New NZCS president keen to engage younger ICT professionals

Ray Delany replaces Don Robertson, new deputy president also elected

Ray Delany has been elected as the the New Zealand Computer Society's new president, replacing Don Robertson.

Delany is CEO and owner of DesignerTech, and is a longstanding member of the ICT community.

He has extensive experience in health IT, including holding the role of CIO of the Waitemata District Health Board.

A longtime NZCS member and Fellow, he recently chaired the Society's Mentoring Working Group and the programme committee for the Society's 50th anniversary conference.

Steve Davis has been appointed deputy president. He is a Christchurch-based IT consultant.

In a statement announcing his election, Delany notes: “As a long-standing member I’ve been hugely impressed with the direction and progress made by the Society over the last three years and I’m greatly looking forward to building on this success and continuing the Society’s current direction.

“We’ve seen a dramatic change and significantly improved relevance in recent times.

“It’s great to see, for instance, the Society’s student and young professional membership more than double over the last year. One of my primary objectives is to accelerate that engagement with younger professionals”.

The statement continues: "Delany also cited several other areas he intended to focus on including lifting the presence and credibility of the Society in the Auckland region, growing and embedding the programmes of educational and professional work established in recent years and continuing to ensure the Society was seen as an open, welcoming organisation for all people with an interest in ICT."

Don Robertson opted not to seek re-election after three years as president, and former deputy president David Cowman also chose not to seek re-election.

The renewal was a normal part of the rotation of officials. The term of the President is two years with an optional one-year extension and Robertson has already served three years. He chose not to stand for re-election.

“It will be good to have a president in Auckland and deputy president in Christchurch to complement the CEO’s presence in Wellington,” says CEO Paul Matthews. Auckland has been something of a neglected market for the society’s services and there are proportionately fewer members there compared with the capital. Lifting Auckland membership will be a key objective under Delaney’s presidency, Matthews says.

Many of the business-oriented ICT industry lobbies are centred in Auckland and perhaps industry participants there hesitate to join one more organisation, he suggests. The difference between a business-oriented lobbying organisation and a professional society like the NZCS should be made clearer; there is a role for both.

To top off a busy week, when the society appeared in Court to appeal removal of its charitable status, it also changed head office buildings, from a premises on the Terrace shared with the Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ or Engineers NZ) to dedicated and less cramped offices in Level 24 of Plimmer Towers, still convenient to the central business district.

“The [old] premises were chosen five years ago and were not suitable for the organisation we have become,” Matthews says.

The society sees the close relationship with IPENZ as having made an important contribution to its growth, but the new situation, he says, allows NZCS to establish a distinct identity, no longer “overshadowed” by another organisation’s sign on the façade.

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