A Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East is supporting a drive to ‘change words into actions’ by being part of the team representing the UK at the Institution’s Global Engineering Congress (GEC).
Kate Cairns, who was recently recognised by The Daily Telegraph in its Top 50 Women in engineering (WE50) 2018, was one of 200 speakers from around the world who addressed more than 3,500 delegates from 82 countries, and 18 government delegations. The social media coverage was also seen by millions both in real time and after the event.
The GEC, which was organised by ICE and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), saw engineers share knowledge on a wide range of “real” issues that the world will face over the coming years, such as population growth and climate change. The over-arching theme focused on the changes that must be made in order to avoid catastrophe.
Kate Cairns, from Newton by the Sea in Northumberland, has more than 20 years’ experience in the civil engineering sector, including driving the inception and evolution of two international construction industry standards in sustainability and safety. She is a strong advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), chairing the national ICE FIR (fairness inclusion and respect) panel.
Kate is no stranger to the limelight, having achieved a Commendation for the Northern Power Woman ‘Person with a Purpose’ award 2015 and being shortlisted for the 2015 WISE Health and Safety award. She was also immortalised as one of the 12 ‘invisible superheroes’ as part of the Great North Engineering Experience, which ran at the Mining Institute in Newcastle throughout the summer, and is currently being displayed at York Railway Station.
Kate presented at a session entitled The role of the engineer in creating inclusive cities. She spoke of the benefits and provision of, and barriers to, active travel (moving under one’s own steam ie cycling, walking, scooting, skating etc). Along with other speakers of the session she then took the platform for an extended Q&A session and panel discussion.
Kate said: “It was a privilege to be invited to speak at this first ever Global Engineering Congress during the ICE 200 year celebrations. There has never been such a buzz in the building; it was fantastic to welcome so many different colleagues from all over the world to exchange ideas and aspirations on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Professor Lord Robert Mair, President of ICE, said: “The Congress generated energy, enthusiasm and passion. The audience was far more diverse and inclusive than any I have seen in the Institution. Minsters and students exchanged ideas in an open forum. From the UN Secretary General’s contribution to the opening session to the very last panel debate we saw vision, commitment and a willingness across the global engineering profession to work together to transform infrastructure and transform lives in a manner wholly different, and with far greater passion, than I have ever seen before.
“None of this could have been done without personal contributions. Any profession is only as good as the energy, intellect and passion of its participants. We focused on delivering exactly what we promised: a clear call for action not words. Inevitably, this is the start of a movement, not the end.”