Head of Department, Built Environment
School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences
Planes were Professor John Tookey’s first love. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in technology and management science he considered joining the air force, but instead stayed on at university for further study.
He completed his PhD dealing with concurrent engineering in the aerospace industry. The PhD focused on supply chain design management practices in aerospace and the timing was fortuitous. In 1998, at the point which his thesis was published, a major UK construction industry report (Sir John Egan’s “Rethinking Construction”) cited the need for construction to learn from other industries, specifically aerospace and automotive.
In concept, the thinking behind this report was to remodel behaviours to follow the manufacturing industry rather than the historical behaviours in construction. Consequently, Professor Tookey’s research experience in aerospace allowed him to transition into research and practice in the construction sector in order to increase productivity and efficiency in the sector.
From 1998 to 2006, Professor Tookey worked at Glasgow Caledonian University as first a researcher then as a lecturer. In 2006, he moved to the University of Auckland and then moved to AUT in 2009.
Professor Tookey has had an extensive track record of research and programme development. In the UK he managed one master's programme in construction management; then developed a new programme in project management to run alongside.
Since moving to New Zealand he has introduced two new master's programmes (at both the University of Auckland and AUT) in construction management and engineering project management, as well as new undergraduate programmes. The Architectural Engineering and Construction Engineering majors in the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) are unique in New Zealand, and are already highly successful in their recruitment of students.
Professor Tookey has further new majors currently under development as the built environment engineering domain grows in AUT.
In addition to his programme governance and development roles, Professor Tookey is the director of the Centre for Urban Built Environment in NZ (CUBE-NZ). He also regularly consults for industry and acts as a peer reviewer and referee for numerous journals and conferences.
While he still loves planes, buildings are his main passion now and he spends most of his spare time seeking out new ones to visit and photograph.