The Story of GATE
Most of the people in the GATE have experience with trying to bring sustainability into the business-as-usual. We have similar stories about knowing what "should" be done, but not being able to find a way to get the traction and decisions to change what needs changing. Since 2000 the Advanced Energy and Material Systems Lab (AEMSLab) at Canterbury University in New Zealand has been working on energy transition, and the role of engineering. Susan Krumdieck, Professor in Mechanical Engineering, has 25 years of research and experience in sustainability and energy engineering. The term, Transition Engineering was first used in 2010 to describe the approach to sustainable energy that Professor Krumdieck's research group were developing. The idea was that the work of transition to sustainability could be accomplished in a similar way to previous transitions in safety and security.
Transition Engineering developed through research in New Zealand in the 2000's. The concept was set out in the IET Prestige Lecture series in 2010. The idea of setting up a professional organization was explored, and the path to the GATE opened in 2014. The GATE gained legal status in 2016 and elected the Trustees in 2017. The website and administration was developed and the GATE opened for membership in 2018.
By 2011 there were a number of people who wanted to get involved on several continents. A Linked-in discussion group was started in November 2012 to explore the foundation of a professional group. The discussion agreed that in keeping with the founding of Safety Engineering in 1911, if 62 professional engineers agreed that there should be an action from within the engineering professions to achieve the scientific requirements for climate change and fossil fuel reduction, then we would start a campaign for action. The discussion group is used to consider ideas and share experiences. The decision to go forward with opening the GATE was made by 142 engineers from the USA, UK, New Zealand and other countries in November 2012. It is also the forum where the organisation of the association is taking place. As at the start of 2018 the Linked-in membership is over 2400 with people from across the globe.
A campaign is any concerted effort to achieve an action. The discussion group came to the consensus about the action that would give hope to the most members. We wanted history to be repeated, and like Safety Engineering, the ethical and responsible work of all engineering professionals would shape decisions and alter behaviors. This century, the action is to establish the practice of an engineering discipline that works to prevent what is preventable - failure of energy service systems and catastrophic climate change. The first step in achieving this action was seen to be, like Safety Engineering, for a group of engineers to form an association. The campaign was launched at 8 March 2013 at the Otago Energy Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
A workshop meeting was organized in 2014 to decide on a name for the professional association, draft the constitution, elect trustees, decide on structures and set a work schedule to achieve an international launch within 2 years. One of the huge pieces of work that needed to be accomplished was gaining legal status for the organisation. Applying for and being granted status as a charitable organisation in the UK required nearly 2 years of volunteer effort.
Organizational Workshop 2014
Julie Winnard, Andy Ford, Connie Shirley, Rupert Blackstone, Susan Krumdieck, Alex Galloway, Walt Patterson, Michael Reid, Daniel Kenning, Deborah Andrews, Nick Bristow, Jackie Carpenter, Adam Poole, Jim Stewart, Roger Wade, Alex Vella