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ICE Elect 2009: South 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 South West regional member vacancy.

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

Richard Fish

Richard Fish

Richard Fish

Director, Richard Fish

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Two different aspects: i) the technical highlight was to be the project manager on the award winning Tamar suspension bridge assessment, strengthening and widening from 1994 to 2002 ii) On the managerial side, I was director of a multi disciplined professional department in Cornwall County Council for 7 years.

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

Demonstrating that Civil Engineering can not only embrace the wider challenges of global sustainability and climate change but also be a key player in informing the mitigation and adaptation policy decisions that will need to be taken in the next few years.

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

 It is impossible to identify a single innovation because innovation itself is part of what engineering is all about. We are always (literally) building on the successes of past generations, learning from their mistakes and seeking to do things more efficiently and more sustainably.

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

The Olympic package as a whole. There has never been such a show piece that will attract international attention (and potential criticism). The reputation of the UK and our construction industry is at stake.

What single thing would you want to improve about ICE?

ICE’s engagement and involvement with the wider membership: To paraphrase JFK, to see every member thinking not what the Institution can do for them but what they can do for the Institution.

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

There is a potential policy vacuum in the areas of sustainability and climate change. I believe ICE can add an objective and pragmatic influence in key areas such as energy, transport and waste management whilst recognizing the need for continued economic prosperity.

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

Continuing dialogue at a strategic level to decide on shared approaches in key areas and to determine which body should lead and which should support so that a coordinated approach is taken, and a clear message can be given.

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

Council can lead by example on the issue of member engagement by ensuring that ongoing debate is well communicated and that decisions and outcomes are seen as coming from the whole Institution and not just from Council.

How would you persuade more graduate engineers to become qualified?

The benefits of becoming qualified need to be made clear not just to individual engineers but also to their employers. This has to start at the earliest possible opportunity, at undergraduate level and in training schemes where the importance of professional qualification and ICE membership should be made clear to student engineers.

How would you promote the value of CPD?

Again by emphasising the need for CPD at academic institutions and employing organizations and to make it part of the ethos of continuous learning. I believe the ICE should look at the IStructE approach with regard to CPD, with voluntary annual returns but with a notation on the membership card that CPD has been achieved and recorded… or otherwise.

 

Reg Grimstone

Reg Grimstone

Reg Grimstone

Retired

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

My most satisfying work experience to date was being able to present to a conference of US industry peers, organised by Stanford University and Walt Disney Imagineering in California, on the first Civil Engineering use of 4 D technology in managing a major US project.  But the highlight of my career would be appointment to Council, so that I could assist in a SW initiative to bring the wealth of knowledge centred in Great George Street to all members in their own localities.

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

I believe that the profession’s biggest challenge has always been highlighted in the ICE mission statements, past and present.  Being able to harness the forces of nature for the benefit of mankind whilst being at the heart of society delivering sustainable development.

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

The computer − but one should never just believe the printouts. I’ve learnt from sad experience that the outputs should always be questioned by an experienced Engineer. A case in point, way back time, when I was learning programming on my ZX Spectrum, was when the first computer generated rebar schedules were issued on Das Island and the rebar wouldn’t fit inside the shutters.

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

Upgrading of the railway line from Southampton to the WCML by Network Rail.  The reason being that it will remove many high cube containers from the motorway network.  Almost as important would be the unclogging of the A roads in the SW by developing a rail freight link from Southampton to Cornwall.

What single thing would you want to improve about ICE?

The single thing that I would want to improve about the ICE is communications, particularly electronically, from the “Hallowed Halls” to where the action is, in the offices and sites around the world

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

The area that the ICE should focus on in influencing government, particularly in the current economic climate, is to persuade them to spend more money on infrastructure.  That would not only stimulate the financial markets but also, employ thousands and be of benefit to the country.

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

Co-operation between all Engineering institutions could be fostered by officially inviting them to attend “City Club” meetings around the country.

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

I agree wholeheartedly with the SW Regional Committee’s view that it is the members who should decide on policy.  Therefore the one impact I believe the Council should have on the institution is to ensure that grass root opinion is heard and acted upon.

How would you persuade more graduate engineers to become qualified?

There is no doubt that more graduate members would become qualified engineers, rather than transferring to other professions if they could see that members were paid more.  

How would you promote the value of CPD?

CPD could be the answer by raising quality.  My philosophy is that one should always strive to be at the forefront of technology.  After all, some might say that if you don’t learn, you die, or at least the brain cells could suffer.

 

Christopher Holt

Christopher Holt

Christopher Holt

Commercial manager, Hyder

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