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Norman Chan

Norman Chan

asset strategy and technical manager, Essex County Council


Project Management, Design, Structural


United Kingdom
My highlights

Won QUEST Technician 2013

Awarded Best Technician Student East of England Award 2015.

Voted onto the ICE Council as a general member (2019-2022)

A day in my life

Wake up, help my wife get my daughters ready for school and nursery.

Turn my laptop on and…

  • Emails
  • Answer enquiries
  • Review of contracts, reports, plans and strategies
  • Reading of specifications and technical documents
  • Meetings (virtual and in person)
  • Research

I’ll book time for lunch – a habit I’ve carried over from Covid times, it’s important to take breaks. Even ultra marathon runners schedule breaks!

Engineering technicians are the backbone of the industry. Without many of us, who will draw, implement and construct the visions of the engineers?

Which individual project or person inspired you to become an engineering technician?

There are so many people who have helped and supported me over the years.

To name a few:

  • structures manager, Clive Woodruff
  • retired structures maintenance manager, Richard Hollis
  • retired senior engineer, Tim Philips
  • ex-colleague, Danny Jennings
  • principal engineer, Nagaratnam Pirabagaran
  • commercial manager, Julie Martyn
  • operations director at Ringway Jacobs, Simon Butt

But the one that springs to mind first is Bob Quatresols.

Bob represents to me how a professional engineer should behave, especially in supporting up and coming engineers. 

He took me under his wing, even though I worked in a separate team.

At the time when others within that organisation showed disdain to my ambition in getting EngTech with the ICE, he believed in me and took time from his very busy schedule to support me in my endeavours.

And in doing so, he significantly influenced my own behaviours and reasons in mentoring and being a delegated engineer to a couple of apprentices and graduates.

Although we don’t work in the same organisation, and as I continue with my professional career, he’s a close advisor and I consider him a friend.

We asked Norman…

I would recommend a career as an engineering technician because…

You learn your trade from the bottom. You experience the practicalities of engineering.

If you want to continue as a technician, you can, as the profession needs the supporting roles that are crucial to deliver schemes, from minor to major.

Or you can learn more and work your way up to engineer and beyond!

Engineering technicians are the backbone of the industry.

Without many of us, who will draw, implement and construct the visions of the engineers?

What motivated you to become a professionally qualified Engineering Technician with the ICE?

As my path into civil engineering is different to many, I felt I had to prove myself more than others.

By joining the ICE and becoming qualified as EngTech, this proved to my employer, peers, contractors and clients that I had that level of understanding.

Complete this phrase: I’m an engineering technician, but I’m also …

A father.

What does EngTech MICE / EngTech FICE status mean for your career?

At first, I saw it as a stepping stone to becoming an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).

However, as my career has progressed and changed, EngTech MICE is enough for where I am today. 

Having EngTech proves to my peers that I have proven myself to the ICE with regards to my technical knowledge, health and safety responsibilities and my eye for detail.

It's a symbol of great honour and also professionalism. It reminds me every day of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it.

One day, I will apply for EngTech FICE.

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


I feel blessed that I’ve worked most of my professional life within the local authority sphere where my contributions to society are directly felt.

Living and working within the local area means I have vested interest to ensure the schemes I’m on are worthy for the local residents.

I regularly drive over my little bridge re-decking scheme and point out to my daughters that it’s daddy’s bridge.

Occasionally my mind may wonder at the major infrastructure schemes that are being constructed within this country, but I do realise I’m more of use locally than elsewhere. 

What’s one great thing that you love about EngTech MICE that you didn’t know until you got the qualification?

The way clients, contractors and others speak to you! I’m no longer Norman Chan. I am Norman Chan EngTech MICE.

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

That being an engineering technician is a stepping stone.

There are many rewarding careers to be had. Without engineering technicians, many of the schemes we deliver across the world wouldn’t be completed. 

What advice would you give someone considering becoming EngTech MICE / EngTech FICE?

I completed my EngTech on my ‘own’ (I wasn’t part of a training agreement or apprenticeship).

If anyone is doing it by themselves, finding the right mentor is important and determination to get it done.

Believe in yourself.

Anything else?

  • ICE Essex chair
  • Member of the Community Advisory Board on Transport and Mobility
  • Still love my video games, music and miniature painting when I get a chance

Norman's career path

I went to university to study music at the University of Nottingham. I obtained my BA (Hons) in Music and at that time I wanted to be an academic within the humanities. As such I obtained my MA in Music, studying part time.

As I bumbled around seeking a job to support my continued education within the humanities, I was fortunate enough to work at Essex County Council as agency staff in the administration side within the highways department.

My position was then made permanent. This starting job provided me a solid foundation in government finances and budgeting.

A few months later a little job was advertised for a structures technician within the bridges team. 

I applied and the structures manager must’ve seen something in me as he offered me to complete a foundation degree in civil engineering.

From there I went to TfL as drainage specialist, then to Ringway Jacobs as an engineer. 

I rose through the ranks to team leader and then moved back to Essex County Council as asset strategy and technical manager.

Major projects

Hoppit Bridge ECC 0068 

I was a designer on this scheme. Completed feasibility and design of the re-decking of this small bridge redeck. I was then part of the project management team, representing the principal designer, to ensure the works were completed on time and to budget. 

Oasis Bridge 

Working as part of the project management team, representing the principal designer for this scheme. Main roles were to attend site meetings, reply to any technical queries and ensure works were delivered on time and to budget.