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Countdown to the final: part two

Events Civil engineering manager of the year

Today NCE reviews another six of the 12 engineers shortlisted for ICE's Civil Engineering Manager of the Year Award 2002.

A shortlist of four from the 12 will be chosen this week by the CEMYA panel chaired by former ICE vice president David Cawthra.

These four will make presentations in person to the judging team at the ICE on 19 November.

They are competing for the CEMYA 2002 medal and a cash prize of £5,000 from main sponsor Laing O'Rourke. The winner will also receive a £2,000 education and training grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering. The three runners up each receive £1,000.

Finalists will face a judging team chaired by Adrian Long, ICE president 2002/03, and including:

Ray O'Rourke, of O'Rourke Ltd; Tim Matthews, chief executive of the Highways Agency; Bob Emmerson, chairman of Arup; and Cawthra.

CEMYA's key sponsors include the ICE, Movement for Innovation, The Chartered Management Institute and NCE. All have had a major input to the competition.

DAVID LOWTHER

Position: Project manager

Company: Birse Civils

The job: Leading the design and build team on £45M worth of round the clock operations for the Leeds 1st scheme - refurbishing and constructing platforms and all associated works including the main access footbridge in Leeds station and upgrading five city centre rail bridges.

Safety is the prime consideration for Dave Lowther in delivering a phased programme of bridge and station refurbishment on a site used by 30,000 passengers an hour at peak travel periods.

Lowther's team of 25 staff and 60 operatives has to work to an exacting programme under very congested conditions within the fully operational station at Leeds where four other main contractors are also working on different aspects of the overall £250M upgrading scheme.

Scope of his work expanded from an initial £16M project to £45M and a close involvement in strategy planning of the entire station scheme. Eight phased completion dates have been achieved and the performance of an initially demoralised team transformed to excellent.

TUSHAR PRABHU

Position: Director

Company: Frischmann Prabhu (India)

The job: Setting up and leading a 'distance engineering' design team in India - initially 10 strong working on building projects for Pell Frischmann and now expanded to 80 delivering a 24/7 service direct to clients worldwide for building, water and highway engineering.

A key challenge for Tushar Prabhu when he set up his team in 1999 was overcoming scepticism and the not-invented-here prejudice against an 'engineering direct' IT and internet-based design bureau.

Prabhu set about recruiting and training staff with an international standards culture. They had to be motivated to deliver work on a 24 hour turnaround, making use of time zone differences but also working seven days when required.

Success of the project, based on an 800m 2air conditioned office in Mumbai with a substantial and continuing investment in IT and high speed internet connectivity, can be measured by projects such as an 80km highway in Jamaica, six new clients in the UK, US and France and discussions with others in Singapore and Holland.

TOM ROWE

Position: Waterway manager

Company: British Waterways

The job: Setting up and leading the team which delivered the £55M project to reopen the Huddersfield Narrow and Rochale Canals that were shut in the 1940s and now form a navigable Trans-Pennine ring.

Tom Rowe had first to recruit a team of 50 staff including civil engineers, ecologists, surveyors, mechanical engineers, accountants, a landscape artist and environmental scientist. Only a quarter of these came from within British Waterways.

Their task was to manage construction work and complete half the design and supervision work directly while employing consultants for the remainder.

Re-establishing the derelict canals involved major engineering at 35 different sites. Work included excavating 400m of new tunnel under mills at Huddersfield, entirely new construction to replace 850m of canal built over at Stalybridge, intricate repairs and strengthening to Standege canal tunnel - Britain's longest, highest and deepest below ground level - and building crossings at the M62 and A627M.

VSN SYAMBABU

Position: Associate and UAE project manager

Company: Mott MacDonald

The job: Assemble and lead a team including 45 technical staff of 12 nationalities reviewing the designs of three desalination projects with a capital cost of £475M in the UAE and Oman, and carrying out site supervision and project management of the two UAE plants.

As project manager for the UAE plants, VSN Syambabu worked closely with client ADWEA evaluating and negotiating contracts with construction firms from Japan, Korea, Europe and the US. Technical documents from the contractors had to be reviewed within five days and round the clock site supervision supplied by the team be established.

Rapid resolution of issues was required to eliminate claims and delays. The plants, UANB and MirfaB, were delivered to budget and produced water in the record time of 12 months.

Concurrently the team carried out design reviews on the IWPP project at Barka, the largest build own and operate power and desalinisation project in Oman.

RICHARD WALKER

Position: Regional director

Company: John Mowlem & Company

The job: Building and leading the team which completed the A500 Basford Hough Shavington Bypass early after refusing to accept that access delays caused by foot and mouth disease would force a year's postponement to the launch of a critical five span bridge across the West Coast Main Line.

Launching the steel railway bridge, which is the major structure of the Basford Hough Shavington Bypass, could only be done in a lengthy Christmas holiday possession of the West Coast Main Line. When foot and mouth disease delayed the start of site works, the originally planned Christmas 2001 possession looked unachievable.

Richard Walker would not accept this and worked with his own Mowlem/Babtie Consortium, steelwork subcontractor Fairfield Mabey, client the Highways Agency, and English Nature to speed up the work once foot and mouth restrictions were eased.

Close co-operation with English Nature was particularly vital because great crested newts, white clawed crayfish and water voles all had to be translocated before foundation construction could begin. The launch started at 00.01 am on Christmas Day 2001 and was completed the next day.

PAUL WILLIAMS

Position: Divisional director

Company: Geoffrey Osborne

The job: Set up and lead contractor Osborne's design and build construction partnership with RT (née Railtrack) carrying out work with a value of £15M-£20M per annum on properties and structures of the Southern Region.

Paul Williams was part of the team that negotiated and won a framework contract from RT in March 2001 with a term of two years renewable to five. Now he is director of the Construction Partnership which is a separate entity within the Osborne Group.

He espouses the benefits of cooperative working, professionalism, synergy and openness in the railway milieu where the realities of railway operations and safety dominate all construction and maintenance activity.

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