In terms of our history, we have been innovators from the very beginning. Founded in 1932, we were hugely instrumental in the building of a modern new nation, and in fact, our founding father, Nicholas O’Dwyer, was Chief Engineering Inspector in the Department of Local Government before establishing the company – a position he held since the foundation of the State in 1922.
Our founder also represented Ireland on a League of Nations Committee on Public Health Engineering, and acted on the League's European Advisory Committee on Rural Hygiene.
Highly active within his professional life, Nicholas served as President of the Institution of Engineer's of Ireland from 1934 to 1936 – his contribution is commemorated today in the form of the Nicholas O'Dwyer Award, presented by Engineers Ireland for the best paper on Public Health Engineering.
Three decades later, the company moved from a family business to a partnership, and then to a private company. But throughout these changes, the innovation gene remained strong and the company continued to break new ground by looking to the new and emerging markets in Africa – then unheard of in an Ireland still looking to find its role on the world stage.
With the purchase of a business in Zambia, Nicholas O'Dwyer began operations in Africa where it was responsible for the Lusaka Water Supply Scheme and went on to set up offices in many countries in Southern Africa. The international company in the Group, Nicholas O'Dwyer and Co. Ltd., continues to do business throughout the developing world and has also carried out very significant projects throughout Eastern Europe.
The company was equally active on the home front during the 1950’s and 60’s, designing much of the water services infrastructure of Ireland, including schemes such as North Dublin Drainage, Kildare Regional Water Supply and Waterford City Water Supply.
During this period, the firm also began working in Northern Ireland and our office in Newry is now a flourishing practice. Offices were also established in Limerick and in Cork (O'Connell Harley O'Dwyer).
Recessions during the 1980's and early 1990's - and the more recent economic turmoil that has affected Ireland – reduced our staff numbers significantly, but under the current management, we have grown to become one of the largest independently owned Consulting Engineers in Ireland.
We have been to the forefront in the development of new water services infrastructure under the NDP and Department of Environment Programme, and have led the industry in the procurement of facilities on multiple sites as bundled DBO contracts.
On a more local level, the firm has managed much of the Dublin Docklands infrastructure development and has been a consultant to the Authority there since the late 1990s.
With a growing emphasis on development by design build and by Public Private Partnership (PPP), the firm’s portfolio of clients has expanded and diversified and includes many of the country's leading contracting firms.
In response to this, a separate branch of the firm - Nicholas O'Dwyer Design and Development - has now been established to service this work without conflict of interest with Local Authority clients.
Most recently, the Group has grown again with the acquisition of Lynch McNulty, a structural practice in Sligo, in 2006, adding to our presence in Dublin, Newry, Limerick and Cork.
Today, our international business continues to be a pioneer in the developing world, and we are constantly reinventing ourselves to take account of new opportunities that present themselves – notably in the areas of environmental sustainability and next generation communications.
It is this readiness to constantly look to the next chapter that helps us to future-proof the company against the challenges that may occur in any or all of our more traditional markets.