The dearth of young talent coming through the building services ranks has been cited as an alarming trend that needs arresting. But is that the true picture? BSj finds plenty of reason for optimism in these mini-profiles of 30 up-and-coming professionals

James Warne (BDP)

BDP environmental engineering director James Warne (pictured above) led the BSj- award-winning Leigh Academy project and has been described as “a high sustainability mechanical engineer who understands architecture/engineering interaction in great depth”. He was also part of a team creating exemplar design solutions for Roche HQ, which set a great benchmark by which to compare the success of low energy, high technology offices, as well as the Harare British Embassy and Hale Village mixed-use scheme.

Sarah Royse (Inbuilt)

Inbuilt principal consultant Sarah Royse (pictured) was voted 2008 Young Consultant of the Year by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering. She specialises in low- and zero-carbon non-domestic design and has “a visionary approach”, as well as earning admiration for her commitment and her insights into the limitations of the sustainability agenda in the built environment. Royse began her career at Max Fordham where she became a partner specialising in building services and environmental design. In 2007 she joined Inbuilt, another UK consultancy specialising in sustainable buildings, communities and construction.

Richard Unwin (Overbury)

Richard Unwin (pictured) is a services manager for fit-out contractor Overbury. He was named H&V News Building Services Graduate of the Year 2008 for outstanding work in his first-class honours degree in building services engineering at London South Bank University. He began his career as a pipefitter and welder after leaving school in 2000, studying for building services qualifications in his own time.

Alison Dannatt (Arup)

Engineer Alison Dannatt (pictured) impresses with her “confidence, efficiency and diligence”. For two years she has acted as technical secretary to the Arup Building Services global skills network, which pools the knowledge of 800 services engineers. This role involves organising and managing the annual MEP Global Forum, which helps to disseminate information across the 22 countries where Arup operates.

Nick Sendall (Halcrow Yolles)

Nick Sendall (pictured) is a bright prospect at Halcrow Yolles, where he has been praised for his commitment to sustainability and renewable energy, which includes producing a monthly newsletter called Sustainable Times as part of his role running the firm’s sustainable technical working party, a team of 10. Sendall was shortlisted in the new achiever category for the 2008 Building Services Awards, and is a winner of the best graduate presentation award at a Halcrow professional development event.

Anna Matthews (Buro Happold)

Mechanical engineer Anna Matthews (pictured) is a former Young Achiever of the Year in the Building Services Awards. She joined the Integrated Building Group at Buro Happold in 2002 and has worked on several important projects, including the Wakefield hospitals development and the student village at the University of Sheffield. An architectural engineering graduate, she has shown “great leadership skills” and an ability to communicate technical issues to non-technical people.

Obiora Onuora (hurleypalmerflatt)

Obiora Onuora (pictured) graduated from Brunel University in 2003 with a first-class masters degree in mechanical engineering before joining hurleypalmerflatt. He is a senior engineer, leading his own projects, “coming up with ways to incorporate innovative cooling solutions and add value”. He won Building magazine’s Newcomer of the Year award 2008.

Annie Brown (Halcrow Yolles)

Chartered engineer and CIBSE Low Carbon Consultant Annie Brown (pictured) is a former finalist in the Building Services Awards Young Achiever category. She joined Halcrow Yolles in 2003 as the first female engineer in the energy and sustainable development team and has a degree in engineering and postgraduate degree in environmental sustainability. Her passion for the topic is further demonstrated by her other experience which includes volunteering at the Centre for Alternative Technology. As Halcrow Yolles’ most senior active assessor, she heads the firm’s increasing BREEAM activities, acting as a first point of contact for new clients, and leading bid preparation, marketing and management of people and finances.

Emrah Baki Ulas (Steensen Varming)

Emrah Baki Ulas is a young lighting designer working for Steensen Varming in Australia. A winner of the CIBSE Lighter of the Year Award 2008, he has been praised for “his approach to lighting and the education of others, which will be seen as having significant influence in the industry in years to come”. In becoming Lighter of the Year, Emrah presented a paper on “Light and modes of appearance in architectural contexts”, which explored the view that lighting designers can use the parameters of visual perception to create intentionally designed illusions and experiences of the reality. His dedication to education is evidenced through his lecturing work at the University of Technology and he has also been a part of the Steensen Varming team that has claimed prizes from the International Association of Lighting Designers and the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture.

Becci Taylor (Arup)

Becci Taylor joined Arup as a graduate in 2003 with a strong analytical interest in complex thermal modelling techniques and a desire to realise practical engineering designs and see them constructed. She “rapidly demonstrated an ability to communicate engineering design to non-engineers through clear graphics and words and was readily accepted by design collaborators and clients for her broad holistic and creative attitude”. The combination of an outgoing character and a willingness to take responsibility beyond her years has allowed her to take lead roles on a number of significant projects. Over the last three years she has been key to the development of a strong micro-climate design business within Arup’s buildings team, bringing together environmental physics with environmental engineering design.

Morwenna Wilson and Mike Farrell (Arup)

Morwenna Wilson from Arup was a finalist in the Construction, Property & Building Services category at this year’s Atkins Inspire Awards, which recognise the achievements of women within the built environment sector.

Since joining Arup’s Manchester office, Mike Farrell has played a key role in the design of the electrical services on a number of major projects including the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, where he worked as part of a design team on a successful competition bid for the design of a £25M laboratory facility. He was also an important member of a multidisciplinary team for the new $1.5 billion terminal 3 at Beijing Airport where his duties included assisting in the design of the public address and emergency evacuation alarm system, lighting control system and other electrical systems. Working in a multidisciplinary team for a new stadium development for Cardiff City AFC, he impressed by assisting in the design of all electrical services. Farrell joined Arup in 1997 as a pre-university trainee before embarking on a four-year MEng (Hons) degree in electrical and electronic engineering.

Benjamin Skelton (WMA Consulting)

Benjamin Skelton caught the attention of UK onlookers at the 2008 CIBSE/ASHRAE conference in April, where he impressed as part of a panel discussion on the role training of new engineers. He is an ASHRAE member working as a mechanical engineer with WMA Consulting in Chicago. His work has seen him take in life-cycle cost and energy studies for a number of projects ranging from schools to high-rise buildings.

Jonathan Page and Nikki Kane (MLM Group/Ingleton Wood)

Jonathan Page and Nikki Kane are chairman and vice-chairman respectively of the East Anglian centre of the CIBSE Young Engineers Network. They are promising engineers at consultancies MLM Group (Page) and Ingleton Wood (Kane). Page says that with the help of the East Anglia Region Committee and the London Centre of the Young Engineers Network, he and Kane started the East Anglian YEN with “the aim of arranging events targeted at young engineers, providing a central contact point where engineers could seek advice and support and also to promote the industry to schools and colleges”. Before, he says, there were very few events targeted at young engineers, with most technical presentations and social events being attended by the “same faces”, and there was no central point of contact within the region where young engineers could go for support and mentoring in their careers or on education issues.

Michael Norton (Atkins Global)

As chairman of the CIBSE Young Engineers Network, Michael Norton collected the Outstanding Contribution gong on YEN’s behalf at the Building Services Awards. It was the second successive year he had figured prominently in the event, having been a finalist in the 2007 Young Achievers category. He was another young engineer who impressed at the CIBSE/ASHRAE 2008 conference panel discussion on attracting young people into the industry.

Paul Aspinall (Arup)

Paul Aspinall’s CV boasts an array of high profile projects, including Abu Dhabi Airport where he worked on the mechanical design for the terminal. Before joing Arup in the Northwest as a mechanical engineer in the Building Services Group in 2006, he had a mainly site background, but has since rapidly progressed to doing detailed design work on several major projects. These include the Singapore Sports Hub where he was a mechanical engineer for a 50,000 national stadium, a 6000 capacity multipurpose arena and aquatics centre. He also worked on the University of Liverpool, Engineering Department Restructuring Project – a £29M refurbishment and extension of faculty buildings.

Elaine Clarke and Richard Crampton (Steensen Varming)

Young engineer Elaine Clarke, a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, relocated from Scotland to Australia to join Steensen Varming. Since emigrating, she has initiated the CIBSE Young Engineers network in Australia.

Richard Crampton was a CIBSE prizewinner while studying at the University of Northumbria. Since emigrating to Australia he has gone on to excel, working on projects including the National Gallery of Australia, improvements to the Sydney Opera House, and refurbishment work on The Old Mint. He is “openly appreciated by all his clients for his attention to detail and service” and has been cited as someone who “will continue to increase his profile in the Australian market in the years ahead”.

Rob Harris (Elementa Consulting)

Another to have featured in the Building Services Awards nominee list, Rob Harris is a principal engineer at Elementa Consulting. He is a low carbon consultant who made the shortlist in the 2007 Young Achievers Award.

Mary-Ann Wright and Nigel Banks (Faber Maunsell)

Mary-Ann Wright graduated from Brunel University with a first-class honours degree in mechanical engineering before studying for an MSc in building services and management. She is a CIBSE member who has worked on projects including the new-build campus at Middlesbrough College, which forms part of a major redevelopment of the docklands area. She drew praise for her involvement in that project but also for her eagerness to develop her own career, which she has done through the Faber Maunsell training academy.

Nigel Banks is an “exceptional all-round talent” who works in the Leeds effice of Faber Maunsell. Praised for his high technical skills, he is a former CIBSE Graduate of the Year who has written papers and presented to CIBSE Council.

Daniel Bowman (SIAS Building Services)

Daniel Bowman is a former winner at the National Training Awards for the HVACR sector, having picked up the 2005 Alfred Manly Management Award. As a director at SIAS Building Services, Bowman has also had the opportunity to project-manage large-scale retail projects.

Thomas Briault (Arup)

Thomas Briault was nominated as a young engineer to watch as a result of “his excellent project management skills”. He is a senior engineer who joined Arup in 2002. Briault specialises in energy services provision and energy service companies working within Arup’s multi-disciplinary building engineering arm, where he has been involved in a number of high-profile projects. These include coordinating a Communities and Local Government (CLG)-commissioned project with the UK Green Buildings Council to aid in setting a trajectory to zero carbon in new non-domestic buildings, similar to that set for homes.

Briault has excelled in energy engineering tasks including energy planning policy, demand mapping, renewable energy feasibility consulting and infrastructure services. Working with architects and engineers in multi-discipline teams has earned him admiration for his knowledge and skills in building services engineering through leading an engineering discipline on projects through construction.

Joanna Stevens and Chia Huay Lau (Hoare Lea)

Low carbon consultants Joanna Stevens and Chia Huay Lau are two of the rising stars at Hoare Lea. Both have played an active role in the development of the CIBSE Young Engineers Network, in London and the West Midlands respectively. Chia Huay Lau, who works in the Birmingham office, joined the Hoare Lea IPD training scheme in 2003 and won the Hoare Lea Merit Award for training in 2005. She achieved CEng MCIBSE qualification in December last year and has been involved in designing low energy buildings for Loughborough University Health, Exercise and Bio-Science facilities and office development from conceptual to detailed design stage.

Joanna Stevens graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in architecture and environmental design, and is a licensed assessor for both BREEAM for Offices and the Code for Sustainable Homes. Her projects include a residential and leisure development in south London, where she was responsible for developing the energy and sustainability strategies. These involved Part L modelling and thermal analysis of the leisure centre and dwellings, hosting passive design workshops and liaison and negotiation with planning officers. Stevens has also carried out a study for a large London developer on how to achieve a carbon neutral development. The work included dynamic thermal modelling to determine the project’s carbon footprint, working with the design team to improve the building fabric, servicing strategy and a review of low and zero-carbon technologies.

George Reilly (Buro Happold)

George Reilly is an up-and-coming building services engineer at Buro Happold. Praised for his broad view, he has worked on projects including the Museum of Transport in Glasgow.

David Newman (Briggs and Forrester Engineering Services)

David Newman is a quantity surveyor for building services engineering firm Briggs & Forrester. He was the Technician of the Year at the National Training Awards for the building services engineering sector last year, and also figured in the nominations for the Young Achievers section of the Building Services Awards.

Matthew Lander (Crowther & Shaw)

Matthew Lander was nominated as one to watch after he was chosen to represent the UK in the refrigeration event at the biennial World Skills International competition, which took place in Shizuoka, Japan last year. The competition is regarded as an exemplar for excellence in vocational training. Lander is described as a rising star in refrigeration and air-conditioning who joined the Crowther & Shaw apprenticeship scheme after undertaking a work placement at the third-generation Huddersfield firm while he was still at school.

Mitesh Patel (WSP)

Winner of the Young Achievers category at the Building Services Awards 2008, Mitesh Patel is a CIBSE-registered low carbon consultant with a first-class BEng degree. He was promoted to associate at WSP last year and has worked on projects including the £350m Sevenstone development in Sheffield, which secured both a BREEAM excellent rating and a level four rating under the Code for Sustainable Homes.