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Veteran Canadian consulting engineer John Boyd, a senior principal in Mississauga-headquartered Golder Associates, has been elected president of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).
John Boyd
John Boyd

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Boyd takes on task as leader of international association

Veteran Canadian consulting engineer John Boyd, a senior principal in Mississauga-headquartered Golder Associates, has been elected president of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).

A past chair of the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies, Boyd took over the FIDIC reins at the federation’s recent annual conference in Singapore.

The Geneva-based organization represents 74 associations from 79 countries around the world.

Boyd will focus his efforts on three main priorities: expanding membership; increasing the number of tools in the quality-based-selection (QBS) arsenal; and establishing a “serious” partnership with funding agencies in the fight against corruption.

“In many countries, corruption is part of the (procurement) system,” he said.

“The only way to make progress in this environment is to have a serious partnership between the funding institutions, both public and private, and the industry.

“Perhaps it is time that we were less subtle and more public in our messages about this issue.”

Boyd, who has 32 years of experience in the consulting engineering business under his belt, also is keen on promoting QBS during his two-year term as president.

Consultant selection is an issue in Canadian engineering circles as well.

“Our message is simple,” he said. “Select your consultant on the basis of quality and you can expect a quality product.

“Select on price and you can expect a cheap product which may or may not have the requisite quality.”

Boyd said procurement agencies around the world increasingly are incapable of selecting consultants on the basis of quality “because they have dropped their experienced staff in response to budget limitations. They no longer understand quality issues.

“They also see price negotiation as a confrontational process that hands a blank cheque to our industry.

“We need to assemble some tools and process descriptions that help procurement groups do the job they should be doing and then help train them to use these tools and approaches to pick consultants on the right basis.

“We also need the members of our industry to refuse to work for those who will not select on the right basis.”

Boyd, who has been a driving force on the international scene in efforts to promote sustainable development, is anxious to increase membership in FIDIC as well as the number of countries represented.

“We would like to represent 100 countries by the time FIDIC is 100 years old in six years.”

FIDIC is the voice of private sector consulting engineering firms who provide design and intellectual services for the built and natural environments.

Its 2008 conference will be held in Quebec City.

by Patricia Williams

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