Pat's award is recognition of outstanding service to industry in the field of power engineering education.
Pat is presently the Chair of Electric Power Engineering at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Canterbury. He received his Bachelor of Engineering with 1st class honours in 1972 and completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1977. Prof. Bodger commenced his career in the electricity industry in 1977 as an Assistant Engineer and commenced his academic contribution as a lecturer of Electrical Engineering in 1982 at the University of Canterbury
For 32 years, Prof Pat Bodger has been teaching electrical engineering to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Canterbury. Pat has a unique ability to inspire students in a way that enables them to reach their potential and achieve their academic goals and inspire them to a career that positively contributes to a wider society and community.
Prof Bodger has inspired thousands of undergraduate and graduate students. Sitting in this room tonight are more than a few Board tables in the power engineering community are engineering graduates who have had the opportunity and privilege to learn from Pat.
Pat has led many research and innovation projects over the past thirty years. He is most recognized for his Transflux Fluid Heater work and has received awards including the ECNZ Rutherford Invention Awards, Transflux Fluid Heater in 1992; the ECNZ Rutherford Best Idea Award and the Royal Easter Show, Inventor's Award, for the Watcon Wateriser. His more recent innovative research and development around Partial Core Transformer technology is now in high demand.
Pat's humanitarian work in the Pacific Islands and Nepal is well known. He had an instrumental role in establishing and supporting Engineers Without Borders New Zealand (EWBNZ), an engineering volunteer organization that works in the Pacific Islands to provide appropriate technological solutions and reduce poverty. His ability to connect and inspire students has meant the organization has quickly grown and is now working with communities in several Pacific Island countries to solve water, energy and sanitation issues.
As early as 2000 Pat saw a perfect storm developing within the industry which could significantly challenge its future. Student numbers studying electric power engineering was at an all-time low, the age profile of industry show a large number of retirements happening in the next 15 years and industry career information to encourage future recruitment of young graduates was almost non-existent. Pats response was typical he rounded up some of his old students , gave them a lecture on what the problems where and what the best option was going forward , let them know they needed to find some money and in 2002 founded the Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre) at the University of Canterbury. For the last decade this has been the vehicle to inspire, encourage young students to take up electrical engineering courses and subsequently commence a career in electric power engineering. This was achieved through University-Industry collaboration, an extensive number of student based activities and scholarship programs which are now going to be expanded into secondary schools. This was a brand new model, that had never been tested anywhere in the world and came without any guarantees.
The model worked and is now being used in other universities and disciplines around the world. The result for industry has been a good number of high quality and well educated graduates that are now contributing to the New Zealand electricity industry.
I have had the pleasure of working with Pat for more than two decades and like others recognize his tireless dedication to his vision and the development of his students, and contribution to the electricity industry. His dedication and passion to enable students has driven him to work tirelessly over the past three decades. He has overcome resistance from others, largely by proving his capability and gaining unprecedented support from industry and academic colleagues to implement his ideas.