shannon) and continues to volunteer for the industry.