Honorary Doctor of Engineering to Bill Mansell

26 May 2006

Today was graduation day for our most recent set of civil engineering students. As part of the graduation ceremony, Bill Mansell was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa).

The following citation was read to the audience:

Chancellor, I have the honour to present Mr William Thomas Mansell for the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Engineering (honoris causa).

Bill Mansell was born in Sydney, in 1936, while Australia was in the grip of the Great Depression. His secondary schooling was at Sydney Technical High School.

After leaving school, Bill commenced work as a cadet draughtsman in the construction industry and for the next 13 years undertook various night courses at Sydney Technical College, the University of NSW and the University of Sydney covering Building, Management and Acoustics.

Bill married his wife Gail in 1959, and by 1963 was the father of two boys. So the night courses he undertook and the study involved in them occurred at a time when his personal life was very demanding.

In 1957, seeking to expand his horizons, he took up a position in technical sales with a company which was a leader in the commercial roofing industry. It was at this time that his outstanding ability to provide innovative solutions to complex and difficult problems began to show itself. In 1964, more than 40 years ago, he joined the Group he is with today, initially as Manager of a new company whose principal activity was to provide solutions for unusual construction problems.

In particular, he became recognised as an expert in Australia in composite roof and ceiling systems, working with Australia's leading architects on such iconic buildings as

The Sydney Entertainment Centre
The Sydney Football Stadium
The National Tennis Stadium, Melbourne
The National Maritime Museum, Sydney
The Aquatic Centre, Olympics 2000

There were numerous other projects, and Bill's work was not confined to composite roof construction. He was responsible for such diverse projects as the Anechoic Chambers at the National Acoustic Laboratories, Chatswood, then the most advanced facility of its type in the world, and Radio Frequency Screening installations for such clients as the CSIRO, the Australian Defence Forces and ASIO - but I can't give much detail about the latter!

The Universities of Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne and the National University, Canberra, all have several buildings incorporating Bill's designs and where he was responsible for construction management of specialised work. The Opera House, NSW State Parliament House, The National Library, Canberra, Airports at Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and many hospitals, schools and churches have benefited from Bill's expertise.

In 1987, Bill took his company to its first overseas contract - The Singapore Indoor Sports Stadium. This large stainless steel roofing contract, featuring complex geometry, was won against stiff overseas competition, but was awarded on the basis of superior technology - not price. The success of the project led to a proliferation of major contracts overseas, particularly in South East Asia and, more recently, the Middle East.

The Chadwick Technology Group, of which Bill has been Managing Director now for more than 30 years, has subsidiaries in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand and an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Very large composite roofing and ceiling contracts have been undertaken in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Other unusual projects include the Jin Mao building Shanghai, the Australian Pavilion in Venice, Italy, and the Suwon Football Stadium at Seoul. Current projects include separate contracts for the composite roof and ceilings to Terminal 3 at the Dubai Airport and a consulting assignment for the Khalsa Heritage Project in the Punjab, India.

As design team leader for his group of companies, Bill Mansell has been directly responsible for the group winning numerous Australian and International awards for Excellence in Engineering and Innovation and several awards for Export success.

Bill's distinguished creative achievement and his outstanding contribution to the construction industry are well recognised by the world's leading Architects, Engineers and Builders.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting to you for admission to the degree of Doctor of Engineering (honoris causa) a man who is undoubtedly one of world's leading practitioners in his field, Mr William Mansell.

Bill Mansell receives his DEng from the Chancellor
Bill Mansell receives his DEng from the Chancellor