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16 March 2006

Mott MacDonald’s Alan Powderham, advocate of team work and innovation, voted Champion of the Decade

Mott MacDonald director, Alan Powderham, has been voted Champion of the Decade for making the most significant contribution to the construction industry over the past ten years. Receiving the award at the Quality in Construction Awards ceremony held at The Hilton Hotel in London on 15 March, Alan emphasised the importance of team work and innovation “to deliver good value engineering safely”. Alan was one of ten candidates nominated by Construction News for Champion of the Decade and readers were invited to vote for their choice. It was a close result but Alan’s team spirit and outstanding skills saw him win by a margin of 30 votes.

A world leading practitioner of the Observational Method and Value Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Alan has won many awards and authored a wide range of technical papers during his career. He specialises in foundation engineering, champions research and innovation in transportation throughout the Mott MacDonald Group, serves on many industry committees and working parties, and is a visiting professor at Cambridge University and London's Imperial College as well as the Universities of Illinois, Vienna and St Petersburg. He recently joined the UK's prestigious Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) which is sponsored by the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers and the Health & Safety Executive.

Alan first came to Construction News’ attention in 2003 when he won a Special Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement at the Quality in Construction (QinC) Awards to acknowledge his flair for innovation and exemplary leadership on the Boston Central Artery jacked tunnel project in the USA – the biggest of its kind in the world and winner of ten industry awards. For the Boston project Alan conceived an ingenious and economical jacked tunnel solution to take three interstate highways under downtown Boston’s rail network without any disruption for the 40,000 daily train commuters. Alan worked with clients, construction and design teams as well as local community stakeholders to gain acceptance for this revolutionary approach which delivered a low maintenance solution completed on time and within budget. His immense contribution was recognised by several of the QinC judges who have worked with him, or know of him, and could testify that he has a flair for solving complex engineering problems. “He’s far and away the best engineer I’ve ever worked with,” said one.

Mike Blackburn, Chairman of Mott MacDonald said, “We are tremendously proud of Alan. He is a great asset, both personally and professionally, to our Group and an inspiration to us all and I am delighted to congratulate him on winning this prestigious award.”

Ends


Note to editors

Short Biography
Alan Powderham has over 35 years’ experience in design, construction and management of major civil engineering projects including Tyne and Wear Metro, Caracas Metro, Docklands Light Railway, Channel Tunnel, Limehouse Link, Medway Crossing, Jubilee Line Extension, Heathrow Express, Boston Central Artery, Heathrow Terminal 5, and London's Crossrail.

A world leading practitioner of the Observational Method and Value Engineering, he has lectured alongside, the acknowledged guru for soil mechanics, Professor Ralph Peck and is a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University, and Imperial College in the UK and the Universities of Illinois, Vienna and St Petersburg and has won several awards for achieving excellence:
  • Quality in Construction Special Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, 2003
  • Institution of Civil Engineers Halcrow Prize 2003 for paper “The Observational Method—learning from projects”
  • Institution of Structural Engineers – South Eastern Branch Prize 2002
  • Terzaghi-Peck Fellowship, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, 2002
  • A E Wynn Prize Institution of Structural Engineers, 1984
He has also greatly contributed to the many awards his projects have received, including:
  • Construction Innovation Forum, NOVA Award 2004 - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • Quality in Construction International Performance Award 2003 - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • Building Awards 2003 International Achievement Award - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • American Society of Civil Engineers/CERF Charles Pankow Award for Innovation 2003 - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • Finalist in the Royal Academy of Engineering, MacRobert Award for Innovation 2002 - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • British Construction Industry International Award 2002 - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • British Consultants and Construction Bureau Award 2002 - Boston Central Artery Jacked Tunnels
  • British Geotechnical Association Fleming Award 2002 - Heathrow Airside Road Tunnel
  • British Construction Industry for Civil Engineering Award, Limehouse Link, 1993
  • Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation Award, Limehouse Link, 1993
  • Tunnelling Industry UK Project of the Year award 2005 - Heathrow Airside Road Tunnel
Alan is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers. The author of a wide range of papers and publications, Alan believes in sharing best practice and professional excellence and not only does he run seminars for clients, partners and colleagues but he also serves on the following prestigious working parties and committees:
  • Member of CIRIA Core Programme Management Committee
  • Steering Group for Promotion of Benefits of Innovation, CIRIA
  • Steering Group for Waterproof Basement Construction, CIRIA
  • Working Party on Value Management and Value Engineering, Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Design and Construction of Deep Basements, ­Institution of Structural Engineers
  • Steering Group for Observational Method in Ground Engineering: CIRIA
  • Project Management Committee for Subsidence Damage to Buildings – Prediction, Protection and Repair, CIRIA-LINK
  • Working Party on Structural Engineering Research and Innovation/DOE
  • Working Party on Research into Autogenous Healing of Cracks in Concrete/EPSRC, Imperial College Advisor on effects of deep excavation on adjacent structures to CIRIA working group
  • Advisor on foundation engineering codes of practice to Highways Agency
  • Management Committee for Engineering Doctorate in Transport Knowledge and Systems Engineering, Southampton University
  • Steering group for EPSRC soil/structure interaction research on CTRL with Southampton University Professor R B Peck Center, Steering Committee, University of Illinois, USA
  • International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering: Technical Committee 37 (from 2002).
In October 2005, Alan Powderham was invited to join the prestigious Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) which is sponsored by the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers and the Health and Safety Executive. It has a remit to consider current practice, trends and innovations in design, construction and maintenance from the standpoint of structural safety. It is also charged with giving warnings to relevant bodies where unacceptable risk is believed to exist and aims to spot in advance potential structural problems that could threaten public safety.

Alan’s tireless interest in encouraging excellence has also lead to him helping to develop an Engineering Doctorate course in transport knowledge and systems engineering with universities.
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