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Dylan Powell

Dylan Powell

graduate civil engineer, Binnies UK

Expertise

Design, Water

Location

United Kingdom
My highlights

Helping to implement artificial intelligence and emerging digital technology in projects

Leading the development of the civil design for Ashlett Creek Wastewater Treatment Works

Winning the 2023 NCE Graduate Civil Engineer Award

A day in my life

In my role as a civil design engineer, I create a range of drawings for engineering projects to ensure we provide enough detail to allow the design to be built.

I complete hydraulic calculations to ensure that wastewater treatment works (WTW) provide reliable service.

I complete geotechnical calculations to make sure that there won't be any failures or damage to the structures being designed.

I discuss these designs with the construction team to ensure they’re feasible, considering the resources and time limits the project has.

I love knowing that I have the power to make the changes that I want to see in the industry.

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

The Millenium Bridge in London, it's a great example of how civil engineering is still evolving. It also provides great insight into the complex challenges civil engineers face.

We asked Dylan…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

Now is a great time to start a career in engineering because there are so many emerging technologies and ideas that require people with a range of skills.

We need to implement digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and to do this we need engineers who understand data science.

We also have emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and microplastics. We'll need engineers with chemistry knowledge to identify cost-effective designs to remove these contaminants.

The industry is rapidly adapting, and we need civil engineers who are keen to learn more to lead the development and implementation of solutions to these new issues.

These people will take the industry to a better place.

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

A marble run – when I was in my early teens, I loved creating courses for marbles to run down on.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

A keen environmentalist! I'm very passionate about providing a sustainable way forward, treating our planet in a way that enables us to offer a safe future for the generations to come.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

I love knowing that I have the power to make the changes that I want to see in the industry.

On the project I'm currently working on, I'm able to:

  • improve water quality in the local ecosystem;
  • reduce environmental spills;
  • increase the reliability of a service to consumers; and
  • create sustainable engineering designs which reduce carbon emissions.

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

I love seeing how the industry works at a higher level.

I've been fortunate to attend several events where I've been able to discuss industry issues and opportunities, such as regulatory funding, skills shortages, emerging technology, emerging contaminants and trust.

I love that as an early career professional I'm able to join in these conversations and share my thoughts with industry leaders.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

The Pantheon is a magnificent feat of engineering. It would be amazing to see how we would go about creating an identical structure in the present day.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

Civil engineers don’t just pour concrete and build bridges.

The job of a civil engineer can be anything you think of.

If something goes into the ground or comes out of the ground, it's likely that a civil engineer has been part of the design.

What motivated you, or is motivating you, to become professionally qualified? 

I'm aiming to become a Chartered Engineer. It's a great goal to go for – it encourages me to continue to develop my skills and become a well-rounded civil engineer.

What does being professionally qualified with the ICE mean for your career?  

For me, being chartered means that I've left the first phase of my career.

I've achieved the first big milestone and now I can focus more on developing others and sharing the knowledge I have.

What’s the best thing about being professionally qualified with the ICE? 

It proves that you're a skilled engineer and that you have the experience and knowledge to back up your judgement.

How did the ICE and your employer support you to become professionally qualified?

I'm on an ICE-approved training scheme, which means that once a year I meet with a regional ICE representative who helps me identify the next steps in my professional registration process.

What do you value most about being an ICE member? 

I value the community of civil engineers that are all working towards creating a better discipline, which is forever working to become more sustainable.

How has being a member helped your career? 

I've completed training with the institution, which has provided me with knowledge that I use in my design work.

Dylan's career path

I currently work at Binnies, but before that, I studied civil engineering at the University of Portsmouth, where I got my master’s degree in engineering.