Recognising an innovative mind

FORMER Queanbeyan man Dr David Evans has been appointed a member in the general division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his "significant service to science and innovation through commercialising and developing new technologies."

Dr Evans, 72, was born and raised in Queanbeyan, the son of local real estate agent Alec Evans and Jean Evans (nee Morton). He received his AM on Australia Day, and celebrated with colleagues and family on Monday.

Dr Evans has had a long career in the field of science and innovation. He was an influential contributor to "the mother of all demonstrations" with Doug Engelbart showcasing the computer mouse, heralding the dawn of interactive computing at the Stanford Research Institute in 1968.

However his daughter Joanne told the Queanbeyan Age that her father's life work was more toward fostering innovation and development in science rather than any individual, technical field.

"He was really proud and feels like it's the first time that he has received recognition for the effort he's made over his career, and he feels really grateful for that," Ms Evans said.

"His participation was more from the perspective of the process of innovation," she said.

"He was a part of the team that figured out how to get people to work together more effectively and how to get them to communicate and use technology to help them communicate their ideas.

"He took that concept and did lots of things with it, and eventually brought it back to the universities in Australia. It's about collaboration; it's about recognition of individual's contributions to a particular project and how you structure that so people feel motivated and incentivised to contribute. That's what his career has been about. It was ground breaking work," she said.

Dr Evans has held executive roles in a number of Australian research and technology companies over the last decade, including as managing director up until 2009 of MRI technology company Magnetica.

Magnetica general manager Nicky Milsom said Dr Evans' AM recognised his life-long contribution to innovation and science.

"It was very well deserved across a range of things. He's committed his life to innovation and commercialising public sector science, and he's played a key role in a number of major initiatives, including Magnetica," Ms Milsom said.

Dr Evans now lives in the ACT, and is currently in ill health and suffers from aphasia.

His daughter Joanne recalled one anecdote from his early career as a promising young engineer from Queanbeyan.

"He started off at University of NSW as a civil engineer, and one of the first projects he worked on as a student engineer was pouring the concrete on the Kings Highway Bridge," Ms Evans said.

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