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A tribute to a founding partner of Norman Disney & Young

28 Sep 2010

Allan Disney

8 April 1930 – 23 September 2010


Allan Disney, a founding partner of Norman Disney & Young, passed away on the 23rd September 2010 at the age of 80.

Allan Disney was one of Australia's most respected and well known consulting engineers, a leader in the application of mechanical engineering in building services, and a pioneer of consulting engineering in the property and construction industry.

Allan was born in Sydney on the 8th April 1930. His dedication and involvement in the air conditioning industry extended back to 1946 when he started work as an apprentice in Sydney with York Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.  He then worked for contractors and equipment manufacturers before he joined Norman & Addicott as a consulting engineer in 1959.
In 1971 he formed a partnership with David Norman and Peter Young, and the firm, Norman Disney & Young was formed.  At that time NDY had three offices, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.  Allan became Director responsible for the firms operation in Sydney, the largest and founding office. His responsibilities also extended to Canberra when that office was opened in 1982 to service the Parliament House project.
Allan guided the Sydney office through both difficult and growth periods for 20 years from 1971 until he retired in mid 1990. That time saw a number of significant Sydney landmark projects designed, including Sydney Hilton, Sydney Tower, State Bank Head Office, NSW Parliament House, and a crowning jewel in NDY's history, Parliament House in Canberra.
Allan had an eye for detail, always maintained a close involvement in the project design, insisted on quality output and was recognised as an expert at leading multi-discipline design teams, co-ordinating and formulating designs.  His work was recognised with many awards throughout his career.  He was always willing to participate in extending the knowledge and standing of his chosen profession, often taking time to explain a technical issue to the younger staff, and instilled this culture within the office.
When Allan retired, the Sydney office had grown to 100 staff. Together with David Norman's leadership, NDY had grown to a total of 11 offices and built an enviable reputation for quality design and consulting services. As a first generation manager, Allan helped to establish a solid business foundation with an excellent reputation on which the subsequent generations of Directors grew NDY's stature in the industry.
Allan's willingness to share his knowledge extended outside the firm. He was a Visiting Lecturer at both Newcastle and Sydney Universities where he lectured on air conditioning to architectural and engineering students, and delivered papers at a variety of seminars and industry forums. He was Chairman of BOMAs (now the PCA) New South Wales Technical Committee for 3 years from 1987 and Chairman of BOMA's National Committee for 2 years from 1988. Sydney University recognised Allan's contribution to the industry in 1994, giving him the Honorary Award of Master of Design Science in Building Services.
Professionally, Allan’s life story was about the development of engineering, marketing and human management skills to ultimately manage what was considered to be one of the best operations of its type in Australia. 
In his private life however, Allan’s greatest pride was his family. Allan leaves behind wife Joan, two daughters, Danielle and Simone, a son, Damian, and three grandchildren - Adam, Hayley & Samuel.
In fond memory,
NDY Management, 
Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom & Malaysia.

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