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The first edition of Icon Lecture Series concurrently organised by Chemtech Foundation during Chemtech World Expo 2013 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, NSE Complex, Goregaon, Mumbai, India on 15-18 January 2013, witnessed remarkable success.

Student Outreach Programme which aims at developing future leaders for industry, in its very first edition, attracted huge number of students from prominent institutions including IIT Bombay and IIT Khargapur. However, it was not the overwhelming presence, but the curiosity of the students revealed during the lectures series that marked the success of the lecture series.

The presence of eminent industry leaders and academia including Sudhir Vasudeva, CMD, ONGC; A K Purwaha, CMD Engineers India Limited; Sanjay Joshi, MD, Aker Powergas Pvt Ltd; Richard Clemens, MD, VDMA; Anne Feenstra, Eminent Dutch Architect; Mika Toika, VP, Outokumpu; P D Sumudra, Executive Director - Sales & Member of the Board, Uhde India & Sr VP- Business Development ThyssenKrupp Uhde for India & MENA; and A K Balyan, CMD, Petronet LNG; engaged the students throughout the four-day lecture series.

All the four tracks (sessions) - Knowing the Unknown, New Frontiers - New Vistas, Building Sustainable Future, and Values & Ethics: What do these mean in TodayÊs Context - were aimed at educating students on industry expectations, new opportunities, developing responsible attitude towards the environment and society and highlighting the importance of Values & Ethics for a professional. All the leaders shared their experiences and enlightened students on several issues and facts.

Sticking to Core Engineering Leaders urged students to stick to core engineering. A K Purwaha, CMD, Engineers India Limited, explained that the Indian oil and gas sector has got massive potential and it will continue to play a dominant role in meeting the countryÊs energy requirements "The strong momentum in the refining sector is expected to continue, the gas sector will also attract parallel investments in areas like re-gasification, pipeline transmission, distribution infrastructure and city gas distribution . Not just the petroleum and oil & gas, but there are abundant engineering opportunities in the countries in sectors like renewable energy, nuclear power, infrastructure, city gas distribution and fertiliser. The demand for core engineering will remain high,‰ Purwaha added.

Students are Employable but not Deployable
Sudhir Vasudeva said that today students are employable but not deployable. And this situation arises due to lack of practical training in colleges." Engineering colleges must focus on practical training and offer deployable engineers (students). When fresh engineers join, currently, industry has to spend two years to train after employing the engineers.‰ While interacting with students, Vasudeva suggested students to go for training as soon as possible after they complete their studies.

Tremendous Opportunities in Oil and Gas Industry
Indian oil and gas industry will need about 30 000 employees in near future, Vasudeva said. Sanjay Joshi, MD, Aker Solutions also added that after two decades of an Information Technology (IT) boom, the spotlight is slowly re -focusing on the knowledge industry. "India has huge potential and the nation will need brilliant engineers to make the most of it."

SustainabilityIndustries across the word are responsive towards 'Sustainable Development,' and leaders including Suresh Prabhu, Former Union Minister, Government of India, discussed the topic with students at length. "Industrial development without damaging the natural resources is a challenge the entire world faces today... and students, as the leaders of future, need to understand the fact that they, as engineers of tomorrow, have an uphill task to complete for the betterment of society," Prabhu commented.

Sam Yamdagni, President & MD, Xylem Water Solutions India Pvt Ltd, also instructed students to be clear towards sustainability. "Sustainability is all about adding values to our work... values that protect our surroundings and our environments against any hazard... the onus is on you... you should learn how to add values to your work you do after you complete your engineering courses," he said.

Can't Afford to Avoid Values and Ethics Students also got a chance to discuss values and ethics with academia and industry stalwarts during the series. Dr Sujaya Banerjee, Chief Talent Officer & Sr VP - HR, Essar Group; Dr Thomas Scheuring, CEO, DECHEMA; Vinod Tare, Professor, IIT Kanpur; and Ashwini Hiran, COO, Consumer Products, Tata Group educated the students on values and ethics.

Hiran said, "You might be a good entrepreneur, but may not be good corporate citizen. You will have to establish a balance between your entrepreneurial skills and corporate citizenship. Translating a personal energy of an outstanding leader into a corporate energy of an enduring company is of great importance... such values and ethics distinguish a company and its employees."

Banerjee advised students to bring passion and pride to their profession. "Undying passion for what you are doing and undying commitment to excellence is something that will help you clime the ladders of success. I must say, Chemtech Foundation has done a remarkable job by assembling industry leaders , academia and students on a common platform. It is an initiative that will allow students to understand what industry expect from them," Banerjee added .

The untiring efforts of Yatinder Pal Singh Suri (Country Head, Outokumpu) Chairman and Prof. Siddharth Das (IIT Kharagpur) Co-chairman for Student Outreach Programme, who executed the entire schedule with scale and magnitude, played a big role in the success of the programme. Suri said, "The lecture series aims to encourage, inspire the young engineers to follow their passion of engineering for getting into a field which they dreamt of while entering the engineering studies."