George Samuel Beca - CBE DFC
George Beca was just 18 when he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1939. It was start of a audacious military career, overshadowed only by his subsequent career in engineering consultancy.
He returned to New Zealand a war hero but instead concentrated on becoming a test pilot. He enrolled in an engineering degree at Auckland University College where his professor recognised his managerial talent and recommended he become a civil engineer.
Beca joined the Gray & Watts engineering practice in 1952 and two years later was made a partner. By the time he retired in 1986, Beca Group was employing more than 500 people in several countries.
He received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Auckland University in 2000 for changing the face of the engineering profession.