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ICE Elect 2009: North West candidates

Elections to ICE Council are once again underway; making it that time when members get their say on who should help lead their institution.

There are 9 vacancies to be filled. 3 of these are for regional members representing Northern Ireland, the North West and South West to be elected by Corporate and Technician Members with voting rights in those regions . There are 3 candidates for the 1 North West regional member vacancy.

NCE asked the candidates some questions on the burning issues. Find out their views in the following profiles.

David Connolly

David Connolly

David Connolly

Regional director, Halcrow

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Over my career I have been involved in many interesting and diverse projects that have been challenging in different ways.  I find it impossible to select any one of these projects or any single achievement as being the highlight of my career so far.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the profession?

As tedious as it may sound, I still believe that our biggest challenge is raising the profile of civil engineers within our society so that we can enjoy similar standing to that of most of our overseas colleagues within their respective countries.

What do you consider to be the greatest innovation in the history of engineering?

Surely the greatest innovations are the invention of the wheel and the idea of banging two stones together to create fire!  More recently I would suggest that the initiative to combine steel and concrete in construction must rate as one of the best innovations in the history of engineering.

Which do you think is the most important infrastructure project currently underway and why?

I believe that the schools and academies frameworks are currently the most important infrastructure projects as these facilities are vital to improving education standards, which should ultimately improve society as a whole.

What single thing would you want to improve about ICE?

I would want to improve ties between the Institution and the general public in order to raise awareness of, and encourage participation in, engineering projects that affect local communities.  Educating the public in “what we do” is a positive step towards raising the profile of civil engineering in general.

What do you think ICE should focus on in influencing government?

Contrary to the views of the Chief Scientific Adviser, I believe that the ICE should focus its efforts in convincing the government to appoint a Chief Engineering adviser.  I also think that the ICE should have an active role in the selection process for this position to ensure that the successful candidate is passionate about engineering and not simply a figurehead to pay lip-service to the government.

How do you think all the engineering institutions could work more closely together?

In representing civil engineering as a whole I believe that the ICE has a leading role to play in encouraging the sharing of knowledge, and possibly resources, with and between those institutions that represent more specific branches of civil engineering.  A close working relationship will be essential should the government choose to appoint a chief engineer.

What one impact do you think Council can have on how the Institution is run?

In setting the policies of the Institution Council already has the power to influence the way the Institution is run, the question is does it need to?  This undoubtedly needs to be considered by Council from time-to-time.

How would you persuade more graduate engineers to become qualified?

Many graduate engineers want to become qualified as they understand the benefits that it brings in terms of status within the industry; however, I believe that our ability to encourage more engineers to become chartered is inexorably linked to our perceived status in society and we must therefore continue to strive for improvement in this area.

How would you promote the value of CPD?

It is essential for every professional to continue to develop expertise throughout their career.  In promoting this, I think it is important to avoid over-emphasis on the term “CPD” and instead encourage engineers to be inquisitive and question all aspects of their work.  This approach will lead to natural professional development throughout their careers.

 

Philip Parker 

Philip Parker

Philip Parker

Associate, Byrom Clarke Roberts

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The re-alignment of the Rochdale Canal beneath the M62 motorway.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the profession?

Ensuring there is a succession of new engineers into the profession.

What do you consider to be the greatest innovation in the history of engineering?

The arch.

Which do you think is the most important infrastructure project currently underway and why?

The Olympic Stadium complex because it demonstrates AGAIN that civil engineers can design and build to program and budget.

What single thing would you want to improve about ICE?

To be more politically aware.

What do you think ICE should focus on in influencing government?

That future power generation cannot just appear out of nowhere.  We have to act now.

What one impact do you think Council can have on how the Institution is run?

By more regular input into NCE to demonstrate what Council is doing.

How would you persuade more graduate engineers to become qualified?

Because the qualification is recognised worldwide and demonstrates a high level of professional competence.

How would you promote the value of CPD?

It is a necessary function of being a civil engineer. Therefore, its ‘value’ should be quantifiable by making it mandatory.

 

Tilak Peiris

Tilak Peiris

Tilak Peiris

Team leader, Environment Agency

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight and most rewarding work that I have ever embarked in my career was to plan and construct 50 new homes within 100 days and handing the keys to the surviving Tsunami victim families. This was work done using my leave and voluntary donations amounting to £140,000 from my family and friends.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the profession?

To constantly adapt to the changing business/political environment and entrenching ourself at the heart of the society, while maintaining focus on delivering sustainable development.

What do you consider to be the greatest innovation in the history of engineering? 

I consider the development of the air liner and the air travel have had the most impact on the world as a whole, making the business/people/money go round the world.

Which do you think is the most important infrastructure project currently underway and why?  

Britain’s Transport Infrastructure High Speed Two − to help consider the case for new high speed services from London to Scotland. These have the potential to deliver valuable economic, environmental and social benefits.

What single thing would you want to improve about ICE?

Improve ‘member participation’ in all ICE activities.

What do you think ICE should focus on in influencing government?

Improving the a real lack of engineering expertise in government - working closely with the government to ensure that the profession is placed at the heart of the policy making process.

How do you think all the engineering institutions could work more closely together?

Establish a closer co-operation ‘task force’ consisting of members from the main institutions, with a remit to raise awareness of the industry and to promote the contribution of the professions to the economic recovery.

What one impact do you think Council can have on how the Institution is run?

Identifying key areas where improvements are necessary and establishing criteria for measuring success in the chosen areas.

How would you persuade more graduate engineers to become qualified?

By proving to them that the support is available for them to progress by providing enough mentoring capacity, show casing role models, encouraging employers (specially the major institutions) to provide opportunities.

How would you promote the value of CPD?

Institution could do more to communicate with members about CPD (what it is and its value). Aassessing achievement will help ensure focusing upon outputs (what is achieved that improves competence) rather than just inputs (such as how time is spent on each activity).

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