Local professor receive international recognition


EMERGING as a village boy with parents from a subsistence farming background, he grew up with a dream of becoming an engineer. Not only has this man achieved his dream, but he has excelled to gain much recognition, nationally and internationally.
Professor John Pumwa, the former head of Mechanical Engineering Department at the PNG University of Technology (PNGUoT), has recently been nominated to receive an international award for his significant contribution through teaching, research and publication, service, innovation, or leadership in the field of mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and operations management.
Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM) Society International has recognized Prof. Pumwa and will officially present his award on March 7, 2018, at the IEOM Conference in Bandung, Indonesia.
Following on is an abstract from an interview by Unitech’s in-house magazine, The Reporter, with Prof. Pumwa on his award.
“I personally feel humbled and honored that I have been awarded with this international and prestigious award out of the many prestigious and well-known professors in the world,” said Prof. Pumwa.
Despite being a non-member of the organization, Prof Pumwa was surprised to hear the recent news of his nomination for the award.
“I have no idea who nominated me for this prestigious award but in any case, I thank God, the creator of the universe for making it possible for me to be recognized for my contributions to engineering education” said Prof. Pumwa.
IEOM International is a non-profit international organization that promotes and encourages critical thinking in the field of Industrial Engineering (IE) and Operations Management (OM), provides means to communicate and network among people enthused with similar interests through association services, conferences, seminars, workshops, student chapters, professional chapters, journals and certification across the globe, and illustrative research publications to disseminate the earned knowledge and experience.
Apart from his current recognition, Prof. Pumwa was also recognized by the Institute of Engineers PNG (IEPNG) for his contribution to the engineering profession in PNG and awarded him the rank of Fellow of the institution. He has also been awarded the rank of Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in recognition of his contribution to engineering education in PNG. He is probably the only Papua New Guinean to be recognized as a Fellow of the society.
Prof. Pumwa is a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), U.K. and is a representative for IMechE members in PNG for regional meetings in this region.
With his achievements, he strongly believes that Papua New Guineans are naturally intelligent and can excel in life despite their background.
“If you think that you are just a village boy or girl and nothing can eventuate from you, think again. My story is just like that. I also started off from humble beginnings as a simple village boy, however, I didn’t let that hinder my dream of becoming an engineer. I knew that with God nothing is impossible and I became the first Papua New Guinean to earn an engineering Ph.D. from one of the top universities in the US (Texas A&M) and further, I became the first Professor in engineering in PNG. If I can make it this far from humble beginnings as a village boy without having educated parents, I have no doubt in the abilities of Papua New Guineans to do well and excel to the highest,” expressed Prof. Pumwa passionately.
He wants students and other citizens to believe in themselves and see problems as opportunities to create solutions as it is high time for Papua New Guineans to become creative and innovative and use the country’s resources for the good of the nation.
“My advice to students and young people in Papua New Guinea is to believe in themselves and know that God made you on purpose and for a purpose. God created us with the same abilities just like any others and so we just have to make use of what God has blessed us with ( abilities) and use it to develop our nation for the good of our people,” said Prof. Pumwa. He urged students and young people to focus on what is important, what adds value in their life to succeed for themselves and the nation.
Prof. Pumwa’s recognition has attracted IEOM International to invite PNGUoT to attend the annual IEOM International Conference in Indonesia and also proposed to forge a partnership for possible collaboration work.
Prof. Pumwa, said the exposure and partnership opportunity will further enhance the accreditation process, currently undertaken by PNGUoT and further, provide international engineering experience for PNG to improve on.
“The University is currently undergoing the process of International Accreditation for its various sciences and engineering programs and by being recognized and having partnerships with such organization like IEOM will certainly go a long way in obtaining recognition and approval of our engineering and science programs world-wide. Moreover, PNGUoT may even seek assistance from organizations like IEOM to develop the engineering programs of the University to meet the international requirements, said Prof. Pumwa.
“I am quite passionate about getting our University’s Engineering and Science programs accredited and this award is an opportunity to network and partner with the international accreditation community,” said Prof. Pumwa.
He believes that engineering plays a very important role in the socio-economic development of any nation including PNG as engineering is required for converting raw material into finish products for export and revenue generation.
“A nation may have a lot of natural resources but without engineering that converts these raw products to meaningful and usable products, we will continue to be exploited by others,” said Prof. Pumwa.
With the various huge infrastructure and industrial developments happening around the country, Prof. Pumwa is urging the government to invest in the engineering and sciences education in order to produce competent engineers and scientists that will assist in the development of our country.
“It is the well-educated and the competent engineers, scientists and technologists who will create and use adequately our abundant resources for the good of our nation,” said Prof. Pumwa.
Prof. Pumwa hails from Kupboat village in the Baiyer District of Western Highlands. He plans to be involved as board members of government learning institutions and companies to contribute meaningfully in the operations of these organizations. In a few years time, he may go for elections to represent my people in Parliament, God willing!
He would like to take this opportunity to express his sincere thanks and appreciation to his family especially his wife, Elizabeth, and children, Daisy, Adrian, and Leonie for their undivided support throughout his life. He would also want to thank the University for providing the opportunities for him to develop and excel and would like to give all honor and glory to God and thank Him for all these achievements.
“I know from deep down in my heart that all my success and achievements would not have been possible without Him. Thank you, triune God,” expressed Professor Pumwa.
n The writer is Director Public Relations at PNG University of Technology.

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