Pitch 200: engineer uses cakes to demo waste reduction idea

Midlands Pitch 200 winner shows a slice of ingenuity to whet audience's appetite for civil engineering.

Winner Imogen Graves with presenter and engineer Rob Bell: engineering made accessible
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Winner Imogen Graves with presenter and engineer Rob Bell: engineering made accessible

An engineer used cakes to demonstrate  her waste reduction idea at the Midlands regional heat for Pitch 200.

Imogen Graves of J Murphy & Sons / LM JV won the heat with 'Demolition: what a load of rubbish!' securing her place in the London final in November.

In her winning pitch Imogen used two stacks of cakes to demonstrate demolition. She smashed the first one with her gloved hands but then carefully deconstructed the other. Through this she was able to show how it's possible to meet the requirement for 90% of construction materials to be recycled.

Members of the public from 7 to 75 years old watched nine ICE members pitching their civil engineering concepts in 200 seconds at the lunchtime event last week at the Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham.

TV presenter and engineer Rob Bell hosted the event and also gave an insight in to his passion for engineering and for raising its profile.

Judging panel chair Ed Bingham, Technical Director at AECOM said of Imogen's pitch: "She clearly demonstrated her technical knowledge on demolition and the increasing need to reduce waste in an easy to understand and accessible manner suitable for a public audience.

"Imogen incorporated lots of enthusiasm and used a novel approach in her pitch – using cakes. She also scored well in the way she answered questions from the audience, relaying complicated civil engineering concepts and terminology in everyday language."

Of her success Imogen said: "Taking part in Pitch200  was an excellent experience. I'm delighted to have won but seeing the future generation of engineers engaging with everyone's pitches was the most rewarding part."

The judging panel included representatives from across the East and West Midlands regions: Dr Marina Bock, University of Wolverhampton; Nicholas Prior, Principal Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University; Petros Kkolas, Project Engineer, Waterman Aspen and Jonathon Simons, Senior Engineer, AECOM.

The other contestants were:

  • Ben Smith - Buckingham Group Limited
  • Jeremy Jatau - HS2 Limited
  • Chih Ern Liong - Balfour Beatty
  • Michael Fisher - RPS Group
  • Tristan Tregartha - Buckingham Group Limited
  • Damian McGettrick - WM Longreach
  • Sabina Tayub - Balfour Beatty
  • Jack Tregartha - Buckingham Group Limited