Northumberland engineer's achievements acknowledged with elite status

Northumberland civil engineer, Kate Cairns, has been made a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the highest grade of ICE membership, which is considered the benchmark for those practising at the top level in the profession.

Kate Cairns receiving her fellowship certificate from ICE Vice President Professor Tim Broyd.
Kate Cairns receiving her fellowship certificate from ICE Vice President Professor Tim Broyd.

Kate, 43, played a pivotal role in the promotion and adoption of the national Construction Logistics and Cyclists Safety standard, which seeks to improve safety standards of construction vehicles, civil engineering and infrastructure works. She was compelled to do so following the death of her sister who was run down and killed by a tipper lorry in 2009.

She has influenced change to European legislation on lorry design, and campaigned for stricter vehicle standards across London with the Mayor's Safer Lorries Scheme being introduced in the capital last September.

Kate runs her own consultancy from Newton-by-the-Sea, where she grew up. She was educated at the Duchess's County High School, followed by the University of Bristol, Imperial College London, and Central Laboratory for Roads and Bridges in Nantes, France.

She was presented with her fellowship certificate by ICE Vice President Professor Tim Broyd at a special ceremony held at ICE's headquarters in Westminster.

"It was a privilege to present Kate Cairns with her Fellowship certificate. Kate has made a significant contribution to the ICE's thinking on the long-term sustainability of infrastructure projects, and she has been a strong advocate in the important area of improving the safety of construction vehicles on public roads. Kate should be considered a role model not only in the North East but more widely across the United Kingdom".

Kate said: "I'm delighted to have been made a Fellow of the ICE. It is always encouraging to have your work acknowledged by peers; in my case much of this has been in integrating sustainability into civil engineering projects and influencing change in the safety culture of the construction industry; and contributing to the creation of new industry standards for both.

"Having set up my own business a decade ago to manage the balance of professional and personal life and to be able to choose to work in emerging issues, this professional endorsement of my skills and experience is very valuable. I hope it inspires others to believe they can overcome obstacles and make change, whatever their ambitions.