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Everyone's business: race and ethnicity in the construction industry

Event organised by ICE

27 October 2023

This event has now ended


Improving diversity in the built environment sector is a crucial step towards creating environments that foster talent, innovation and performance.

To build the future cities and communities we want to be a part of, we need businesses that have the skills and expertise to create them. Staff who feel safe and welcome within workplaces will outperform those lacking in diversity by 36% in profitability.

These issues are everyone’s responsibility – from boardrooms to worksites, we all have a role to play.

Join us to discuss how you can make meaningful change within your organisation at this in-person event hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers and National Highways’ supplier diversity forum. Please bring a plus one, whether it is your reverse or reciprocal mentor or an emerging leader to attend the event with you.

Loraine Martins OBE, global director for diversity and inclusion at The Nichols Group, will facilitate a panel discussion among industry executives to discuss what we need to make sustainable progress towards a more diverse workplace.

Panellists will share personal experiences and insights and offer their thoughts on ways we can work to improve diversity in the workplace.

Following the panel discussion, attendees will be invited to join smaller workshops. These sessions will be a chance to talk more in-depth about topical issues, such as racism and driving change, and will encourage the sharing of ideas and best practice.


National Highways

National Highways

We manage and improve England’s motorways and major A-roads, helping our customers have safer, smoother and more reliable journeys.


10:00 - 10:10

Welcome, housekeeping and scene setting

10:10 - 11:10

Roundtable with panel facilitated by Loraine Martins

11:10 - 11:30


11:30 - 12:30

Mini workshop sessions

  1. Good practice from outside sector 
  2. ICE Anti-racism toolkit
  3. How to use your position to drive change
12:30 - 13:00

Summary, commitments and close


Anit Chandarana

Anit Chandarana

Great British Railways Transition Team

lead director

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Anit Chandarana

Anit Chandarana is the Lead Director of the Great British Railways Transition Team and oversees the whole operation of the GBRTT, working with Andrew Haines and team on the interim arrangements for the railway following the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail in May 2021.

Prior to taking on this role, Anit was Chief of Staff at Network Rail where he led Network Rail’s involvement in the building of the white paper. Anit has worked in the rail industry for over 18 years and joined Network Rail after completing his training at Sainsbury’s, he then went on to spend five years at Shell where he worked in the retail part of the business.

As well as his full-time role, he is also a Non-Executive Director for East London NHS Foundation Trust and has previously Chaired the Trustee Board for two of Network Rail’s pension schemes.

Prof. Anusha Shah

Prof. Anusha Shah

Institution of Civil Engineers

president 2023/24

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Prof. Anusha Shah

Anusha Shah is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and its president for the 2023-24 session. She’s the third woman and first person of colour to be elected as president in over 200 years of ICE history.

She’s a senior director for resilient cities and UK climate change adaptation lead at Arcadis, a global sustainability, design, engineering and management consulting firm.

She’s also a non-executive director at the Met Office, a trustee at the Green Alliance and a visiting professor at Edinburgh University. She was awarded honorary professorship by the University of Wolverhampton for knowledge transfer and an honorary doctorate of engineering by the University of East London for her services to address climate change.

Anusha specialises in water and environmental engineering and has over 22 years of experience in designing, managing and leading projects and programmes in the UK and internationally.

Anusha sits on various industry climate change groups. She represents Arcadis at the London Climate Change Partnership and the 50L Home Initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She’s a past chair of the Thames Estuary Partnership Board.

Anusha is the recipient of several awards, including the 2020 Top 50 UK Women Engineers Sustainability Award and the CECA Inspiring Change Award. She was recognised by Climate Reframe as one of the UK’s leading Black, Asian and minority ethnic voices on climate change.

Loraine Martins OBE

Loraine Martins OBE


global edi director

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Loraine Martins OBE

Loraine is the global Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director, at Nichols. Before that, Loraine was the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, which maintains and develops Britain’s rail infrastructure. Loraine led a multi-award winning, sector-leading team, driving their ambition to be more open, diverse, and inclusive. Loraine was awarded an OBE this work in 2021.

Previously, Loraine led the delivery of a programme of equality, inclusion, employment, and skills in the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, for which Loraine was awarded an MBE.

Loraine is a non-executive director (NED) of DFS Group, a Board member of POWERful Women and the Black Business Association (part of the London Chamber of Commerce). Loraine is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Mark Thurston

Mark Thurston

HS2 Ltd

former chief executive officer

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Mark Thurston

As the CEO of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, Mark had the privilege and ultimate responsibility for leading the company that has been charged with delivering a new high speed railway that will connect the major cities of the UK.

The vision is for HS2 to be a catalyst for growth across Britain, become the backbone of Britain’s rail network and contribute to a ‘green’ transport system that helps reduce carbon. It will better connect the country’s major cities and economic hubs and help deliver a stronger, more balanced economy, better able to compete on the global stage. 

HS2 Ltd began operations in January 2009. The company currently employs around 1800 people, with the majority of staff working at its headquarters in Birmingham; currently there are some 25,000 people working on the programme across the UK.

Mark joined HS2 Ltd in March 2017 and stood down at the end of September 2023; he has over 30 years’ experience including leadership roles in engineering, project and programme management and business operations. Having worked for client, consulting and delivery bodies, Mark has a successful track record across a mix of major organisations and investment programmes, having worked on both the London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail. 

He was previously the European MD of engineering and projects company CH2M and started his career as a technician apprentice at London Underground.

David Waboso CBE

David Waboso CBE

independent non-executive director/advisor

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David Waboso CBE

David brings decades of experience leading capital investment and digital transformation projects. After an early career in highways and water supply, he worked on major infrastructure upgrades including the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line Extension and was also Technical Director at the Strategic Rail Authority where he was the UK representative for the European Rail Agency and a Non-Executive Director of the Rail Safety and Standards Board. He then held executive positions at London Underground where he led the Tube Upgrade Programme. He was subsequently MD Digital Railway at Network Rail before moving into non-executive roles in the infrastructure sector.

David was awarded the prize of UK Project Manager of the Year in 1995 for his work on the DLR. In 2014 he was awarded a CBE for services to transport in London and he was the President of the Association of Project Management from 2016-2019.

'Olu Olabode

'Olu Olabode

Balfour Beatty Major Projects

commercial director

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'Olu Olabode

‘Olu is one of the first female and of a minority background commercial director at Balfour Beatty (BB) Major Projects, a company she has worked at for 15 years. She joined Balfour Beatty in 2008 as a senior quantity surveyor. A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

‘Olu is currently commercially leading civil aspects of the Sizewell C multibillion new nuclear project, set to generate low-carbon electricity for 60 years and expected to meet up to 7% of UK’s energy demand. Some of ‘Olu’s previously held roles are commercial director for the Connect Plus Services M25 JV Project and board member. She has managed multiple large commercial teams within different sectors of the construction industry, including Rail and Highways and is known to deliver successful projects to cost, time and high quality.

‘Olu held the role of head of commercial on the Track Partnership project with LUL having successfully led multiple commercial and contract negotiations on behalf of BB. She was instrumental in negotiating and leading the transition from the Track Alliance to Track Partnership and the contract change and extension of the latter.

‘Olu has mentored a long list of individuals to date and still commits a sizeable amount of her time to mentoring and developing others both within and outside of the construction industry. Born in the UK and raised and educated in Nigeria where she qualified as a quantity surveyor, ‘Olu returned to the UK for further studies, going on to achieve an MSc in Construction management, a PgDip in quantity surveying.

For more information please contact:

Gabriella Lai

Sustainable Development Goals: