Former Siemens Limited CEO Helmut Pekarek will be presented with an honorary doctorate at today’s RMIT University graduation.
The Doctor of Engineering Honoris Causa is in recognition of Pekarek’s career which he dedicated to business and education.
RMIT University Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, said Pekarek had received a Master of Engineering (Applied Physics) from the Technical University, Vienna, Austria in 1963.
“He joined Siemens Group in 1970 after working in research, power plant engineering and project planning in several European countries and the United States,” Martin said.
From 1996 to 2003, Pekarek was Managing Director and Chairman of Siemens Limited in Melbourne and spokesman for the Siemens Group of companies in Australia and New Zealand.
During this time, RMIT and Siemens cemented their relationship through initiatives such as the RMIT Industry Experience Research Program, which enables almost 200 of the University’s students to carry out vocational training and research projects at world-class businesses and institutions in Europe, Asia and the USA.
Other links between the University and the company include the national Siemens Science Experience initiative and the Siemens-RMIT Fine Art Scholarship Award for a decade.
Pekarek was a member of RMIT University Council from 2005 through 2013 and chaired RMIT Training from 2009 to his retirement.
Under his guidance, the controlled entity successfully weathered the significant downturn in international student arrivals in Australia due to visa condition and currency factors through to a point where it was again on a strong growth path on his retirement.
Outside of RMIT, Pekarek has served for 10 years as Councillor, Chair and President of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce; served as a Director on several company boards, including the Australian Business Arts Foundation; been involved in The CEO Circle (Group Chair); and been a Committee member of the Australian-German Association.
In 2000 he was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian government, and in 2003 the Cross of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany.
Pekarek has fostered and nurtured the relationship between RMIT and Siemens that today forms the basis of the Sustainable Urban Precinct Project collaboration, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption, while improving plant infrastructure across all RMIT’s Melbourne campuses.
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