After an illustrious career spanning some 17 years at the helm of Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), Graham Pirie is retiring at the end of June 2013.
He has overseen many initiatives which have benefitted the industry tremendously, including the transformation strategy for the consulting engineering sector culminating in the establishment of the Construction Industry Transformation Charter. The best Practice Guideline for Procurement of Consulting Engineering Services in the Public Sector was produced under his watch as was the Quality Management initiative culminating in ISO 9001:2008 accreditation for the CESA Directive and became a prerequisite for CESA membership. Adherence to the CESA Business Integrity Management System for members became another requirement for membership thus assuring clients that members provide a quality assured service with integrity taken as a given.
He made it a priority for CESA and its members to participate actively in the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) as well as its regional grouping, the Group of African Consulting Engineers (GAMA).
CESA past President Felix Fongoqa says Pirie has worked tirelessly to ensure that the sector works in a fair and reasonable environment, in which the industry can continue to grow, be profitable and sustainable.
“He has ensured that while we collaborate on many issues, we do not collude, nor even smell of it. Always the gentleman, waxing lyrical to ensure that his views are heard and that the best interests of our members are served. I have never heard him raising his voice, I know him to be persuasive, patient and logical, always seeking to transform one’s thinking into seeing the bigger picture,” proclaims Fongoqa.
Even after raising the profile of CESA and receiving many accolades, especially raising pertinent issues that bedevil the industry, Pirie is modest in his response about all that he has achieved, “It is not about me, I am really a facilitator and it is about the organisation. It is amazing how quickly retirement happens, but I am not anticipating mine with trepidation. I am inspired to enter it, but definitely need to restore a balance and change gears, but remain active in the industry. It has been a fantastic journey and experience. ”
He states that it is a privilege for him to have served such an inspiring organisation like CESA that is apolitical and does what is right and with integrity.
He stresses the importance of a Non Profit Organisation like CESA in a mature democracy providing stability in a somewhat unstable environment.
The construction industry in general and the consulting engineering sector in particular is grateful to Pirie for giving up other opportunities that were open to him as a senior engineer, and choosing to serve their interests. He has been at the forefront of raising the profile of consulting engineering and ensuring that we are better understood by society in general and the public sector clients in particular.
As a fitting tribute to his service to the profession and the industry, he was recently elected to the prestigious South African Academy of Engineers (SAAE).