Aside from this initial success, the number of engineers and even non-engineers that were trained by NEC rose exponentially. The range of courses that the NEC was offering expanded. The links between the NEC’s projects and the COE’s graduate programs were also formalized. There are two NEC programs that are linked to the COE’s graduate programs. “One is with the National Electrification Administration and our Energy Engineering program, and the other one with the Philippine Constructors Association and the Civil Engineering program. With that last one, the COE also gained something from that engagement because the CE program now includes a Construction Management program, which we didn’t have before,” Dean Gev explained.
On April 16, 2004, the NEC building was inaugurated as Juinio Hall, after Dean Alfredo L. Juinio.
"When asked what she expects of the center in the next three years, “I want all the centers of the college, not only the NEC but the centers under it, to be able to support research grants, travel grants for conferences, professorial chairs, etc. They have to be able to give back to the college, like the NEC is starting to do now.”
Aura C. Matias. Executive Director, August 2010 to present
The NEC has become, in Dean Gev’s own words, a “lean, mean machine” with people who have a passion to serve and to succeed. And it was made possible under the kind of leadership—fearless, visionary, and uncompromising—that these men and women exercised. This leadership is matched only by the dedication and hard work of the NEC staff.
Rowena Cristina L. Guevara. Executive Director, 2004 to July 2010
After serving as the Deputy Executive Director during the terms of Dr. Vea and Prof. Atanacio, Dr. Aura C. Matias then became Executive Director from 2010 to 2016. She focused on elevating the quality of services and creating national awareness about UP NEC. Dr. Matias and Deputy Executive Director Prof. Adeline A. Pacia envisaged UP NEC to become the “top in mind” institution for collaborative engineering solutions.
“I really value the cooperation and trust of UP NEC employees. When I become the Executive Director, I felt the total support and excitement from them.”
Through the bold leadership accompanied by a dynamic support from staff, UP NEC worked hard in improving further its operations and performance. In 2015, UP NEC received the Philippine Quality Award Level 1. This signalled UP NEC’s potential and journey towards organizational efficiency and performance excellence. The award branded UP NEC’s commitment to quality and resulted in the creation of new training programs such as the Public Procurement Specialist Certification and Business Analytics Certification programs. It also led to the recalibration of UP NEC’s research mandate, boosting the Project Development and Management Division to contract additional technical consultancy and research projects. These efforts created ripples of change. Employees became more fervent in helping UP NEC attain national significance. They felt challenged and motivated at the same time as the gains were translated into reward and recognition system.
The UP NEC now
Dr. Rizalinda L. de Leon assumed office as the new Dean of UP COE and Executive Director of UP NEC on 1 September 2016. Prior to these appointments, she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Philippine Engineering Journal, a bi-annual UP NEC publication that serves as a national medium of exchange of technical information and dissemination of engineering knowledge.
Dr. de Leon and Deputy Executive Director Dr. Mili-Ann M. Tamayao envision UP NEC as a dynamic partner for development; a public institution that will remain truthful to its mandate of providing steady and expanding resources of technical expertise, solutions, and information to its various stakeholders; and a national hub of engineering innovations and technology spurring sustainable growth and competitiveness.
One of the main thrusts of this current administration is to intensify further research and academe-industry-government collaboration. Dr. de Leon and Dr. Tamayao are working closely with the Directors of UP NEC constituent centers such as the UP Building Research Service (UP BRS), UP National Center for Transportation Studies (UP NCTS), UP National Hydraulic Research Center (UP NHRC), and UP Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (UP TCAGP) in coming up and implementing a unified, collaborative, and needs-based research agenda aligned with the Philippine Development Plan.
Last January and March 2018, UP NEC Strategic Planning and the first-ever Director’s Strategic Planning were held, respectively. These activities aimed to assess previous performances, identify operational challenges, frame new targets, and craft UP NEC’s research directions.