Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh Hosting Graduate Engineers Through Sustainable Leadership Initiative

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh announced that it is hosting graduate engineers from Northern Ireland who will be attached to local companies and organizations developing and deploying sustainable technologies around energy efficiency, environmental conservation, and other industries.

Participants will spend up to one year with companies while participating in the Northern Ireland – Pittsburgh Sustainable Leadership Program, an initiative conceived by administrators at Northern Ireland’s South West College, Dungannon.

The 2009 G20 Summit underscored Pittsburgh’s well-established tradition of technological innovation and ecological stewardship, solidifying the region’s role as a pioneer of sustainable technologies.

For example, Epiphany Solar Water Systems, a New Castle-based organization that attracted global interest after using the G20 to unveil a groundbreaking new design—a system that completely purifies any water source using only solar power—engaged Michael Mageean, an engineering graduate from Northern Ireland, to help tackle one of the world’s most pervasive causes of sickness and death.

The Northern Ireland government and academic leaders, aware of the rich and diverse sustainable technology sector of Pittsburgh, have asked the Ireland Institute to identify and solicit local companies, public agencies and non-profit organizations to offer internships to qualified graduates. Internships have been established in various companies and organizations, including Chester Engineers, E-Cap Network, ALCOSAN, and Venture Engineering.

To date, 10 candidates have landed internships in Pittsburgh. They are, by name, hometown, county and degree(s) earned:

Brownlie, Timothy - Belfast, Antrim - BA (Hons) Architecture
Mackle, Sarah - Craigavon, Armagh - BSc Engineering
Mageean, Michael - Portaferry, Down - BSc (Hons) Engineering
McAteer, Michelle - Belfast, Co. Antrim - MSc Environment/Resource Mgmt.
BSc Environmental Science
McMahon, Debra - Lurgan, Co. Armagh - MSc Chemical Engineering
O’Reilly, Michael - Belfast, Down - MSc Environmental Engineering, BSc (Hons) Geology
Quinn, Paul Newry, Down MSc Spatial Regeneration, BSc Environmental Planning
Spence, Mark - Ballyclare, Antrim - BSc Construction Engineering
Towers, Ross - Belfast, Down - BSc Environmental Mgmt.
Wilson, Stephen - Belfast, Antrim - Master’s Business Administration (MBA)

Two more are expected in the next few weeks.

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh will provide orientation, soft-landing, a series of educational, social, and recreational activities, networking events, and other support throughout the program.

The Institute will also encourage participating companies and others seeking access to European markets to consider Northern Ireland in their strategic plans. Authorities there offer excellent packages for direct investment and partnership.

A Northern Ireland Business Delegation to Pittsburgh is being planned for this Fall, led by government ministers, and including college representatives and sustainable technology companies. The delegation will monitor the progress of the graduates on the program; engage with Pittsburgh-area companies and authorities on mutual business, trade and investment opportunities; and discuss reciprocal internship programming for Pittsburgh-area university students and graduates in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland-Pittsburgh Sustainable Leadership Program encourages Northern Ireland graduates to work on some of the most critical ideas of the twenty-first century: renewable energy; the world’s water supply; energy efficiency; “green” building; and other sustainability issues. Seeking to build capacity around sustainable technology industries, Northern Ireland leaders intend to create a cluster of high-performance companies, research institutions and expertise in these areas.

Northern Ireland has emerged from one of the most intractable conflicts of the last century. After thirty years of the dirty sectarian war, known as “the Troubles,” leaders there took a brave step towards peace and reconciliation in 1998 by signing on to a US-brokered agreement, effectively ending military operations there. Combatants on both sides then began to decommission their arsenals, bringing a new way of life and new opportunities to advance civil society and international partnership.

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh promotes economic development throughout all of Ireland, and advocates mutual understanding between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, according to James Lamb, President of the Ireland Institute.

"The Institute seeks to foster good relationships between the Pittsburgh region and Ireland, North and South," Lamb said. "Organizations, on both sides of the Atlantic, have recognized the positive outcomes of our programs, and are working together, with the Institute, to bring international solutions to international problems."

Companies and other organizations interested in learning more about opportunities for business in Ireland, North and South, are encouraged to call Jim Lamb at the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh (412) 394-3900. For more information, go to www.iiofpitt.org.

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