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ICE Republic of Ireland celebrates civil engineer who's lent a hand to the profession

16 May 2023

Michael Hand took home the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award for decades of contributions to Irish civil engineering.

ICE Republic of Ireland celebrates civil engineer who's lent a hand to the profession
L-R: Award winner Michael Hand and Keith Elliott, chair of ICE Republic of Ireland Local Association.

ICE Republic of Ireland (RoI) marked almost 50 years’ worth of contributions to Irish civil engineering with the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award.

This year’s winner, Michael Hand, former CEO of Grangegorman Development Agency, was recognised for his leadership and strategic planning abilities.

Each year, this award recognises a civil engineer who’s made a significant contribution to the profession in Ireland.

Candidates for the award are nominated by previous recipients of the award, by the ICE RoI Committee and by ICE members in the RoI.

The recipient of the award is then decided by vote of the previous recipients.

Hand was presented the award at the annual dinner of the ICE RoI Local Association.

About Michael Hand

Michael Hand is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager and a Chartered Director.

He’s also a Fellow of the ICE, Engineers Ireland, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, and the Irish Academy of Engineering.

In a career spanning almost fifty years, he's left a mark on Ireland’s infrastructure.

He holds qualifications in civil engineering and the environment, with a master’s degree in business administration.

In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Dublin Institute of Technology (now Technical University Dublin) in recognition of his contribution to engineering in Ireland.

He’s recognised by all who have worked with him as a professional of the highest integrity.

Education and professional career

Graduating in 1976 with an honours degree in Civil Engineering from University College Galway (now NUIG), Hand began his career as an assistant engineer with Laois County Council, before joining consultants PH McCarthy in 1978.

Since then, he has gained over 45 years’ experience working with multidisciplinary technical teams in the planning and design of critical civil engineering infrastructure throughout Ireland.

In particular, he has had key leadership roles, as project manager and project director, in the delivery of several major national infrastructure projects, from concept to completion.

In-depth understanding of infrastructure planning

He’s a recognised business leader with a national profile and reputation for public and private sector project delivery, often in very challenging environments.

As such, he has demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of infrastructure planning and construction, together with associated stakeholder management.

He has worked with a variety of statutory planning models including Part 8, Strategic Development Zone Planning Scheme and Strategic Infrastructure Development routes.

He’s demonstrated particular expertise in negotiating and managing joint venture agreements with technical service providers and contractors.

He’s worked successfully with a variety of infrastructure procurement models including design build, design build operate, and public private partnerships.

He has extensive knowledge of public procurement, both as a service provider and as a client.


He’s an experienced director, having held various board positions since the 1990s.

He’s acted as director and chairman of PH McCarthy Consulting Engineers Ltd and McCarthy Hyder Consultants Ltd.

He’s also acted as a director of White Young Green Ireland Ltd, part of White Young Green Group plc, and as a director of Grangegorman Development Agency, a state entity.

He’s also served at board level in the voluntary community sector, most notably as director of Rathfarnham & District/Heritage Credit Union, trading in the regulated financial services industry.

Strategic planner

He has particular expertise in strategic planning and driving strategic change, obtained from leadership positions in public, private and quoted companies, and in the voluntary sector.

He acted as CEO of Grangegorman Development Agency from 2010 to 2016.

He successfully led the organisation through a period of economic turbulence.

Meanwhile, he advanced the Grangegorman urban re-development project through stakeholder engagement, planning, and funding challenges according to the strategic plan.

Today, the project is recognised as a flagship national project and a symbol of Ireland’s economic recovery.

A prominent representative

Throughout his career, Michael has been prominent in the various engineering and environmental professional bodies as a committee worker or presenter of technical lectures.

He’s represented the organisations where he worked and made numerous presentations to public meetings, consultations, and public inquiries.

He’s also given sworn evidence in the courts and to An Bord Pleanála hearings.

He’s been interviewed on radio, TV and in the print media.

Diverse expertise

As a Chartered Director, via the Institute of Directors in Ireland, he’s attained the highest independent standard for Irish company directors.

Accordingly, he’s been appointed an independent non-executive director (INED) of Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd, EirGrid plc, Dublin Port Company and JB Barry Consulting Engineers.

As well as his extensive civil engineering infrastructure experience, he brings expertise in corporate governance, enterprise risk management and strategic direction to these boards.

He’s made a significant contribution to the advancement of the profession of civil engineering to date and continues to do so through his high profile INED positions.


As well as his work with Rathfarnham Credit Union, he chaired the Development Committee of the Parish of the Divine Word, Rathfarnham for 17 years.

He also played a leading role in the operation and development of Ballinteer St. Johns GAA Club for 21 years and was chairperson of Edmondstown Golf Club for three years from 2018.

  • Keith Elliott, Republic of Ireland chair at ICE