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Engineers: Connecting communities, supporting development and driving economic growth

John Power, President of Engineers Ireland, celebrates the role that Ireland’s engineers play in transforming communities

Designing climate-resilient buildings, regenerating urban areas and getting people and goods moving more sustainably are only three of the very complex problems for which engineers, all over the world, deliver solutions for the good of their communities and the environment.

As the professional membership body for qualified engineers, Engineers Ireland recognises the innovative solutions delivered by Ireland’s engineers through initiatives such as our Engineering Excellence Digital Series, held in association with ESB.

In addition to highlighting the engineering skill required to deliver projects in the fields of innovation, sustainability, buildings and structures, and infrastructure, this five-part online video series shines a light on how engineers play an integral role in connecting communities, supporting development and driving economic growth. The series also profiles the engineers behind these projects. We see their determination and how their work benefits communities.

Engineer of the Year

In this year’s recently-launched video series, we are delighted to celebrate the achievements of Mary Hurley, a major linear infrastructure project manager with engineering consultancy firm Arup. Mary has been awarded the accolade of Engineer of the Year for 2022 by Engineers Ireland.


The Cork native and a University College Cork (UCC) Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate, was awarded the title in recognition of her contribution to the engineering profession and her work to support communities across Ireland.

Many towns and villages on our island experience some adverse social, economic and environmental impacts due to a lack of appropriate infrastructure. In response, Mary has sought to deliver innovative and community-focused solutions in the area of transport infrastructure, to improve connectivity and support regional growth.

Mary views her role as an opportunity to create sustainable solutions for communities throughout the country. In her 20-year career, she has challenged preconceived ideas by developing innovative approaches to transport projects by providing human-centred, sustainable solutions. She is passionate about placemaking – i.e. a rounded approach to planning, design and management of public spaces - and is dedicated to developing transport solutions which free up public space and give towns back to their people.

Since 2020, Mary has worked as a project manager on the pre-planning phases of the N24 Cahir to Limerick Junction Project. This project will provide a reliable, sustainable transport solution and improve connectivity between Limerick and Waterford, also encouraging local, regional, national and international development.

Engineering the future

Mary’s work and achievements to date are also a testament to how engineers can drive positive change.

Engineers have the power to make an impact on the way we live and how we engage in society, whether connecting communities, responding to global issues such as climate change or creating new technological advancements. Engineers make a real and tangible difference in the world and positively enrich the lives of millions of people.

In addition to being drivers of change through transformative engineering projects in communities, at Engineers Ireland we also encourage our member-engineers to become agents of change in our classrooms by explaining what engineering is all about, the many different disciplines of engineering, the excitement and variety of roles engineering offers and encouraging students to consider a career in engineering when it comes to their time to decide what they might like to do when they leave school.

In order to continually drive change, innovate and create sustainable solutions, we must continue to support and encourage our future talent pipeline. As a small island nation and knowledge economy we have a reliance on the quality and the quantity of our STEM graduates.

Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme – funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; industry leaders Arup; the Environmental Protection Agency; ESB; Intel; and Transport Infrastructure Ireland - is the only national STEM outreach programme with a focus on engineering. Through participation in STEPS, whether volunteering in classrooms during the STEPS Young Engineers Award or hosting Transition Year students as part of the STEPS Engineering Your Future programme, we encourage engineers and the wider community to motivate future generations and encourage them to explore the limitless opportunities a career in the profession of engineering offers.

STEPS Engineers Week

STEPS Engineers Week is now on the horizon and will take place from March 4th to 10th 2023. This annual showcase of the engineering profession, encourages young people, their teachers, and parents to explore the creative and exciting world of engineering and the diverse opportunities available as a career choice. We encourage engineers in Ireland to engage with young people in schools in their locality during our special STEPS Engineers Week next March. By highlighting the great work you are doing locally as an engineer, you can create awareness of the role of engineering in your community – and how you are making a difference - just like Mary Hurley and the other fantastic engineers who feature in our Engineering Excellence Digital Series.

For more information on STEPS Engineers Week and how you can get involved, visit