Damien Kenny: Finding Neat Engineering Solutions to Complex Problems is the Essence of our Work
Head of Healthcare, WSP in Asia Pacific
What do you think is the next big thing in healthcare and how can engineering help this?
The rapid advance of technology and how we communicate is having a huge impact on healthcare design and the point at which we are becoming involved in projects. More and more, we are seeing that clients want us involved at the very early stages of the design process to help them understand what ICT can bring to their projects in terms of efficiencies and cost savings.
What have been some of your most memorable projects and why?
The most memorable one was working on the central energy strategy for the $2B Northern Beaches Campus Project as it was such a large scale project and the challenge was to look at how a health campus could develop over the 20 years and what infrastructure would be needed to allow it to grow and become a model of sustainability. Unfortunately, the government chose to pursue a different procurement path, but much of the analysis and studies proved invaluable for me in later projects.
Another very interesting project for me was the design of a hospital in the remote Bega region of New South Wales. Because the area had no gas, we incorporated an 800kW geothermal array as the primary source of heating and cooling coupled with a high performing façade.
What’s the favourite part of your role/working in healthcare?
The people; working with people and bringing them on the voyage. My father used to say that if you can explain something complex to a 5-year-old, then you know your subject. This really has been one of the guiding principles in my career – breaking down complex technical issues into easier tasks and helping people understand what we are doing and why.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Hang out with my kids!
If you had a super power what would it be?
It would be time travel!
Damien thrives on challenging projects that call on his strong analytical skills. An engineer with a flair for design, Damien worked across a range of sectors, from high-rise office blocks in the Middle East to industrial warehouses in Ireland, before developing expertise in the health sector.
A member of WSP for almost a decade, Damien started his career with the group in London and joined the Australia based team in 2012. He enjoys the early masterplanning stages of hospital design, but it is the ‘human side’ of his projects that drives him forwards along with the opportunity to create buildings that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.