JIE hosts inspiring panel discussion on leadership, sustainability, technological advancement


From left: Oneil Josephs, president, Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE); Richard Pandohie, managing director & CEO of Seprod; Aisha Campbell, CEO, Proven Properties; and Douglas Orane, former managing director of GraceKennedy, following the panel discussion.

THE Jamaica Institute of Engineers (JIE) recently held a highly engaging panel discussion focused on leadership and influence, preserving a legacy, embracing sustainability, and driving technology. The event, titled ‘Beyond the Numbers’, was
moderated by JIE President Oneil Josephs, featured distinguished panellists including Douglas Orane, former managing director of GraceKennedy; Aisha Campbell, CEO of Proven Properties, and Richard Pandohie, managing director and CEO of Seprod.

The panellists shared their diverse background stories, emphasising a shared belief in the integral role of engineers in fostering critical thinking — a skill essential for shaping the future of Jamaica and the broader global society. Their insights underscored the indispensable skillsets that engineers bring to various sectors, highlighting the importance of nurturing these capabilities within the Jamaican workforce.

One of the key discussions revolved around the now withdrawn consideration by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to drop subjects crucial to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) development. The panellists collectively expressed their concern, viewing this as a retrogressive step that could hinder the advancement of essential skills among students and the Caribbean society by extension.

“Engineers are the backbone of innovation and development,” stated Josephs. “Our role in shaping a sustainable and technologically advanced society cannot be overstated. We must ensure that our education system supports this by prioritising STEM subjects and encouraging the next generation to follow this vital career path.”

The discussion also touched on the broader implications of sustainability and technological innovation in engineering. Campbell highlighted the importance of sustainable practices in property development, declaring high school as the platform from which engineers are born.

“Development needs to start at the base. We need to start incentivisation and the change of mindset from the secondary school level. Make the career attractive to Gen Z and Gen Alpha, who are thinking about quick financial gains. It’s about how we can reshape the perception of the profession,” she said.

Pandohie expressed his passion for the field, offering advice that has served him throughout his career. He stressed the importance of adding value over seeking short-term gains without making an impact. He described the crucial role of engineering in driving efficiency and growth in the manufacturing sector and the country’s need for expansion.

“Engineering should be a profession that is sought after. People should aspire to be engineers; we should drive the middle class of this country! To get exposure for our people, we need to also look outside of the local pool. Jamaica does not have a large manufacturing base,” he said.

For his part, Orane reflected on his extensive career, noting the critical thinking and problem-solving skills he developed as an engineer, which were instrumental in his leadership roles. He urged current and future engineers to continue honing these skills to contribute meaningfully to Jamaica’s development and to employ a positive, solution-seeking attitude in all endeavours.

“There is a generation of people who tend to think, ‘oh, just give me the answer’, but there are as many solutions to one problem as there are people,“ he said.

Quoting a teacher as a student himself learning the trade, he reiterated, “engineering teaches you how to think, because once you can think you can solve any problem”.

The JIE advocates for the engineering profession and supporting initiatives that enhance STEM education and professional development. This panel discussion was part of a broader effort to engage stakeholders across various sectors in meaningful dialogue about the future of engineering in Jamaica.


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