Cervélo bicycle company co-founder Gerard Vroomen has been named the 2009 Engineer of the Year by The Royal Institute of Engineers (KIVI NIRIA) in the Netherlands.
Cervélo won the 2008 Tour de France with Spaniard Carlos Sastre, and sponsors the Cervélo TestTeam with 2009 Tour green jersey winner Thor Hushovd and stage winner Heinrich Haussler. The Canadian company's bikes continue to receive high rankings from media and consumers alike.
KIVI NIRIA President Jan Dekker presented the award -- an original sculpture by well-known Dutch artist Annemarie Petri plus a cheque for €20,000 by the Van der Poel Charity Fund -- to Vroomen at an event in the Museon in The Hague Tuesday night.
In his presentation Dekker said that Vroomen -- one of three nominees -- had distinguished himself through a combination of personality, entrepreneurship and innovation. The jury cited his ability 'to combine technical ingenuity with good business instincts and an above average dose of perseverance and guts.'
The €20,000 is to be used for a project of Vroomen's choice that demonstrates how technology can contribute to a better world. Cervélo has offices in Switzerland and Toronto, Canada.
"I am honoured to be recognised with this award," Vroomen said, "and I share it with everybody at Vroomen.White.Design and of course especially (company co-founder) Phil White. Since we started Cervélo in 1995 we have always made engineering the focus of our work, internally as well as when speaking with our customers.
"It is clear that without our engineering background, neither our products nor our company would have achieved the level of success it has."
Vroomen succeeds the 2008 winner Saskia Rijtema, senior project engineer at Heerema Marine Contractors. During the upcoming year he will act as the ambassador for KIVI NIRIA continuing to spread the message to 'enjoy engineering'.
KIVI NIRIA instituted the annual Engineer of the Year award in 1993 as a way to convey the value KIVI NIRIA engineers provide to society, highlighting the varied career prospects that the discipline offers, thus encouraging young students to choose engineering studies.