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Sue Caccavone

Sue Caccavone

operations manager - asset management, Binnies UK Ltd

Expertise

Water

Location

United Kingdom
My highlights

Travelling up the Outer Hebrides to refurbish RNLI stations

Travelling to Santiago, Chile to do a risk study on a desalination plant for a copper mine

Being named as one of the WES Top 50 Women in Engineering 2023

A day in my life

At the moment it seems to be attending meetings on finance, contracts, people development and safety.

The flexibility of my role means I can get out to site as often as I like, so I’m generally found next to the sea or a river throughout south-east England.

I liaise with contractors and designers to ensure safe construction, maintenance and use of the asset.

I’m a consulting engineer, so I have a nice mix of working in an office environment surrounded by my colleagues solving a range of problems, and also being onsite, seeing drawings and 3D models come to life.

[A career in civil engineering is] a ticket to travel the world, improve the quality of lives and protect our natural environment.

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

Not a project or a person, but the sea.

Growing up in a seaside town I was always in awe of the sea’s power. It was inevitable that I would become a maritime civil engineer.

We asked Sue…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

It’s a ticket to travel the world, improve the quality of lives and protect our natural environment.

The variety of work open to you is endless and your destiny is within your own control.

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

...a mum who regularly bores my family by stating ‘I worked on that’ when we’re out and about.

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

The Harry Potter Hogwarts clock tower, complete with Dumbledore’s office, a defence against the dark art class, and Ron in dress robes.

I did it with my daughter so let her do most of the building. It probably took about 4 hours.

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

The people, the chance to solve problems and to make your mark on the world.

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

The variety of projects – it’s all around you, above you and below, too. You can genuinely make the world a better place.

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

The Channel Tunnel.

Being at school at the time and in my local area, I saw the above ground works progress and went to the visitor centre.

I also remember watching on television the moment when the French and English machines broke through.

There’s a fabulous painting of this on the ground floor of the ICE HQ, One Great George Street.

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

We don’t cover the world with concrete. There are many ways to green the grey or construct with sustainable materials.

Anything else?

I’m a reviewer for the ICE at chartered professional review level and end point assessments for apprenticeships.

I also sit on the Professional Review Panel.

I’m a volunteer liaison officer for the Engineering Council on behalf of the ICE for the Permanent Way Institute.

Connect the UK to continental Europe with a very long undersea tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

Connect the UK to continental Europe with a very long undersea tunnel

Sue's career path

I started with a BEng in Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham, before moving to the University of Liverpool for my MSc in Maritime Civil Engineering.

My first job was in the design office of Scott Wilson Kilpatrick where I also gained site experience as assistant resident engineer.

I then moved into the safety and risk team of Binnie Black & Veatch.

I became a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Safety Professional.

I also became head of safety and risk, undertaking the construction design and management (CDM) co-ordinator/principal designer (PD) role across a range of projects.

I’m still with Binnies as the operations manager for our asset management business and I’m currently applying for my Fellowship of the ICE.