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This breakfast briefing forms part of Lord Robert Mair’s presidential visit to the East Midlands.
Infrastructure is the bedrock of economic growth with the capacity to create jobs and significantly improve people’s lives, does Chesterfield have the infrastructure it needs to meets its ambitions of becoming a global digital city? What are the challenges and opportunities around its asset base and the digital transformation of infrastructure?
How can the civil engineers of the East Midlands help policy makers deliver the aspirational outcomes for consumers, the end-users of infrastructure, and make their assets and networks more resilient and deliver the desired regeneration outcomes?
Robert was appointed Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at Cambridge University in 1998. He is now the Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering. In 2011 he became Chief Engineering Adviser to the Laing O'Rourke Group and Chairman of their Engineering Excellence Group.
As well as working on many international tunnelling and deep excavation projects, Robert has been closely involved with the Jubilee Line Extension for London Underground, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1) and Crossrail.
Robert was Senior Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2008-11 and was awarded the ICE Gold Medal in 2004 and the President's Medal in 2013.
He was Chairman of the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Report on Review of Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing for the Government, published in 2012. More recently, he became Chairman of the newly formed Science Advisory Council of the Department for Transport.
In October 2015 he was appointed to the House of Lords as an independent crossbencher. As a crossbencher, Robert will owe no allegiance to a political party and will maintain the ability to take part in legislative debates free of party considerations.
Assistant Director for Economic Growth, Chesterfield Borough Council
Neil Johnson is, responsible for planning, economic development and visitor economy. He is also the Managing Director of the Derbyshire Building Control Partnership. Neil started his career as a bridge and highways engineer and moved to planning and economic development in 2006.
Neil's passion lies in being involved in and able to steer transformational change through development of projects, people and economy. Currently at Chesterfield, he is responsible for developing and delivering the HS2 growth strategy and various town centre regeneration projects.
Leader of Arup's Digital Property and Cities
Rick advises cities, infrastructure operators, property developers and investors on the use of technology to improve buildings, infrastructure, places, communities and business and organisational performance. Previously, he was Director of Technology for Amey, where he was responsible for driving advances in digital technology into public services and infrastructure that are used by about 1 in 4 people in the UK every day, and before that he was Executive Architect for Smarter Cities for IBM.
Rick collaborates with a network of technology entrepreneurs, Universities and social institutions to explore innovations in digital technology, and has advised the UK Government and United Nations on their impact on the built environment, economy, communities and society. Rick is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the RSA, a member of the Academy of Urbanism, a member of the Boards of Innovation Birmingham and Innovation West Midlands. He founded and chairs the Birmingham Smart City Alliance. Rick writes about his work at http://theurbantechnologist.com/ and you can connect with him on Twitter as @dr_rick.
Director for Sustainable Development, AECOM
Robert is the director for sustainable development for AECOM's Environment end market in the EMEA region. Robert convened and currently chairs the Major Infrastructure – Resources Optimisation Group (MI-ROG), a client collaboration forum for the main UK infrastructure operators to embed circular economy approaches into infrastructure delivery. MI-ROG won Circular Economy Project of the Year at the BusinessGreen Leader's Awards last summer and has published two White Papers on circular economy and infrastructure organisations co-authored by Robert.
Robert is also chairman of the newly convened Natural Capital Task Force under the Environmental Industries Commission. He offers voluntary advice to cities across the world through his role as a subject-matter adviser with the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities programme. Robert has a regular Op-Ed column with BusinessGreen on sustainability matters and also occasionally writes for CIWM, Environment Analyst and Infrastructure Intelligence on climate and sustainability matters. Robert is a keen advocate of promoting sustainability through social media and has over 3,000 Followers on LinkedIn.