Network rail engineer becomes regional Chairman

Mark Downes Programme Engineering Manager (Engineering & Innovation) for Network Rail Infrastructure Projects (Track) was installed as Chairman of ICE West Midlands for 2015-16 at the AGM on 22 October.  Mark has been engaged with ICE for five years both as a reviewer, Supervising Civil Engineer and a STEM Ambassador.

Mark (right) with Jane Simpson and Simon Abbott
Mark (right) with Jane Simpson and Simon Abbott

His theme for the year is 'Unsung and future heroes in civil engineering'. Mark's calendar of events will reflect ICE's themes of urbanisation and demography, industry transformation, resource efficiency and security and resilience.

Mark's Chairmanship was launched with a presentation by Jane Simpson (Chief Engineer) and Simon Abbott (Head of Geotechnics) at Network Rail. This event was closely followed by the second event of Mark's calendar on 5th November, 'Legacy Building Improving Water Supply Resilience for Birmingham' event, with speakers Simon Hinsley (Project Sponsor) Birmingham Resilience Project and Dr Mike Keil, (Asset Strategy Manager) Severn Trent Water.

Both events were recorded and will be available to view online.

Marks says: "I strongly believe that we should throw a spotlight on some of the amazing work being done by engineers in this region. I want to encourage our 'engine room' technician/engineers to celebrate their experience and knowledge and seek a professional qualification through ICE, via the many routes that are available to them.

Collectively we can only benefit from 'sharing with pride' all that we have learnt. We also have a responsibility to take the message that civil engineers shape the world to teachers, parents and children in order that we capture and nurture the imagination and enthusiasm of school children to see the profession as a viable and exciting career option.

My hopes for the year are that we will start to remove some of the misconceptions around civil engineering and our great Institution. To me this means promoting an Institution that welcomes all people working in civil engineering and trying to help them achieve recognition of their contribution to the industry.

It also means educating those that influence the careers of younger people to see that our industry has a positive effect on society on a global basis and that there is such a rich vein of opportunity for all. To achieve this I hope that our members and their employers will personally undertake to build upon the good work that many are already doing in these areas."