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Naomi Lawrence EngTech MIHE
Assistant Engineer, Cheshire East Highways

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What inspired you to become an engineer?
I started in the highway industry as a permit technician. Once I gained an understanding of what the different areas were within Ringway Jacobs I gained an interest in learning more around
civil engineering and design. As it was something new, and a challenge, I became very passionate about becoming an engineer and progressing my knowledge and experience. I wanted to prove to myself and my peers that I could do this.

What made you join the IHE?
I joined the IHE at apprentice level while I was completing my ONC Level 3 in Civil Engineering. My tutor suggested this to me while I was on my course as it was the most suitable professional Institute for the work I do. I have been a member for over three years and I am also EngTech registered for over two years.

Has professional registration benefited your career and your employer?
Yes as I have more opportunities for progression within the company I work for. Being registered has helped me get the position in the company I am now. Registration has helped me access more information, CPD events and training courses. It has helped me increase my knowledge within the workplace and improved my confidence.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Don’t hesitate, just do it. Take the chance and leap. I didn’t realise I was ready to achieve this until it was suggested to me; within four months I had achieved my EngTech. Research it, go through the information provided, refer to schemes/projects that you have already completed, find your areas and gaps that are missing and work on them where possible. I am lucky I have a mentor at Ringway Jacobs who pushes me to keep progressing.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I am an assistant engineer for the Design Team with Cheshire East Highways (Ringway Jacobs). I started this role in January. The role involves providing technical support for design schemes for Cheshire East Council. I design schemes with the use of AutoCAD and associated software such as Keylines and Keysigns, to produce detailed drawings issued to contractors to complete the works required. I also ensure the requirements under construction, design and management (CDM) for each scheme are produced for the site works. This includes assessing traffic management requirements and collating the statutory undertakers’ service plans, such as United Utilities, telecommunications and electricity, which are present in the area. My role includes legal processing of traffic regulation orders (TRO) to ensure all the relevant documents are approved before the installation of restrictions are implemented. This includes parking restrictions, school keep clear markings, parking bays and speed limits. I ensure the relevant documents are advertised accordingly and that the legal orders are sealed to make sure schemes remain on programme for construction.

Can you describe a typical working day?
I log on, check emails, then go through a to do list so I meet deadlines for my tasks. A lot of my work is related to legal processes as I deal with TRO schemes, so I make sure all documents are correct and designs are completed to specifications and standards. I ensure the programmed works are on schedule to be completed by the correct date, and support engineers in the team with any tasks required such as statutory undertaker plans, pre-construction information/health and safety. I also respond to residents’ enquires or any objections to TRO schemes when they have been advertised.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
Problem solving and working on AutoCAD, drafting designs for schemes that are being installed. Being able to see the work on the ground once done is enjoyable.

Is there a great professional achievement that you would like to tell us about?
Before I started working for Cheshire East Council, I joined the Prince’s Trust as I had confidence issues. This helped me to secure an apprenticeship (originally in business admin) which led to
securing a permanent position within the council after 18 months. I won the Young Achiever of the Year for the North West 2013 award for how much I had progressed from 2010 to 2013, which gave me the confidence to keep progressing. I was nominated by my tutor for Apprentice of the Year in Civil Engineering and the Built Environment while I was finishing my Level 3 ONC. This was for both South and West Cheshire College and I won in March 2018 (I was the only woman in this category).

What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
Reduced budgets but with more works required; also reducing CO2 emissions.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I would like to progress to engineer level in the next five years, or around that timeframe but I am also currently working towards IENG registration, which I will hopefully achieve in the next two years.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities or membership of other engineering groups?
I am now part of the North West Branch IHE Committee Meeting.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like to play online games such as World of Warcraft and Minecraft. I also exercise at the gym four times a week. This really helps me to unwind after a busy day at work and promotes my positive mental health. I also used to be part of a drama group but due to COVID-19 it is currently on hold.

What else might you have done for a living if you didn’t enter highways?
I would of still being working in business administration as that is where my career started when I was 18 years old. I chose the highways industry as I wanted to have a new challenge and learn something new. I had outgrown the job I was doing and was ready to take the next step to try to progress my career in a different area.

What do you like about the industry and what would you like to see change?
There is a lot of variation within the industry, a lot of different companies that you can learn from and progress within. A change in communication is key for the industry to grow and improve, sharing of information knowledge and experience.

Jackie Davies CEng FIHE MSc BSc
Principal UTMC Engineer at Bristol City Council

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Principal UTMC Engineer at Bristol City Council

What inspired you to become an engineer?
Nothing! I pretty much fell into the work area by accident; luckily I found I really enjoyed it.

What made you join the IHE?
I joined in 2017 as a member, with the intention of applying for chartership.

What contributed to your decision to become registered professionally?
I wanted my expertise to be recognised and to develop further. The application process assisted me to achieve this as I measured my performance against the Engineering Council’s metrics. I used this process to identify and address weaknesses in my engineering ability and obtain accreditation at the end.

Has registration benefited your career and did this have any benefit for your employer?
I believe that it’s been beneficial for both myself and the council. I am able to demonstrate that my engineering ability has been assessed and approved by my peers. My employer is able to show they have chartered engineers within the team, which is beneficial to the council’s reputation. My employer assisted me during the application process.

Describe your role or position within your workplace
I run the traffic control service for Bristol City Council, including both the UTC/ SCOOT system and the intelligent transport systems. I manage the network and its systems to  maximise efficiency, dealing with equipment faults and completing or overseeing projects that improve the network.

Can you describe a typical working day?
There isn’t a typical day. I have to balance a range of conflicting projects and activities, while managing live incidents, and equipment or software faults as needed. I frequently intend to work on one thing, but end up doing something else. As a result, I have a very agile approach to delivering priorities and am guaranteed lots of variety as I work to keep Bristol moving by solving whatever
problem is trying to ruin our day. It’s a juggling act, but always interesting and challenging.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The variety in the work, the challenge, and applying my problem-solving skills to deliver something that makes a difference to people. As the principal technical expert for the council, I regularly have to work out problems that I’ve never encountered before. Investigating these issues and developing solutions to them is enjoyable.

Do you have a professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment you could tell us about?
Over the last few years I’ve been approached by other engineers and asked where they can obtain SCOOT training and support. Aside from supplier training and consultancy support, there’s not
much practical skills training available to help new starters within highway authorities to become skilled in UTC/ SCOOT. As a result, I’ve spent the lockdown period producing an online, selflearn training course with the support of JCT Consultancy that will hopefully address this training gap. I’m hoping this will benefit other highway authority staff with their personal development and traffic signals work.

What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
The pandemic is likely to place further pressure on local government finances at a time when we face an unprecedented environmental situation. If funding drops, the maintenance of our assets will become more challenging, which will have a negative impact on our ability to manage them and their corresponding environmental impact. This and the skills shortage are the biggest challenges I can see.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities?
I am passionate about sharing knowledge, especially around helping local authorities to develop in-house UTC/ SCOOT expertise and to better understand how to design signals to work well with SCOOT.  In addition to the UTC/SCOOT course I developed with JCT, I also worked with both JCT and the IHE to deliver a ‘SCOOT for Traffic Signals Design’ section into their respective  advanced traffic signal design courses. I occasionally provide consultancy support to highway authorities via Integrated Traffic Services LTD.

What do you like about the industry and what would you like to see change?
I like that it’s a small industry where it’s easy to make contact with other professional to get advice or share knowledge. I value events like the JCT Symposium and Traffex, as they support networking and knowledge sharing. The small nature of the industry does carry the risk of skills being lost as people retire or leave.

Chris Bowley IEng FIHE
Self-employed – senior partner CB+Associates

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What inspired you to become an engineer?
Being technically minded and achieving an A level in Engineering Drawing, I joined the City of Chichester as a draughtsman and it grew from there.

What made you join the IHE?
I was a member of the Highways and Traffic Technicians Association, which eventually morphed into the Institute for Highway Incorporated Engineers. I was elected as a Fellow in January 1973 and awarded IEng in April 1989. And then the IHIE became the IHE.

Has professional registration benefited your career and did this have any benefit for your employer?
Definitely! I have had a long career in both the public and private sectors but promotion in the latter was always more easily achieved by having registration.

Is there any advice you would give to members?
If you want to increase your professional standing, seek to become registered.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace
Currently, a self-employed consultant running my own small part-time business.

Can you describe a typical working day?
Mainly working from home on a demand basis. I do both paid and voluntary work. It is varied and interesting.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
Being able to give back to the industry my time and experience for the benefit of new and younger members.

Is there a professional achievement you would like to tell us about?
There are many for me, but notably being associated with the strategic network in the UK. I was the author of the first successful TMC contract for the (holistic) M25 maintenance. I was also the project manager for the transition of the Hindhead Tunnel from build into operation.

Given the current economic and environmental climate, what do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
To meet and satisfy both government and public aspirations.

What are your plans for the future?
To continue working for as long as I am able, putting my time and experience to good use.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I am a mentor and professional reviewer for the IHE and have served for many years on its Council. I am currently the champion and auditor for CPD. I am an active branch committee member on the Southern Branch. I am a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time personally and/or professionally?
I am currently the chairman of the residents association at the estate where I live and enjoy helping members with their problems.

What do you like about the industry and what would you like to see change?
Being able to drive on the local highways that I have maintained for many years. I would like to see these given better recognition as they are always perceived as a poor relation.

What do you do in your spare time?
Travel and visit as many National Trust properties as I can with my wife, Wynne.

Ellie Gormley IEng FIHE
IHE Junior Vice President; Self Employed – Freelance Engineering Consultant

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What inspired you to become an engineer?
As a young girl I was always making things with Lego or Meccano so I guess it was just destiny. My first job was a trainee draughtsperson, but I was far more interested in the design element.

What made you join the IHE?
I joined the IHE in 1997. I had no professional qualifications at that time, but was ambitious to have post nominals. I also had the desire to volunteer to help others achieve their professional goals.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
I was ambitious and wanted to progress my career and prove to myself I could do it. The salary enhancement when I was professionally qualified was also important, as it afforded me the lifestyle I wanted.

Has professional registration benefited your career and did this have any benefit for your employer?
Yes. It presented opportunities to network and share in new ideas and sustainable innovations to enhance the projects I was involved in. It has opened up lots of opportunities for me and provided
a fantastic avenue to network and observe new ideas and innovations. In addition to my STEM ambassador role, the IHE has given me the opportunity to be involved in mentoring, assessing and reviewing members to achieve their professional goals.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Don’t hesitate, just do it.

Is there any advice you would like members to take into consideration?
Absolutely, encourage all your work colleagues to consider getting professionally qualified. There is a wealth of information on the IHE website to assist you to in becoming professionally qualified,
and many CPD opportunities to share good practice. The Engineering Council is now becoming much more strict on checking individuals’ CPD records and the IHE can fill any gaps you may have. As an institute, we are one of the bodies that have a direct input in accrediting university degrees, and student members should make sure the qualification they are studying is accredited. The IHE can advise you on this.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
Before finishing full-time work, almost three years ago, I was principal engineer in the highway design team at Telford & Wrekin Council. I deputised for the engineering manager as required and was responsible for project managing larger schemes from the Highways Capital Programme.

Can you describe a typical working day?
There was no such thing as a typical day. I may have been out on a construction site, checking that the quality of work , or chasing up actions for projects or ensuring that everyone who needs to now the progress of a project has been informed. I also would check designs or write design briefs back in the office. My current role, as a freelance consultant, is different, I am networking with both consultants and contractors, negotiating contracts and project managing.

Are there any challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
You sometimes get faced with issues and think, how on earth do I deal with this? In the early years of my career, while I was being supported educationally, it was difficult to progress and get promotion. As a woman engineer I felt that my skills were not being recognised. I had to move authorities in order to climb the career ladder. I have however seen a marked difference over the past few years and believe that women are being far more recognised in the industry.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The variety of the work, the networking openings, and most importantly the opportunity to make a difference to the local road network.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
I co-ordinated and delivered one of the first Safer Routes to School Projects in Staffordshire. It was a community-based project and not without its challenges, but the sense of pride I had when
everyone worked together to achieve their goals was totally satisfying. I really enjoyed the community aspect.

Personal accomplishment?
Being asked to be a future President of the IHE. I will be honoured to undertake the role and will promote the institute and to the best of my ability.

What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
As the highway network is in constant need of upkeep and traditional remediation, there are many environmental challenges we are faced with. For one, we need to ensure the road network is constructed or repaired in a more sustainable way. Many companies are now looking at ways to recycle materials for road construction; however this doesn’t come without cost so there is a balance to be had. Another challenge is public perception; we need to raise the public’s awareness so they can improve their own carbon footprints. Economically, we have a real shortage of skills in the highways sector, which will be extremely damaging in the future if not addressed soon.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In five years time, I will have the honour of being the President of the IHE. Our team of staff and volunteers do an incredible job, and I am looking to build on that to further promote the Institute
and provide members with the tools they need to achieve their professional goal.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
Yes. I am a mentor, reviewer and assessor for the IHE. I have been a previous chair of the IHE Mercia Branch and as a keen golfer I organise the IHE Mercia Branch annual golf day. I am the IHE’s epresentative on the Joint Board of Moderators, and, periodically, a member of the team which undertakes university visits to assess engineering degrees for professional accreditation. I am a member of the Industrial Liaison Board at Aston University, a STEM ambassador, and have just received my 100 hrs Certificate. I am also a member of the Women’s Engineering Society
(WES).

Simon White MEng CEng FIHE
Divisional Director - Highways - Dyer & Butler

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What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?

As a child of the eighties I was a Lego fanatic – never following the instructions but creating all sorts of structures, definitely a few bridges. I remember being amazed driving through the major motorway widening projects of the time, wondering at the sheer scale of human endeavour. All of this was capped off with a great two week experience designing parts for oil rigs. It was civil engineering all the way from the age of 14.

What made you join the IHE?

I am a very new member of the IHE. While I have been in the highways sector for over 20 years, I hadn’t aligned to a professional body within the sector itself. At Dyer & Butler we are encouraging our people, whatever their background, role, or career route, to consider professional development and this must start at the top. Having worked closely with current President Stephen Webb and
CEO Steve Spender in my career, it was their encouragement to explore the IHE that ultimately led me joining.

Has your professional registration benefited you and your employer?

Yes, very much so. Professional registration brings many benefits because it is industry-wide recognition of so many important attributes – professionalism, expertise, experience, values and integrity. Becoming a chartered engineer has certainly provided me with a great foundation for my career and facilitated progression. Most importantly, it has helped prepare me for the challenges and opportunities of each new role and more recently to progress to becoming a Fellow of both IHE and ICE. Similarly, for my employer Dyer & Butler, professionalism is a vital part of what we are about. Truly professional expertise is vital when delivering complex projects directly for our clients such as Highways England, Network Rail and Heathrow Airport.

What makes an organisation ‘professional’?

Well, the competence and professionalism of its people. Our success is entwined in this and that’s why we encourage and support all our engineers to pursue professional registration and continue to develop and learn. The IHE has run a ‘lunch and learn’ session for Dyer & Butler’s highways division, which has encouraged a good number of colleagues to start or restart their professional development.We are also working with IHE to deliver training modules in asphalt and traffic management to improve knowledge.

Is there any advice you would like members to take into consideration?

Actively consider and find out all you can about professional registration. Speak to those who have gone through the process. I know how daunting it can sometimes seem if you have to undertake additional study or development on top of a busy day job. But I can assure everyone it is so rewarding in so many ways to develop new skills, gain new knowledge and give yourself the best possible footing for career progression.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.

I am divisional director for Dyer & Butler’s highways division. I am responsible for leading more than 150 people who deliver highway improvement works for local authorities – mainly through 16
long-term frameworks – and for Highways England. My role entails all elements of business management including safety, financial, commercial, operations and business development. As part of the Dyer & Butler executive team I also have a role leading the wider business. I really enjoy sponsoring some of our internal best practice groups including our project management forum and our workforce engagement meetings.

Can you describe a typical working day?

It’s varied and that is why I like the job so much. I can be engaging with our frontline project teams, talking to senior clients about solving their complex challenges and working in our executive team to make our business even better – all on the same day.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

In addition to our core highways business, I am also responsible for delivering key framework contracts in our ports and power sectors, which share similar delivery skillsets. While the core scope of works is quite similar to highways, the wider approach in these sectors differs. I really enjoy the opportunity this presents for cross-sector learning.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?

It’s the old cliché but it’s true – it’s the people who make our industry so great. I am a people person and thrive on meeting terrific people who are all passionate about the importance of highways.

Tell us about one of your high profile accomplishments?

There are a few that stand out, but I think it has to be back in 2014 when I was at the frontline of the major flooding event in Somerset – supporting the county council with the immediate emergency response, the subsequent clearup and then rapid delivery of major projects to reduce further flooding and mitigate its impacts. It is some of the best collaboration I have seen in the industry. Adversity generates the best in all of us, and the COVID pandemic is no exception.

What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?

In the short-term, the greatest challenge is continuing to navigate our way through the global pandemic. In many ways, the continued spend in our sector has protected us better than some. However, it has been a challenging time for so many of our colleagues. A real concern is the lasting impact from the mental health toll the pandemic has created. At Dyer & Butler we have increased our number of trained mental health ambassadors, including each member of the executive team. We have one of our ambassadors on call at any time of the day or night in a business that operates around the clock.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

An important part of my remit is about how we can shape and bring together the capability and value offering that exists within our wider operating businesses across M Group Services; not just within the highway sector, but also our water, energy and telecom sectors. I look forward to seeing how we can develop our capability to build and maintain the digital road of the future. So, in five years, I see myself still engaged in the highway sector but also sharing some of our industry’s best practice with other sectors and vice versa.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities such as mentoring or volunteering?

I have recently been appointed chair of the new Highway Maintenance Group for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. The group has been established to represent companies delivering maintenance works in the sector – a key need since the Highways Term Maintenance Association closed last year. We are focusing on five themes that members see as industry priorities – health, safety and wellbeing, carbon neutrality, collaborative procurement, longer-term pipeline visibility and productivity. In these early stages, I am liaising closely with other industry bodies to ensure we are not duplicating effort but collaboratively supporting wider industry initiatives and change.

What do you do in your spare time?

Aside from being an avid kayaker, I have a real passion for travel and experiencing new places and cultures. I also have a love for iconic bridges and my family are very patient with me as we tick off the next structure during holidays. I have had the pleasure of crossing some of the greatest – from the Golden Gate to Sydney Harbour to Brooklyn. However, nothing compares to Brunel’s Suspension Bridge in my home city of Bristol!

Ross Bullerwell MA FSC FIHE
Lead, NY Highways Ltd

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What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I grew up on a farm and always knew I wanted to work in an outdoor industry. After short stints filling potholes and working in highways gangs as an apprentice, I went on to study further, to be more constructionfocused, and worked my way up through management positions.

What made you join the IHE?
I joined when my former colleague, Richard Hayes, became CEO and did excellent work raising the profile of the organisation.

Has membership benefited your career and did this have any benefit for your employer?
Membership has supported me in understanding the developing needs and requirements of engineers across the country. The ability to reach out to other members ensures there’s always someone who can support you in a technical way if you’re struggling with a highways challenge. Probably a cliché, but the IHE is a bit of a family. As a contractor it helped my career development and knowledge, as a supplier it provided invaluable ways to evaluate products and technologies to bring to market and as a client it has supported the sharing of best practice.

Is there any advice you would like members to take into consideration?
Not to be frightened to innovate within defined tolerances. We can’t do what we’ve always done and expect improvement. I’d also say to balance that innovation within compliance to standards
but to drive those standards forward at the same pace.

Can you describe a typical working day?
I am leading the formation of a new highway’s maintenance company, NY Highways Ltd, a teckal business wholly-owned by North Yorkshire County Council. I started my current position in September 2020 so I’m afraid a typical day has been a lot of online meetings during COVID-19. However, I have been lucky that I’ve been able to working depots too where you learn so much. NY Highways Ltd takes on the North Yorkshire County Council maintenance contract from June 2021, so the majority of this early phase has been in setting up the business, procuring contracts and putting in the foundations that will allow the business to service the roads of North Yorkshire from June.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Obviously, COVID has presented challenges to how our services are delivered on behalf of our constituents. Working from home, for example, presents practical challenges for managers.
Also, no other teckal highways company has been formed after private sector outsourcing. The challenges of setting up a business like this from scratch are considerable but the county council has invested significant resources to ensure we are ready, and the initial priority is that the public in North Yorkshire sees no difference in delivery despite the change.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
It’s exciting to be in at ground level in this managing director role. It offers me a chance to put all that I’ve learned in highways and construction over 25 years into this one project and business setup. Overall, however, I just enjoy highways and I’m passionate about its success nationally.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
Honestly, letters and titles had never meant that much to me; however, being part of a community of like-minded professionals sharing ideas and best practice has been invaluable to my learning.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Take the plunge; you’ll not be disappointed at any level of your career. Don’t be concerned about any misconceptions of snobbishness, which can be a concern to those entering highways professional bodies later in their careers and to non-university graduates. The IHE is supportive from the leadership right down through the organisation.

Tell us about a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment
As managing director I’ve taken on some projects and businesses in real need of support, to turn around downward trends or financial losses. Turning round a business, contract or project is really enjoyable to me and I love the challenge, but as I do so I also revel in the people management side, watching the growth of individuals and seeing them achieve their potential.

What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
Skills and knowledge gaps are still the biggest concern this industry faces. We’ve broadly shown in highways that we are, to an extent, recession proof but the ageing highways workforce and lack of younger entrants continues to be a concern. We often talk about this issue but I’m not seeing us moving fast enough to address the problem.

What are your ambitions and where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I know I’ll not leave highways; it’s been my career and the making of me as an individual. Towards the end of my career, I’d like to find ways to give
more back to an industry that’s supported me, but for now if I’m still operating as a managing director in highways in five years, I’ll be happy.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I am part of the LCRIG Infrastructure Innovations Board, an organisation I respect for having brought so many councils together. I see volunteering activities as day-to-day requirements of being a leader in highways. I will always look to mentor younger people in our industry and my door is always open for advice. I’m particularly passionate about apprenticeships, having been an apprentice myself, and we must continue to evolve apprenticeships into extended career paths to ensure we retain talent in the industry. Leading in highways at a relatively senior position should not be seen as an add on; it should be just part of your role.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Earlier in my highways career I was part of a charity (RTBI or Round Table as many know it) raising money for local causes, I did that for 12 years, enjoying it immensely. Nowadays I don’t get a lot of spare time, but on those odd occasions I do, I just enjoy punishing myself watching Newcastle United.

Gary Neill IEng FIHE
Area Road Engineer, Falkirk Council

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Gary is Area Road Engineer for Falkirk Council

What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I always enjoyed maths at school and problem solving. Prior to training to be an engineer I was at college doing architecture (shhh!). However, I was lucky enough to apply for a trainee scheme with Falkirk Council in civil engineering where I would learn at college and on the job.

What made you join the IHE?
I joined as a student member around 10 years ago when I began to look to professional registration through the Engineering Council. The best institute for me was the IHE as its most relevant to my line of work.

Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical day usually starts with getting woken up by a screaming toddler around 5am, then off the gym and settled down to my office desk (now at home) around 8.30/8.45. After that it is hard to define, even more so now. However, it usually involves checking in with staff and supporting them with the various ongoing projects. It also includes a host of tasks such as ensuring capital and revenue budgets are managed; ensuring performance targets are met; attendance at meetings; ensuring health and safety requirements are met; ensuring the department adheres to legislation and dealing with industrial and human resource management (not all at once). I love being busy, and I’m currently undertaking a Business Management degree at Strathclyde University.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Obviously, COVID has presented challenges to how our services are delivered on behalf of our constituents. Working from home, for example, presents practical challenges for managers.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
Working in the public sector. It is very satisfying making a difference to the communities we serve. I take great pride in seeing our projects through to completion and the positive impact that it
makes. I really enjoy solving problems and delivering solutions, especially on the drainage side of our job. I also really enjoy the fastpaced nature of the role.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
At university, I (our team) won a prize in the structural design competition and our design represented the university at the national competition. I also recently became the chair of the Scottish Branch Committee of the IHE.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
To me, it was the next logical progression in my career and my goals – as is working towards CEng now. The support and mentorship from colleagues through the process was also a factor.

In what ways has registration benefited your career?
It has made me a more confident practitioner and given me more credibility as an engineer.

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
My employer really does invest in upskilling its people and by mentoring me and others they get better engineers, as well as proving the competency of their staff.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
It’s not as daunting as you may think. Just start! The reward is worth it.

Given the current economic and environmental climate, what do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
The biggest challenge we face in the industry and the country as a whole is the dynamic situation that is COVID-19 and its impact, how its managed, and how our assets are actually used or possibly repurposed to meet users’ needs.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I am currently in the process of compiling my CEng application and I’d like to think that in five years I will have attained this. Studying business management will be very useful for my career aspirations as well I hope, and will complement my engineering degree.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I am the chair of the Scottish Branch of the IHE and regularly provide technical events for our members. I am on the national Council too and active within the professional development portfolio group, which is responsible for the professional certificates and diplomas the institute offers. I am also a reviewer at IEng level for the institute.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time personally and/ or professionally?
I am a keen musician and have played in bands since my teens. I also love watching football.

Andrew Bell MIHE
Assistant Highways Engineer, Jacobs

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Assistant Highways Engineer, Jacobs

What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?

From a young age I enjoyed helping my dad with DIY projects. I was interested in the design of objects and how they progress from conception to the finished product. This interest and passion as the driving force to becoming a civil engineer.

What made you join the IHE?

I decided to join the IHE as their values and specialisms align with my field of work as a highways engineer; allowing me to progress towards professional accreditation. The IHE has given me the opportunity to network with other professionals in a social and professional setting. I have been a member of the IHE for over two years. During this time I have joined the IHE Scottish Branch committee and recently gained a place on the National Council.

Can you describe a typical working day?

My working day can vary from being in the office to building up my step count while out and about on project sites. In the office I undertake aspects of detailed design for highways schemes, attend daily project meetings and collaborate with colleagues to produce solutions, models and drawings. On occasion when I get the opportunity to venture out of the office setting, I can be involved with road safety audits, take part in site walkovers, liaise with specialist consultants and oversee the work of contractors.

What are your future ambitions?

I am currently working towards becoming an Incorporated Engineer and would hope to achieve this in the near future with the end goal of becoming a Chartered Engineer.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?

I endeavour to promote and inspire the younger generation to engage in the industry through my role as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ambassador and as a mentor for university students and apprentices.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time personally and/or professionally?

In my spare time I can usually be found exploring the outdoors either by foot, bike or kayak – my camera is always in hand to showcase the moment!

Oliver Appleby
Student Member undertaking a year-in-industry

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As a university student undertaking a year-in-industry with Local Transport Projects (LTP), I am working on a range of different projects from access design to modelling. Regular work includes preliminary access designs, swept path analyses and active travel projects. My role at LTP is to gain as much knowledge as I can about the various types of work we do and develop good working practices.

What degree are you enrolled in?

I am enrolled in Civil Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University.

What pointed you to an engineering career?

Engineering has been something that I have always been interested in, from building bridges and tunnels in sandpits when I was young. Additionally, when attending the university open day, the civil engineering course was described as ‘Lego’ which, having always enjoyed repurposing models so they never stay as originally intended, appealed to me.

Can you describe a typical working day?

Typically this involves project briefings/meetings, working on drawings, helping colleagues with technical issues and completing odd jobs.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

Being new to the industry means there is frequent referencing and reading of the many guidance documents, e.g. DMRB, TSRGD and TSM, when commencing new projects. Especially true when
challenging access designs are required to fit with existing road layout and geometry.

What is most enjoyable about your job?

The variety of types of work, especially the projects that make you stop and think.

What made you join the IHE?

I joined the IHE as a Student Member in September 2017 at the start of my university degree. I have now been a member for two and a half years.

Have you considered becoming Professionally Registered?

I am in the process of becoming Professionally Registered at EngTech level.

Is there any advice you would pass on to anyone considering Professional Registration?

Do it – the hardest part is getting started.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five year’s time?

I will have finished my degree and be working towards becoming chartered as well as learning the ropes to become a Road Safety Auditor.

Do you participate in any other career related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?

I volunteer as Student Council Member on the IHE Council and am part of the North West Branch Committee.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time personally and/or professionally?

Outside of work I can frequently be found volunteering at charity events, such as International Scout Jamborees as well as competing in running events.

Stephen Webb
IEng FIHE

IHE President and Associate at WSP

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Stephen, who recently took office as President of the IHE, is an associate at WSP and commission manager for the Somerset County Council Professional Services Contract, where he is responsible for day-to-day management of delivering highway and transportation services to the council and partners.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

My talents at school were focused around art and technical. I therefore began as a draughtsman in the field of wastewater engineering, before the days of AutoCAD, where parallel motions and maintaining pens were the challenges of the day. Later in my career, an opportunity arose to work in the highways sector on local safety scheme delivery within my home county of Somerset. It as here I felt I was making a difference in delivering improvement schemes which directly benefited the community.

Can you describe a typical working day?

Working within this ‘new normal’, my day is often spent with headset in place and various calls and meetings ongoing. This can sometimes be a challenge when my toddler is keen to join! I lead WSP’s Taunton team and head delivery on a number of highway improvement schemes within Somerset. My IHE presidency brings new challenges and I aim to lead the Institute through these testing times.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

My role as IHE President and as commission manager will present unforeseen challenges which will require immediate and effective action. The pandemic requires an ability for us all to adapt, ensuring we continue to succeed in ensuring our industry and communities remain strong and resilient through these exceptional times.

Tell us about a professional achievement

My appointment as President of the Institute is one of my significant achievements within my career and I consider this a great honour. The support and good wishes I’ve received since my presidency was announced has been fantastic and I’m looking forward to leading the IHE for the next two years.

When did you join the IHE?

I joined the IHE in 2007 while also member of the ICE. From this point on I knew that the IHE was my institution of choice.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?

I have been fortunate to work for a number of professional organisations who have proactively promoted registration. This, coupled with outstanding mentors throughout my development, encouraged me to become professionally recognised.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?

The first steps are invariably the hardest to take but once you begin to produce your submission, momentum is a great helper. Professional registration provides many opportunities and I would highly recommend becoming a committee member of your local branch or serving on the National Council.

Craig Roberts
CEng FIHE

Senior Product and Application Technology Manager, Tensar International

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Craig is the senior product and application technology manager at Tensar International Ltd. His primary role is to act as both technical and product lead for Tensar’s uniaxial geogrids, which are used to form reinforced soil retaining walls and slopes for use in many sectors, including highways and rail. His job is to help colleagues and engineers to understand the long-established benefits of using such geogrids, which are proven through research and practice to deliver significant savings in terms of carbon footprint, time and money.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

My answer is similar to most engineers. I always wanted to build, break, and fix things from a very young age. As I got older, I wanted to learn how to design and build things safely, so they didn’t break, and I didn’t have to fix them (as I often had to). As I progressed through school and higher education, I decided I wanted a career in engineering.

Can you describe a typical working day?

That’s difficult but five words probably sum a typical day up enjoyable, rewarding, varied, fast and challenging.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

The biggest challenge I often come across is getting commercial people at contractors to understand how using geosynthetics on highways delivers savings and that it is not just about reading a line item on a bill of quantities – they need to consider other factors. For example, the cost of a geogrid can be more than offset by the reduction in aggregate required, with the added benefits of reducing the programme, the number of delivery vehicles and whole project carbon savings. Unusual? I suppose working on projects in Wolfsberg, Warsaw and Wigan at the same time may seem unusual to some people.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?

I have always enjoyed both learning new things, which happens pretty much on a daily basis, and also training and teaching others about subjects I have some knowledge on.

Why did you join the IHE?

I wanted to be associated with a body that aligned with my career, and even though my current role includes more than highways, it felt like it was the right fit. I joined around 12 years ago at the FIHE level.

Is there a professional achievement that you would like to tell us about?

I have two. I was really proud to become a chartered engineer (it was a career goal) and to become the UK registered ground engineering professional.

In what ways has professional registration benefited your career?

It has allowed me to keep moving forward within Tensar. Registration of employees gives Tensar greater credibility. I am also encouraged to pass on my knowledge and give support to less experienced engineers, which I am more than happy to do.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?

Just do it! You should see it as part of your natural career path, not an extra. It guides you to becoming a better all-round engineer/technician and encourages you to look at your strengths and weaknesses, and where you need to focus on improvements. I would add that it is also important to set yourself further challenges once the process is complete, it can leave you with a strange feeling of ‘what now?’ after the hard work has been done. Given the current economic and environmental climate, what do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry 2020 is becoming a year that will never be forgotten. The UK construction industry is robust enough to bounce back, but there will be bumps and obstacles along the way that we will have to overcome together. It will be even more important in the future for our industry to work together to identify smart ways of working, and also to identify how to use our natural resources in ways that give best value for money and minimise our impact on the environment. In terms of projects, HS2 will not only bring benefits to the rail sector but should also be a boost to the highways industry, because of all the associated infrastructure needed, for the next 10 years. However, a bigger challenge will be to find enough people with the right expertise and experience to do the jobs required. We need to encourage younger people into our industry – they will become those people over time.

Do you participate in any other career related activities?

I am a committee member in the IHE North West branch, which a group of us helped to resurrect in 2018. This involves a number of annual activities, including CPD events, STEM events and similar. I also try and support colleagues through professional registration.

Marshel Weerakone MEng CEng FIHE
Project Manager, Highways England's New Scheme Delivery Framework

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Marshel is the project manager for Highways England’s new Scheme Delivery Framework (SDF), responsible for ensuring the £3.6bn capital delivery framework contract is developed and ready to be rolled out for its November 2021 go-live date.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

Initially I wanted to be a pilot but I lost interest in that and set my ambitions on becoming a civil engineer. I was naturally good with numbers, particularly the application of mechanics and use of equations so that, combined with my desire to see more of the world, seemed like a natural fit.

Can you describe a typical working day?

A typical day for me involves engaging with operational staff across the regions to understand any issues they have with the existing contracts and looking to resolve that through contractual amendments. I spend a lot of time working with colleagues, developing design and construction contracts so they are better aligned with our Asset Delivery model.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

Not only am I delivering the largest ever framework for Operations, but it is also a national framework. The majority of capital works contracts are let across Highways England via its 12 areas so a key challenge is to ensure the first national contract meets all areas’ needs and facilitates a consistent way of working.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?

The fast-paced nature of the work. Requests for contract and/or operational changes are constant as we’re continuously looking to improve how we deliver work.

What made you join the IHE?

I joined following my move to Highways England. I had built up a wealth of experience as a consultant working in the office and on site for both public and private sector clients. I wanted to take the next step in my career and become professionally qualified.

Tell us about a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment

In 2018 I won the ICE North West Emerging Engineer Award. This was for leading in developing and implementing the management of newly identified structures. A large UK water company required expertise in identifying the location of over 150 bridges and developing a risk-based approach to the renewal of the assets. As technical lead, I undertook over 90 operational safety assessments and 100 general bridge inspections.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?

I was fortunate enough to have spent all of my professional career working in teams with professionally qualified colleagues. The support and mentorship they provided was invaluable and played key part in me pursuing professional registration.

In what ways has registration benefited your career?

Becoming a chartered engineer has provided me with the confidence to tackle more complex engineering contract issues. I can see a lot more opportunities available to me if I wish to pursue a change from managing contracts.

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?

Highways England welcomes chartered engineers as it demonstrates the competency of staff and they are keen to put those staff in more responsible roles.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?

Don’t be put off by the volume of work that is needed for the application process. The reward is worth the effort.

Given the current economic and environmental climate, what do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?

The biggest challenge for the industry is still the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings. A lot of local authority roads and major routes, as well as Network Rail, may need to determine new processes for forecasting future passenger numbers; this will impact on whether new schemes are really required or not.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time?

My aim is to be leading on more complex projects. It would be good to be at the coalface again, either developing or constructing schemes on site.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?

I’m currently chair of the Joint Institutions Group, having held the position for nearly three years. The role is really exciting as it involves working with the main engineering institutions in the North West. We arrange engineering workshops for students interested in pursuing a career in engineering. Last year we had over 400 students from over 40 schools attend.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time personally and/ or professionally?

I’m a keen scuba diver and traveller so plan a couple of trips throughout the year.

Katharine Kelly
CEng FIHE

Principal Engineer, Highways Team, Jacobs

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Katharine is a principal engineer within the highways team of Jacob’s Glasgow office, alongside around 150 others. She is the resource manager for around 70 people, direct line manager for seven and is responsible for overseeing the technical traffic sign and road marking design on major highway schemes.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

At school I enjoyed maths and sciences but didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do for a career. I was advised to study Civil Engineering as it was a good broad degree, which would give me lots of opportunities and options for careers once I graduated, which has definitely turned out to be the case.

Can you describe a typical working day?

A typical working day starts with dropping my two daughters off at primary school, before jumping on the bus into town. I’m lucky to have a really easy commute to the office and I tend to arrive just after 9am. I’m currently working with a design team in Calcutta so mornings will be spent on Skype meetings going over design issues and getting project updates. Then after lunch I’ll probably try and focus on report writing or answering emails. This week I am having goal setting meetings with my team so will sit down for one-to-ones between 4.30pm and 6pm.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

I’m the resourcing manager for around 70 members of the highways team and this role brings me the most challenges; keeping everyone busy (but not overloaded) while providing a variety of design work for graduates and those working towards professional review. Ensuring that people get the chance to do some on-the-job training can be really tricky, but very rewarding.

Tell us about a professional achievement

My claim to fame is that I designed the signs for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games – around 800 bright pink signs that directed athletes, officials and dignitaries between venues. I even managed to keep hold of one afterwards – it’s currently hanging in my kitchen.

Why did you join the IHE?

It was the IHE’s approach to getting chartered, which appealed to me, as did the opportunity to specialise in different highway design elements (traffic signs, in my case). I joined as a member in 2017 and immediately set about preparing my portfolio for professional review, for which I received lots of help and encouragement from the local branch.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?

I was carrying out a performance review for an apprentice and he started asking me about which professional body he should join and what would be his best route to getting qualifications. It was a bit of a lightning bolt moment for me; people had been nagging me to get chartered for years but it wasn’t until I was trying to help someone else on that journey that I realised it would be a huge advantage to be able to speak from experience. I signed up to the IHE that night and went along to a branch event a couple of weeks later.

In what ways has registration benefited your career?

I was promoted, given a pay rise and made a team leader. Being chartered has allowed me to work in more senior roles for clients who can demand professionally qualified employees. Becoming a team leader was a huge deal for me as I’ve always enjoyed helping others in their careers, and watching others grow in their roles is really rewarding.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?

Just bite the bullet and go for it. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Find yourself a mentor who can coach you through the process and prepare to spend a couple of months working late to gather evidence for your portfolio. If you don’t know where to start, pick the easy things like gathering CPD logs and updating your CV.

Given the current economic and environmental climate, what do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry

I think we need to be looking at more innovative ways of working with our existing infrastructure to allow it to operate more flexibly and efficiently. We may not be able to build as many new roads as we have in the past, but the skills of highways and transportation professionals will be even more in demand to enhance the operation of our current networks, making them safer and increasing integration between different travel modes.

Richard Harman
IEng FIHE

Engineering Services Lead, Berrys

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Richard is the engineering services lead for Berrys – a land, property and planning consultancy. His work involves supporting the delivery of developments, both through the planning process and for the back-end design of new highway and drainage infrastructure.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

My father is a mechanical engineer and during my childhood I always took interest in his job designing and building car production lines; I always remember thinking how cool it was that my dad worked with robots. I originally wanted to go into automotive or motorsport engineering, but it was my father who encouraged me to pursue a career in civil engineering due to the stability of the industry. Seventeen years on I still have no regrets and am thankful for his good advice.

Can you describe a typical working day?

The day will normally start off with dealing with a few emails and updating clients on project progress, as well as talking through the workload priorities with the team. I’ll then focus on my own project work, which could be anything from writing a transport statement, designing a new access road, through to carrying out flood risk assessments and designing SuDS and foul drainage schemes. Our workload is very varied, so we have to be adaptable.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

Given we’re a smaller consultancy, we have to carry out many roles. As the service lead I am responsible for managing the team finances and invoicing, writing project scopes, meeting potential clients as well as looking after our existing clients, managing compliance and welfare and finding the time to actually deliver projects.

Tell us about a professional achievement

I previously worked at WSP on the Shropshire Council term contract and during that time I was the design lead for a large package of public realm enhancement schemes in Shrewsbury town centre, including the main pedestrianised shopping street, Pride Hill. We’d completed the design of the package prior to my move to Berrys and the schemes are still being built today. It’s satisfying to see my previous work coming to fruition in my home town.

Why did you join the IHE?

I’ve spent much of my career working in road safety and traffic engineering, which I feel are very well represented by the IHE. Previously I’d been a member of both the ICE and the CIHT, but I didn’t feel our area of the industry was as well represented by the other organisations. So I joined the IHE in 2008 with a view to working towards Incorporated Engineer status via the individual route, which I eventually completed in 2018.

In what ways has registration benefited your career?

I’ve been able to move from a senior engineer position to where I am now – responsible for starting and growing a new engineering service. My move to Berrys would not have been possible without being registered.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?

It’s easy to get in the mindset that you have a mountain to climb when starting out, but it’s not as much work as you think. I’d urge people to get in touch with their local IHE branch and/or the main IHE team for advice, as there’s a lot of help out there. Once you start work on your submission, it really does start to feel much more straightforward.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I spend a lot of time out walking with my wife, Hannah, and our dog, Betty. Music plays a big part in my life and I’ve been a DJ since my teenage years. I play a number of venues around Shrewsbury. The biggest draw on my time is probably my involvement in motor racing, as my childhood best friend James and I race together with the Classic Sports Car Club. We both have cars we’ve self-prepared and we do a handful events each year and have even raced at SpaFrancorchamps, which was a huge ‘pinch me’ moment for both of us.

Do you participate in any other careerrelated activities, such as mentoring or volunteering?

I’m presently the chair of the IHE Mercia Branch so I’m actively involved with arranging CPD events and our annual awards evening in the West Midlands. I also mentor a number of people for IEng. I’ve previously been a STEM Ambassador and have worked with quite a few schools around Shropshire to offer careers advice and to inspire our next generation of young engineers, but unfortunately, I struggle to find the time for this at present. I also enjoy speaking at conferences to deliver training to other professionals.

Carl Skelton
CEng FIHE

Group Manager, Highway Maintenance Services, East Riding of Yorkshire Council

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Carl is group manager for highway maintenance services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council. He is responsible for dayto-day highway maintenance of the council’s 3,550km network, including frontline operational staff, area engineering teams and environmental highway enforcement

What inspired you to become an engineer?

Probably my dad, who is a retired mechanic. He certainly influenced me in terms of being technically minded with an interest in finding out how things work, how things can be fixed and how things can be made better. I have also got a keen interest in all things DIY and how things are built from him, which attracted me to the opportunities in civil engineering.

Can you describe a typical working day?

If only! It’s a very varied role. In among the usual emails, meetings and responsibility for around 130 staff, I can be working on maintenance or income budgets, looking at a new maintenance process or piece of plant that could save us money, planning future funding bids, or our response to flooding, all in the same day.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?

There are many challenges associated with managing the maintenance of a large rural network. Having said that, I face the same challenges as most managers in similar roles across the country. I do often find it fascinating that we are all essentially trying to achieve the same thing across the UK’s 240,000 miles of local highway network, but all within different staffing structures, political
structures, funding and contract arrangements. Essentially we are trying to keep an ageing network safe and serviceable for highways users, with limited resources and increasing use and expectations.

Tell us about some of your career highlights

During recent years I’ve been involved in planning and managing highway operations and traffic aspects of large scale public events, including the UCI World Cycling Championships held in Yorkshire last year, the BBC Radio One Big Weekend in 2017 and the Tour de Yorkshire Cycle Race each year since 2015. Being part of creating successful events for fans and experiencing their enjoyment is really rewarding, as is the huge feeling of relief once a successful event is over.

Why did you join the IHE?

I joined what was called SCET (Society of Civil Engineering Technicans) many, many years ago. Then I joined the IHIE (as it was known) as a student and progressed to member level. I joined the IHE because I felt it represented the highway engineering genre of civil engineering best. I think being part of an organisation sharing relevant information across the sector is important. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of professionally registered engineers in the early part of my career who certainly influenced my progress and passed on their knowledge. This recognition in
our relatively specialist area was important to me.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?

Try to set a goal date and go for it. We all have other pressures in life but you do need to set aside some time. Also, try to find someone who achieved registration already as they can share their experience and tips as well as check your submission, presentation etc. Guidance is always available from the IHE too.

Do you participate in any other career-related activities?

I’m a council member of the IHE and lead on the professional development portfolio. I chair the Northern Direct Managers Group and also sit on the ADEPT Engineering Board, I’m also involved in a local charity as a trustee. I mentor staff within my organisation looking to gain professional registration and have also begun to review chartered engineer applicants in my field on behalf of the IHE.

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