During its early years, the center already forged closer linkage with industry and government through various consultancy projects and partnerships. A consultancy unit was formed with faculty members—namely, Prof. Nestor Rañeses, Eugene Gonzales, and Prof. Edgardo Atanacio—as project and development consultants. They tried to scout projects for NEC. The Center managed projects on energy, partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Power Corporation. The partnership with DOE involved training people, particularly engineers, on energy saving and utilization and on alternative sources of energy. It also included designing and doing a feasibility study of putting up a fuels- and appliance-testing laboratory for DOE.
Photo of Leopoldo V. Abis, Ph.D. Acting Executive Director, 1978; Executive Director, 1979 to 1988
"The NPC project led to the discovery of the possible uses of fly ash in construction. NEC also undertook the “Preventive Maintenance Project” with the support of UNDP and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). ”I remember with fondness not only the challenges but the accompanying revelry, and the joy of seeing people succeed, like Boy dela Peña who was my assistant and is now the Undersecretary for the Department of Science and Technology."
Laboratories, such as the microelectronics laboratory, machine equipment and design fabrication laboratory, and the computer laboratory, were also launched. Through a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) grant, the Publications and Engineering Information Service (PEIS) was set-up. The PEIS pioneered in the so called “Selective Dissemination of Information Project” where engineer clients could request certain types of information based on the journals and other materials that NEC was receiving. The NEC team also started coming out with the Philippine Engineering Journal in 1980.
Photo of Francisco L. Viray, Ph.D.
Executive Director, 1988 to 1993
Dr. Francisco L. Viray (Executive Director, 1988 to 1993) took over the leadership of NEC from Dr. Abis. Assisting him were Dr. Alexander P. Paran (Assistant to the Executive Director, 1988 to 1990), Dr. Angela D. Escoto (Assistant to the Executive Director, 1990 to 1991), and Prof. Artemio P. Magabo (Assistant to the Executive Director, 1991 to 1992; Deputy Executive Director, 1992 to 1995).
Dr. Viray wasn’t going to rest on the NEC’s laurels. His team sought to improve what Dr. Abis and Prof. dela Peña had already accomplished. For one, the Continuing Engineering Education Unit (CEEU), composed of faculty representatives from all engineering departments, was established. The CEEU updated NEC’s existing continuing education program and expanded the number of courses. In addition, incentive programs were established for the COE and NEC staff, new courses were developed, and facilities were improved.
The support of alumni members who have important positions in the industry, government, and educational sectors led to consistently high number of participants in NEC’s training programs and more industry partnerships and joint undertakings. NEC was also able to provide free training programs to faculty members in the Western Visayas through a joint undertaking with then Bureau of Higher Education now Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Dr. Viray considers the unification of leadership of the COE and the NEC as the highlight of his term. “It was really the intention of the faculty that the Executive Director of NEC & the Dean of COE be one and the same. Since NEC is the research and extension arm of the college, it would be better to coordinate activities with only one person in charge.”
"It is my pleasure to be part of honoring UP NEC on its 30th Anniversary as well as an opportunity for me to greet and congratulate everyone who is part and parcel of NEC’s growth and success for the past 30 years. My Kudos to everyone!
Prof. Magabo credits the spur of NEC’s development during Dr. Viray’s term largely in part with the unification of leadership. Many more COE faculty members became involved with NEC projects and activities than ever before.
But the unification of posts also presented a different kind of problem never before faced by the NEC. “Dr. Viray saw the need for someone who would be able to run the day-to-day operation of NEC. There was no position available for this particular job when the NEC was created,” Prof. Magabo recalled.
Photo of Prof. Artemio P. Magabo Assistant to the Executive Director, 1991 to 1992 Deputy Executive Director, 1992 to 1995
That same year Prof. Magabo became NEC’s first Deputy Executive Director and he would serve under that capacity well into the term of Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea (Executive Director, 1993 to 1997), Dr. Viray’s successor.