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Competition for this year's Civil Engineering Manager of the Year was universally acknowledged as the toughest yet in the award's seven year history.

The revamped format saw an initial 12 strong shortlist whittled down to a five man final - it would have been four had the shortlisting panel not reached impass. It drew the best managers from the best projects in construction.

Chairman of the judging panel, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers Mark Whitby, spoke on behalf of all the judges when he explained how hard it had been to choose a winner from the five strong finalists.

'These are the future leaders of the industry, ' he said, pointing out that much of the culture change described and driven by each candidate was crucial to revealing the potential of the industry in the future.

Whitby promised that the ICE-backed competition would be repeated again next year and vowed to look at ways to continue increasing the profile of winners.

Past president, and force behind the competition David Cawthra, echoed this desire to build on this year's successes. 'This competition should be the inspiration for young engineers to be the best managers as well as the best engineers, ' he said. 'Civil engineers actually do make the best managers.'

As in past years, many of the finalists had found themselves thrust into the competition by their bosses or peers. Modesty and commitment to the team clearly makes it difficult for the best to step forward, creating a priority for all firms to highlight, encourage and recognise their future leaders.

However, Cawthra urged all the finalists to take the message of their success around the industry and beyond to help inspire construction's future by explaining their experiences and motivations.

INFOPLUS For details of the award and information about how you can enter next year's competition, contact John Bennett at the ICE on (020) 7665 2205

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