Northern Counties Annual Dinner & Structural Awards

Published: 17/01/2017

The award winners pose with their certificates

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts hosted the 2016 Northern Counties Annual Dinner and Structural Awards. Craig Higgins describes the event.

The Baltic was the perfect setting for the event, with its fabulous views over the bridges of the River Tyne. It is the first time the Northern Counties Regional Group has held such an event for a number of years. The North East appears to be finding its voice once again, with added confidence in the region’s future beginning to translate into new buildings and infrastructure.

The event began with a very personal and insightful speech by current Regional Group Chairman, Mr Doug Kay, who spoke of his own experiences, outlining why he became a structural engineer. Mr Gary Malkin, Baltic Archivist, followed with an interesting speech into the history and construction of the iconic Flour Mill.

The event was well attended by a range of consultancies, comprising both local and international companies from around the region. 

Chandra Vemury of Teesside University, was one of the Awards judges. He said:

“We were really impressed with the quality of work, and felt it appropriate to offer a number of commendations as well, to reflect the high standard of entries. Not all the projects were skyscrapers or iconic, but there were some great examples of innovation in design, driven by commercial understanding and necessity. The format of the applications meant the submissions had to be concise and to the point, so the engineering achievements stood out.”

Fellow Committee Member, Trevor Little, added:

"What we can see here tonight is that the awards are being well attended by younger graduates and technicians who have been important in the delivery of these projects. They are talking about what they have done with enthusiasm and pride. It is clear that the companies here appreciate their contributions and see their value. Collaboration is being celebrated, and that is a great thing.”

Northern Counties Structural Award winners:

Best Project (Over £1M Value) - St Thomas More Extension, Blaydon James Christopher Consulting
Best Project (Under £1M Value) - Glass Atrium, Private Residence , London James Christopher Consulting
Best Sustainable Project - Leeming Bar Biogas Facility Billinghurst George & Partners
Best Heritage/ Regeneration Project -  Appleby Castle, Westmoreland Structural & Civil Consultants

Other prizes:

Lifetime achievement Award:

This was presented to Barry Walmsley CEng FIStructE FICE FHEA, who began his career at Ove Arup & Partners more than 40 year ago. Since then he has served both the practice and education of structural engineering with the highest levels of skill and commitment.

More than a technically exceptional and commercially astute engineer, he is a man of conscience who cares deeply for people and the environment. This is clearly reflected in the projects he led such as the Oncology Wing of Leeds NHS Trust (£146m), Children’s and Maternity segments of Leeds St James’ Hospital (£300m) and Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital-Alder Hey (£200m). Just to cite some of his other major projects: West Riding Football Stadium (1989-99); Bhairabh Bridge, Bangladesh (2000-03); and Cleveland College of Art and Design (2008-10). After 37 years in the industry, he undertook an academic position at Teesside University and has become Course Leader for the undergraduate programmes in civil engineering.

Young Engineer of the Year

Was awarded to Mark Fyson of Arup. Unfortunately, Mark was unable to attend on the night as his wife had just given birth to their second son, Reuben. The Institution passes on its congratulations to Mark and his family.

Doug Kay added: 

“What is particularly pleasing for me tonight is to see the Young Members of the Institution attending here in great numbers. They are engaging in their profession and their commitment and enthusiasm should be encouraged. We hope to turn this into a regular event and take advantage of the interest and momentum this event has given us in the region.”


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