Prestige Lecture and Presentation of the Karen Burt Award 2015

This Prestige Lecture Evening on 4 November 2015 in conjunction with the Rochester Bridge Trust will also include the presentation of the WES Karen Burt Award for Best Newly Qualified Chartered Engineer.


Taking place at One Great George Street in London, home of the Institution of Civil Engineering, this event will look at bridges from the past, present and future. 

Past bridge designs will be discussed by Sue Threader, Clerk of the Rochester Bridge Trust, who will tell us more about the history of bridges and of the Bridge Trust itself.

The bridge of the present day we are focusing on is the Waterloo Bridge, sometimes called the Ladies Bridge, which was built in during the second World War by women construction workers. The story of the bridge and the current day campaign to commemorate these women workers through a Blue Plaque campaign will be told by Sandi Rhys Jones.

Bridges of the Future are looking to provide more than just connectivity. Technical advances are likely to be small but a greater focus is being given to providing user experiences, some more challenging than others. There is also a heightened focus on increasing prosperity, through simple provision in developing countries but far more widely in the developed world.

The event will be chaired by Dana Skelly, Director of Asset Management at Transport for London.Rochester Bridge Trust

Chair: Dana Skelley, Director of Asset Management, Transport for London


  • Bridges of the Past: Mrs Sue Threader BEng (Hons) CEng MICE, Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive), Rochester Bridge Trust
  • Bridges of the Present: The Story of the Waterloo Bridge, Sandi Rhys Jones OBE
  • Bridges of the Future. Caroline Tong, Major Crossing Development Director, CH2M

Presentation of the Karen Burt Award 2015.

Dana Skelley is Director of Assets for Surface Transport. A Chartered civil engineer with an MBA specialising in organisational culture her passions are developing people and improving the built environment. She has worked in the world of London’s infrastructure on both historic and new assets, ranging from bus stations and traffic signals to tunnels and bridges. She has influenced a wide range stakeholders and pioneered collaborative supply chain arrangements across London.

Dana has sponsored or delivered improvements to major London structures and sites including Hammersmith flyover, Trafalgar Square, and virtually all of the Thames crossings including the new Silvertown Tunnel. Dana has initiated unprecedented collaboration in highways and infrastructure delivery across London and is a firm advocate of maximising efficiency whilst bettering the customer experience through joined up and sustainable approaches extending across all assets and programmes.

Dana Chairs the UK Bridges Board, is an active member of the UK Roads Liaison Group, the Highways Management Efficiency Programme Board, Future Highways and the Worlds Roads Association.

Sue Threader is a Chartered Civil Engineer, having graduated with a B.Eng. in Civil and Structural Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 1988. She worked for several local authorities as a civil engineer and transportation planner before joining the international engineering consultancy, WSP Group plc, in 1998 as a Technical Director.

Moving back to the public sector in 2001, Sue held the post of Deputy Chief Executive and firstly Director of Services, then Director of Resources, for a district council in Surrey. Her first child was born in 2004 and, after returning to her previous post for 6 months, she then worked as a freelance management consultant specialising in procurement and public sector trouble-shooting. She was appointed as the Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive) of the Rochester Bridge Trust in January 2006 - the first woman and the first chartered engineer to hold the post in its 600 year history.

Apart from working for the Trust two days a week, Sue regularly gives talks on the history of the Trust and on civil engineering, particularly the history of bridges, to schools and interested groups. She runs engineering workshops and clubs for younger children and has written a book on bridge building for primary schools.  Sue is the Chairman of the ICE Kent & East Sussex Heritage Engineering Group and has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for her work in inspiring the next generation of young people to become civil engineers.

Sandi Rhys Jones, OBE
Sandi has spent more than 30 years in the engineering and construction sectors, delivering management and marketing services to contractors, consultants, suppliers, representative organisations and local and national government in the UK and abroad. She is experienced in the management and practical implementation of business development programmes, including strategy, research, culture change, talent management and corporate communications.

Sandi was involved for many years in the management editing of international conditions of contract for engineering projects and to develop her expertise, she undertook the MSc course in Construction Law & Arbitration at Kings College London and then trained as a mediator. She is an experienced non-executive director in public and private sector organisations including EngineeringUK, the Royal Marines Museum, the Simons Group and Docklands Light Railway. She is currently chair of a development committee at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.

Sandi is a committed advocate of the importance of engineering and the built environment to society, particularly the role of women, and has participated in a number of government/industry committees and initiatives. She has developed a number of good practice programmes, particularly in relation to recruitment and retention issues, and has developed innovative mentoring and coaching schemes, practical toolkits and guidelines, training programmes and seminars. Sandi was appointed OBE in 1998 for her work promoting women in construction, became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building in 2002, awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in 2005 and appointed a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute in 2012.

Caroline Tong BSc, CEng, MICE
I graduated from City University in 1991, following completion of a five year sandwich course and have spent my entire career with CH2M HILL, legacy Halcrow. On graduation I was extremely fortunate to spend six years on the design and construction of the Second Severn Crossing, which was a fantastic entry to the world of long span crossings and fuelled my interest in bridge engineering. Over the years I have worked on the full spectrum of bridges from local authority maintenance schemes through to design and build projects and international major crossings, getting involved in project delivery, business development and more recently leading a 130 strong team in Europe. I am currently leading the technical engagement for the options study on the Lower Thames Crossing. One of my passions is mentoring and encouraging young people in their engineering careers and I am actively involved both as a SCE and a Reviewer with the Institution of Civil Engineers. I also strongly believe in the importance of promoting engineering to school children and have undertaken a wide variety of activities with both primary and secondary school children. Married with two teenage children I try to balance the demands of work with a busy home life, generally successfully.

Future of Bridges
As we move forward, bridges are looking to provide more than just connectivity. Technical advances are likely to be small but a greater focus is being given to providing user experiences, some more challenging than others. There is also a heightened focus on increasing prosperity, through simple provision in developing countries but far more widely in the developed world.