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Energy boost

Names & Faces Richard Coakley

Getting engineers involved in developing energy policy is the aim of White Young Green's Richard

The lure of playing an active role in getting civil engineers and civil engineering issues noticed by government proved irresistible for Richard Coakley, White Young Green's new north west regional managing director.

Coakley is charged with bringing together the firm's energy capabilities under one roof and using his influence to try and shape government thinking on Britain's long-term energy needs. He is ideally qualified, having worked around the world on major energy schemes, including a giant hydro project in Pakistan. Previously he was MD of Utilities at Mouchel Parkman where he was responsible for its energy, gas, environmental, water and municipal waste management work.

Coakley's main task is to make some noise. 'White Young Green has lots of clever engineering in-house and deserves to have more credibility and credence.

Now it is being given a voice by government policy, ' he says, referring to its recent energy review.

'Now is the time that engineering really matters and there is some serious, high-level input to be had. That's what White Young Green has asked me to make happen.'

Coakley has identied the new National Institute of Energy Technologies (NIET) as the place to start.

The ICE has also identied the NIET as a priority. And Coakley is well placed to influence, having recently been nominated as vice president. His ICE remit is to improve the Institution's engagement internationally. This is also a convenient fit with White Young Green, which is looking overseas.

'We don't bring enough international expertise back into the UK. The world is changing fast. China is putting out 650,000 engineering graduates every year. Where are they going to work?

'Africa has lots of natural resource and it's going to get developed. But by whom?'

Q&A Richard Coakley

Career highlight: Major re-routing of the River Indus in Pakistan for a 1,600MW hydropower project that avoided building a nuclear installation on the Afghanistan, China and Pakistan border.

Career lowlight: Not being given the chance to turn around Binnie's when it became Black & Veatch.

Most amazing fact: That from November I will become a vice president of the ICE. Not many people know that.

Thing I would save if the house was on fire: I play double bass, so it would be that (after the wife and children).

Role model: Richard Feynman, the double Nobel prizewinner, who created nuclear power after the Second World War and analysed the o-ring on the Space Shuttle.

Favourite place: I put the water supply into the Maldives.

That was three years in paradise.

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