The Midlands has a plethora of famous engineers with Watt, Brindley, Telford and Hawksley to name a few.
Building on its industrial heritage, the Midlands is gearing itself up to become one of the great regions of England that will help drive our economy forward. So who is the leading force that has the ability to take on this responsibility and make the technological advances required to push us into the next age? Well as you may have guessed it’s us; members of the ICE and the wider built environment profession.
The Institution is more than a group of people; it is an organisation of dedicated, passionate, motivated and incredible engineers who are transforming this country and the world on a daily basis. There are individuals who can change the world, but they are few and far between. A group of people is much more powerful.
There are also the visionaries who see, before the rest of us, where technology is going and how it will transform the built environment. Sometimes we have to be prepared to step outside our comfort zone and follow these leaders. We survive by adapting to the unknown; if we have great leaders and common values this can be achieved.
Nationally the ICE has demonstrated this ability to unite our industries’ expert knowledge through the recent formation of the Brexit Infrastructure Group, led by Sir John Armitt. Also, through the recent member ballot to broaden our Associate Member grade. This will enable the ICE to offer its world class knowledge and thought leadership to a wider section of the built environment, and in turn, use its wider knowledge to better understand the environment in which we are operating.
Here in the Midlands, the ICE has been working with our built environment colleagues for several years on joint debates and prestige lectures. We are looking to continue this collaboration with upcoming lectures on Hinkley, innovations in rail and the legacy of the NASA Kepler Mission.
Standing on our solid foundations, the Midlands is firmly looking to the future. The ICE is supporting the Midlands Connect partnership, which is developing a transport strategy that identifies the major infrastructure projects needed to improve the connectivity of our region’s key locations. The development of regional infrastructure strategies is one of the main recommendations in the ICE’s recent State of the Nation: Devolution report. In fact, we will be hosting a panel discussion on this topic at the Highways UK conference at Birmingham’s NEC in November. Augmented reality is the new building information modelling, and we are also delivering a training course on this for members in October.
The future is not for this generation though; we have also been championing engineering to our up and coming young professionals through supporting the Great Central Railway “Bridge to the future” project (www.gcrailway.co.uk/unify/), working with Tomorrow’s Engineers to deliver engineering fairs and representing built environment professionals on the High Speed 2 Jobs & Skills project group in Birmingham.
All in all, the future is bright and it’s burning even brighter in ICE Midlands.
- Molly McKenzie is ICE Midlands regional director