ICE West Midlands Awards: Making Judgements

Posted on May 15, 2017
Archive : May 2017
Category : Awards

Len Threadgold, chairman of Geotechnics Limited, writes about his experience as a judge for this year's ICE West Midlands Awards. The ceremony takes place on Wednesday 17th May, and you can read the full list of nominees on the ICE website.

I was honoured to be asked to be one of the judges for the ICE West Midlands Project Awards and as a Fellow of the Institution I am pleased to be of service in using my experience. Successful engineering is about using data, knowledge and wisdom to create new facilities and infrastructure for the future benefit of clients and the community. What is often overlooked is that every civil engineering project is effectively a prototype: each project is unique to its location and the ground which supports it, so each project has completely individual characteristics. This is the challenge and the joy of our profession.

The award submissions cover a wide range of work by the civil engineering professionals in the West Midlands, covering such project categories such as Construction, Geotechnical, Sustainability, Innovation and Heritage, as well as operational skills such as Education, Communication, Partnership and Teamwork.

I have been involved as a judge before, back to the time after I was Chairman of ICE West Midlands, but I never cease to be amazed at the range of skills, innovation and enthusiasm which are displayed in the entries. Seeing the care and pride which people take in their work is truly humbling and a credit to the profession. I have been involved with award submissions myself and know the amount of work which goes into them and the nervousness of anticipation. All of those entering the competition are to be thanked for their work and the pride they have taken in it. As with any competition there are those who win and those who don’t, so winning an award is a bonus on top of the satisfaction of a job well done.

There is a wide range of expertise amongst the judges, and it is great to see them debate the pros and cons of the submissions. Discovering new ways of seeing things makes comments along the lines of “I never thought of it like that” very common. The judges have made their collective decisions and the winners will be announced at the ICE West Midlands Awards and Dinner on Wednesday 17th May.

Our profession’s capability is high, and letting everyone know about it is important. Though sometimes we may be taken for granted by the community, as much of our work goes unseen, we are proud of what we do. Let’s celebrate!

Len Threadgold is the chairman of Geotechnics Limited. If you would like to get in touch with him about the ICE West Midlands Awards, you can email him at