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Pitch 200: South West finalist smashes competition with sustainable alternative to concrete

08 July 2019

The graduate engineer from WSP UK successfully argued the value of timber.

Pitch 200: South West finalist smashes competition with sustainable alternative to concrete

Jasmine Tombs, a graduate engineer from WSP, has won the South West regional heat of ICE's international Pitch 200 competition, with her presentation on 'Building a Sustainable Future'.

In just 200 seconds, Tombs' pitch detailed how timber – using modern production techniques – could become a viable and innovative alternative to concrete, which accounts for 5% of all manmade carbon dioxide emissions. Through a method of cross-lamination, timber panels could become so durable that we could eventually build skyscrapers out of them, she argued.

The South West regional Pitch 200 final took place at the offices of the competition sponsor, law firm Burges Salmon on 4 July 2019.

Hosted by broadcaster Dave Harvey, eight ICE graduates and students went head-to-head, in front of an audience of over 100 guests, to pitch their innovative engineering concepts in 200 seconds or less.

The judging panel for this year’s event consisted of Dave Harvey, ICE SW Vice Chair Katy Toms, ICE SW G&S Chair Gagan Sehmbi, 2018 SW Pitch 200 winner Alex Russell, and Burges Salmon Partner Ann Metherall.

Each candidate also faced a short Q&A session with the panel, during which they were judged on the technical strength of their idea, the quality of their presentation, as well as its novelty.

Miranda Housden, ICE South West Director, said: “It was a very hard decision for the judges to make as all of the finalists did a fantastic job showcasing civil engineering and demonstrating how it impacts our day-to-day lives.

"However, Jasmine’s presentation was an insightful, well thought through project that is extremely relevant in both today and the future of civil engineering.”

Tombs will go on to deliver her pitch at the grand final in Belfast later this year.

The other South West regional finalists included:

  • Joel Harman (Cormac Solutions Ltd) – ‘Civil Engineering and the Cornish Coast Path.’
  • William Harwood (Cormac Solutions Ltd) – ‘Engineers and emerging technology’
  • Christina Last (Bristol University) – ‘Are smart cities magic?’
  • Rachel Waine (Cormac Solution Ltd) – ‘Melting Roads and Potholes: Climate Change, A Challenge for Engineers.’
  • Joel Smith (ARUP) - ‘Water we going to do?’
  • Salma Hussein (ARUP) – ‘Benefits of sustainability in drainage systems
  • Julian Vercruysse (Mott MacDonald) – ‘Connecting society and science to improve Madagascar’s resilience.’
  • Sam Deacon, Coast Communications and Marketing