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Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

03 July 2020

As part of our #EngineeringSummer, we asked this year's President's Future Leaders who or what inspired them to become a civil engineer.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?
2020 Future Leaders with ICE President Paul Sheffield

From Lego and K'Nex to the Boston Museum of Science, this year's President's Future Leaders discuss what inspired them to pursue a career in civil engineering.

Hayley Jackson

"When I was about 15, I attended a careers event at school. We had a presentation from a graduate female civil engineer who spoke about her experiences working on site and managing the installation of a bridge over a motorway.

"I’d always enjoyed construction activities such as Lego and K’Nex as a child and spending time outside and so the idea of a job which combined both of these sounded great! I researched a career in civil engineering and construction and have never looked back."

Tim Hou

"The first person to inspire me to become a civil engineer was my dad, who is also a civil engineer. From a young age he showed me time lapses of various projects that he had been working on and I was fascinated to see it all come together and amazed at how it all worked.

"I also saw how no two projects were the same and the true breadth and range of civil engineering. The more and more he talked about it the more excited I was to join the industry!"

Holly Smith

"I grew up living in the suburbs of Boston, USA. At the time, the city was undergoing the most complex urban transportation project ever undertaken in the U.S. called the Central Artery/Tunnel project, known locally as the ‘Big Dig’.

"I remember my parents taking me to the Big Dig exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science, which was the first point I can remember being interested in construction and the science behind it."

"As I still visit the city regularly after relocating to the UK, I have been able to witness the transformational impact of the project on the quality of life in the city, which has inspired me to become a civil engineer."

Chris Landsburgh

"Living in a city like Glasgow, design and innovation surrounded me throughout my life. From Glasgow’s grid-like street designs to its historic shipbuilding docks, it is home to some of the most famous infrastructure and engineers in the world.

"There have been a number of influential people who have inspired me to drive forward in the civil engineering sector; from Pete Bonfield at BRE to Jonathan Wills at Wills Bros, both inspiring me with their drive and determination to excel within the industry.

"They have each provided me with multiple platforms to become a future leading engineer, and I hope that in time I will have the same chance to provide graduate engineers with similar opportunities."

Louise Hetherington

"This is tricky for me. All I remember is we walked past a building site (myself and my parents) when I was about 13 and my dad said; “That looks like your sort of thing, there’s mud and it's outdoors and no girls.” (I was being bullied in a girls school at the time!) and then I never considered anything else!

"So I wasn’t inspired as such, just saw it at a young age, googled it and it played to my strengths in maths, science and geography… I guess you could say my dad inspired me but he didn’t know what engineering was, just helped me google it and parents took me to uni open days!"

Read more on the President's Future Leaders.

If you would like to put yourself forward to be one of Rachel Skinners Future Leaders.

  • Amy Bigmore, digital and social media manager at Institution of Civil Engineers