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Water and infrastructure: prioritising asset health – unlocking the key to no build solutions

Event organised by ICE

27 June 2024
17:30 - 19:30 BST (GMT+1)
Royal Station Hotel
Neville Street
Newcastle, NE1 5DH
United Kingdom

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This panel discussion will explore asset health within the water and infrastructure sectors. Key focus areas will include the current state of asset health, what assets are being most affected and how, as well as highlighting the importance of asset health visibility.  

It will include a delve into some pressing issues affecting asset health including asset age and increased demand due to population and changing public needs. Conversations will also consider the need to address these urgent concerns and enhance their resilience in the face of a changing climate and meet the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A discussion about where we need to be in the future will take place including potential changes to the way asset health is monitored, reported and how we enable investment. It is critical to highlight the importance of prioritising asset health over new build projects. These topics will be explored and potential solutions sought for a brighter future.


17:30 - 18:00

Arrival, refreshments and networking

18:00 - 18:30

Panel discussion
* Each participant will have a dedicated time slot of 6 minutes to highlight issues surrounding asset health in their respective industries, what the future might look like without a shift in behaviour and what change needs to happen. It's an opportunity to share success stories from respective industries regarding asset health. Work will be showcased and insights provided on how they perceive the industry as a whole, shifting towards prioritising asset health over new build projects. 

18:30 - 19:00

Panel questions 

19:00 - 19:15



Paul Foster

Paul Foster


principal asset management consultant

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Paul Foster

Paul is a versatile, strategic, analytically minded and highly focused asset management professional, with over 23 years’ experience gained in real estate management, aerospace, manufacturing, facilities management, water and not for profit sectors.  

His depth of experience ranges from executing key projects and implementing new systems to managing strategic business development, process improvement and change management initiatives.  He has a broad knowledge of maintenance and investment requirements relating to building structure, fabric, fixtures and fittings, manufacturing infrastructure and hard services as well as related statutory compliance/health and safety legislation.

With extensive experience of managing assets at all stages of the asset lifecycle, Paul also has expertise in delivering improvements in asset data and software systems to support informed decision making on future maintenance, capital investment, asset resilience, reliability, risk/criticality, and whole life costing.

Paul is currently a principal asset management consultant in the Operations Maintenance team within Asset Advisory Services at Stantec.  He is a member of Operational and Maintenance Leadership Team responsible for developing and deploying system-based asset management solutions to delivery programmes, to provide the most efficient outcomes for clients. Paul also leads a small team of asset management consultants working on various projects across multiple frameworks.

Ken Black

Ken Black

Northumbria Water Group (NWG)

Asset Health Leader

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Ken Black

Ken has 20 years experience within process related industries covering design, construction, operational and commercial management.

He specialises in driving business improvements in terms of cost, quality, income generation, reliability excellence and environmental performance by bringing people together with information to drive evidence based decision making.

Succesfully changed the "utillity culture" by adoption of manufacturing lessons. 

Mercedes Ascaso Til

Mercedes Ascaso Til

DLT Engineering

principal engineer

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Mercedes Ascaso Til

Mercedes Ascaso Til, principal engineer at DLT Engineering, is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. She has over 20 years’ experience in the construction engineering of bridges and complex structures, developing schemes and temporary works for erection of many bridge types worldwide. She has also been involved in the retrofitting and upgrade of existing structures.

She was chief engineer for the design of the deck lifting gantries of two recently built suspension bridges, the Nizhou Bridge in China, and the 1915Çanakkale Bridge in Türkiye, the longest in the world with a main span of 2023m. The gantries won the Innovation Product of Year Award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2022.

Mercedes has written several technical papers on construction engineering, focusing on effective, sustainable, and safe building methods which can have a positive impact on the outcome of the whole project, from cost savings to overall carbon footprint. She has shared her knowledge with the wider engineering community by giving presentations on this topic at various international bridge conferences.

Mercedes was selected as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering (WE50) 2022: Inventors and Innovators. She was also the Technical Excellence Winner of the NCE 2019 Recognising Women in Engineering Awards. She is committed to the industry and society, placing sustainability at the core of construction engineering and temporary works design.

Dr. Sergio Rodriguez

Dr. Sergio Rodriguez

Teesside University

associate professor

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Dr. Sergio Rodriguez

Dr Sergio Rodriguez-Trejo is an associate professor of research in construction management, low carbon construction, BIM, and circularity in the built environment. He oversees the BSc (Hons) in Construction Management, the BEng (Hons) in Building Services Engineering, and the degree apprenticeships associated with these qualifications.

He has a reputed track record in the Built Environment Computer Applied Technologies in high-impact publications in Q1 journals, accounting for hundreds of citations in Scopus and JRC, as an associate editor for the Smart and Sustainable Built Environment journal (Q1 in 4 categories relating to the built environment in Scopus) as well as Principal Investigator for Teesside University in the project RECONSTRUCT, worth €8m funding within the Horizon Europe program in the area of digitisation of construction and Circular Economy demonstrated in regional clusters. 

Sergio has a wealth of experience in knowledge transfer from the University to industry and professional bodies. He co-chairs the ICE North East Teesside branch, and he liaises with others in the field of construction (Chartered Institute of Building, CIOB), structural engineering (Institution of Structural Engineering, ICE), education in the built environment (Council of Heads of the Built Environment, CHOBE), building services (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering, CIBSE) and acting as a  “champion” in enterprise and knowledge exchange in the School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies. 

He leads the Centre for Construction Research and Innovation with more than 20 academic research active members, has submitted more than 20 proposals to H2020 and HE with a value of £93m, of which Teesside University participates £8.2, leads research and consultancy projects with a total value for Teesside University of £608k as PI and has graduated 7 PhDs in the area of digital construction, carbon mitigation, waste minimisation and energy in the built environment.

Tony Buckley

Tony Buckley


regional director

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Tony Buckley

Tony Buckley is an experienced professional who over the last 30 years has made significant contributions to the structural engineering industry both regionally and nationally. 

A former Regional Chairman of the Institution of Structural Engineers, Tony is currently serving as a regional director at WSP, where he oversees the operational management of the company’s bridge staff in Scotland, Ireland, and the North of England. Additionally, his leadership and technical expertise have earned him the role of national bridges technical discipline lead for all of WSP’s bridge staff in the United Kingdom and India. 

One of Tony’s notable achievements was the creation and implementation of a comprehensive toolkit for Transport Scotland. This toolkit, which considers whole life of the structure, empowers clients to devise sustainable maintenance strategies, maximising the lifespan of structures while working within budget constraints.

His forward-thinking approach challenges conventional notions of limited structure lifespans. By emphasising sustainability, longevity, and optimal resource utilisation, Tony has helped reshape infrastructure management in Scotland. 
Over his career he has worked on a number of the region’s most iconic structures and is currently working with Esh Construction, leading the structural input into the maintenance and refurbishment of the Tyne Bridge.