Clare Lavelle Wins Prestigious Karen Burt Award for Chartered Engineer

Clare Lavelle

The Women's Engineering Society is delighted to announce the winner of the Karen Burt Award 2016 as the Energy Institute’s candidate Clare Lavelle. This prestigious annual award for a newly chartered woman engineer, now in its 18th year, recognises the candidate's excellence and potential in the practice of engineering, highlights the importance of Chartered status, as well as offering recognition to contributions made by the candidate to the promotion of the engineering profession.

During her career Clare Lavelle, the 2016 winner, has successfully delivered a number of technically challenging major projects in the energy sector including the development of the world’s first commercial wave farms at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney and the development of Hammerfest Storm tidal technology. Clare has also helped over 2.5 GW of offshore wind projects in UK waters to successfully achieve planning consent. In Clare’s current role as Arup’s Energy Consulting Business Leader in Scotland and the North East, she manages a team of consultants delivering technical commissions in the energy sector in offshore wind, wave, tidal, oil and gas decommissioning, and carbon capture and storage among others.

Clare says of winning the award: “It is a privilege to represent WES, who do such important work in improving the profile of women in the engineering industry. I’m glad to be able to contribute to these efforts to make the industry more accessible as I believe that greater gender balance is key to our profession being able to play an even greater role in society. From helping getting wave farms off the ground, to looking at capturing and storing CO2 – engineering has provided me with a challenging career and the opportunity to work on some incredible projects.  I am excited about my future career and where engineering will take me.”

The Women's Engineering Society has a number of different mechanisms for supporting women in engineering, and through this award it recognises the importance of ensuring that women gain professional recognition of their achievements as early in their career as possible.

Linda Maynard, chair of the judging panel for the award, said “The judges had a difficult task this year with 14 very high calibre nominations. Clare’s application was remarkable in all aspects of the four judging criteria of, quality of application, career progression and experience, future aspirations and most importantly the promotion of the profession. The judges were very impressed with her enthusiasm for engineering and commitment to encouraging girls into the profession. Although there were very few marks separating each of the candidates all three judges agreed Clare is a very worthy winner of the 2016 Award”.  

Benita Mehra, President of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) said “Our Karen Burt award winner Clare Lavelle demonstrates that self-belief and enthusiasm has led her to think about how she can made a difference. As being technically able is a prerequisite to being an engineer and now it involves teamwork, peer engagement and wanting to make a difference.”

The award was presented to Clare on 8 November at the WES Caroline Haslett Prestige Lecture in London given by Dame Stephanie Shirley. This year’s lecture was entitled ‘Women in Tech: What Challenges Do We Face Today?’ Dame Shirley shared her thoughts on her industry experiences, what we need to be doing in the future, and how we can engage both women and men to think about inclusivity in the workplace. She also signed copies of her memoir Let IT Go, which chronicles her career path, from her 1939 arrival to the UK as an unaccompanied child refugee, to becoming a pioneering IT entrepreneur in the 1960’s, and turning towards philanthropy in her retirement.