Rocket Lab’s Matchett betters strong Young Engineer competition

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 The 2017 Young Engineer of the Year is Rocket Lab’s Lachlan Matchett, announced at the IPENZ Fellows’ and Achievers’ Awards in Wellington recently.


The 2017 Young Engineer of the Year is Rocket Lab’s Lachlan Matchett, announced at the IPENZ Fellows’ and Achievers’ Awards in Wellington recently.

Lachlan (26) has led a large team of engineers to design and deliver Rocket Lab’s innovative Rutherford Engine.

Lachlan is vice president of propulsion at Rocket Lab and has led this project from day one.

He describes it as a “state of the art” liquid oxygen and kerosene pump fed rocket engine, developed from scratch. It has a higher thrust-to-weight ratio than the main engines in the space shuttle.

As a graduate, Lachlan was one of Rocket Lab’s first employees but now manages a team of nearly 30 people.

Rocket Lab founder and ceo Peter Beck describes him as a “phenomenal engineer and leader”.

The IPENZ Young Engineer of the Year award  recognises a young engineer who has demonstrated excellence in their career, leadership qualities and contribution to their community.

The other two finalists for Young Engineer of the Year were Virginie Lacrosse of Tonkin + Taylor, who has been at the forefront of liquefaction work in Christchurch, and Oliver Whalley, who has been working on sustainable transport in the Pacific for the World Bank.

Other awards announced included the William Pickering Award for Engineering Leadership, which went to Keith Turner for his outstanding career in the electricity industry, spanning technical, management and governance excellence.

Sjoerd van Ballegooy of Tonkin +Taylor won the Freysinnet supreme technical award for building and construction, in recognition of his ground-breaking work on the effects of liquefaction after the Canterbury earthquakes.

The Angus supreme technical award for water, waste and amenities went to Rex Corlett of Opus for his work on effluent pond design and construction.

Engineer and University of Auckland educator Colin Nicholas won the Turner Award, which recognises extraordinary commitment to the engineering profession and to the community.

Jack Robinson became the first software engineering student to win the Ray Meyer undergraduate award, thanks to his work on a web-based traffic management system. Jack has completed his studies at Victoria University of Wellington and is now working as a graduate developer for Xero.

The IPENZ President’s awards were also announced. The Fulton-Downer Gold Medal, which recognises engineers’ service to the profession and the public, was awarded to Ian Fraser for his leadership, governance contributions and support of young engineers. The Fulton-Downer Silver Medal went to Dipal Raniga for her dedication to promoting IPENZ among students and graduates. And the McLean Citation went to Tina Hall-Turner for commitment and service to IPENZ, over a wide range of its boards and groups, throughout her professional career.

IPENZ named the following new Distinguished Fellows: Bryan Leyland, Murray Milner and Peter McCombs.

These engineers were named as new Fellows: Paul Campbell, Derek Chisholm, Glen Cornelius, Joe Edwards, Tim Fisher, Gordon Hughes, Steve Jay, Charlie Price, Bill Paterson, Richard Snow and Tania Williams.

Rocket Lab's Peter Beck puts Lachlan in the "phenomenal engineer" category

Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck puts Lachlan in the “phenomenal engineer” category

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