The inaugural Young Professionals Panel (YPP) was appointed in April 2018 to support and inform the Commission’s work, and raise awareness and engage younger audiences in shaping the future of the UK’s infrastructure.
The 16 young professionals appointed to the inaugural Panel are listed below (a new Panel is being appointed and will be announced in June 2020). The Panel devised their own work plan for their term in office, reflecting particularly on how infrastructure should be planned and delivered to meet the needs of future generations. Panel members attended parts of Commission meetings and fed into various policy discussions.
Highlights of the YPP’s work can be found across these pages, including the ‘Thought Pieces’ which are offered as provocations for reflection on the future of infrastructure, cutting across sectoral boundaries and traditional approaches and offering ideas for the future.
Across the material on these pages, the YPP explore how infrastructure is a great integrator at best – connecting people and places, supporting local economy and fostering social interaction; while at worst, badly planned or lacking infrastructure leaves communities cut off, whether physically, digitally or socially.
Manager - Ofgem
Matthew grew up in a village outside Ely in Cambridgeshire. His interests have always been in science and technology, which he pursued at both GCSE and A Level. That led him to undertake a Masters in Electrical Engineering at Durham University, graduating in the summer of 2014. He then joined Ofgem on their graduate scheme, covering areas including both energy network regulation and retail protection. After the graduate scheme, he took up a permanent role in the networks division of Ofgem, looking at the use of competition within monopoly regulation.
Senior Consultant - Atkins
John is a senior consultant at Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group. He works in the transportation sector, specialising in Intelligent Mobility. This is a new way of thinking about how to use technology and data to connect people, places and goods across all transport modes. John works in both project delivery and business development, and is involved a range of innovative projects related to connected and autonomous vehicles and mobility as a service. He holds a Master’s degree in Town and Country Planning and has spent six years working in the transportation sector across highways, rail and active travel.
Principal Engineer - WSP
Alison’s career has been focused on flood risk and sustainable water management within the UK (mostly in Birmingham) and globally, including two years in New York City (NYC).
She has championed the sustainable management of water, with a desire to influence strategic policy and guidance and thinking about the lasting legacy of the decisions we make today. Alison’s involvement with NYC’s response to Superstorm Sandy ignited her passion and desire to design and influence resilience to our changing climate, leading to a strong belief that Britain could be a global leader in ‘Living with Water.’ She has long been a passionate advocate of evidence based policymaking and planning, and hopes to contribute her first-hand experience of dealing with a major natural disaster in New York to future proofing the UK’s critical infrastructure.
Associate - Deetu
Through an early established passion for understanding the way we live, work and travel, Josh has formed an enthusiasm for the future of infrastructure that has steered his career to where he is today. He is an associate and founding member of Deetu, the data and technology development hub of BWB Consulting. The variety of work he undertakes there varies widely, from the creation of city-wide investment plans to the formation of asset data models and visualisations. However, with a background in geography, he predominantly focuses upon the implementation of location intelligence within the built environment.
Consultant - Arup
Victor works as a consultant for Arup. Before this he worked in the economics department of the Greater London Authority (GLA) and as the operations manager for a microfinance institution in the Philippines. Living in poorly planned urban settings in Manila and witnessing the devastating impacts of Typhoon Haiyan on vulnerable coastal cities drove him to explore how economic solutions can contribute to urban wellbeing. In his current role, he advises the private sector, governments and their agencies, and voluntary and community organisations on projects spanning the fields of energy, transport, and the resilience of the built environment.
Innovation Project Manager - SSE
Laura Hawkins works for Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSE). Her role in the Innovation team is running projects which help the electricity network become the most efficient, low carbon network it can. The projects Laura works on are specifically supporting the low carbon transition to enable more renewable energy and new technology such as EVs to connect to the network. While Laura studied for her undergraduate degree in renewable energy at the University of Exeter, she took a number of work placements which led to her interest in the electricity networks – investigating how generation technologies tie together. After her degree, she worked with Marks & Spencer in the Energy Team for her four-year industrial doctorate, based at the University of Reading. She worked at IBM as an energy and Utilities Consultant and UK Power Networks as an Innovation Project Lead before her current role. Her interests lie in the interactions between different infrastructure sectors.
Legal Counsel - Vattenfall
Jenn Holgate is Legal Counsel at Vattenfall, a leading European energy company whose goal is to achieve “fossil free living in one generation”. Jenn sits within the energy solutions team and is responsible for all legal matters relating to heat networks, district heating and wider decarbonisation measures for projects across the UK. Throughout her legal career Jenn has specialized in the delivery of a wide variety of infrastructure projects across the UK, including regeneration sites, residential, renewable energy, retail, grid, roads and rail.
Innovation Lead - AECOM
Rosie Hughes is driven by a fascination with how people move around, with a specialist interest in the road network. Rosie has developed a diverse practice base from understanding and engaging people and projects in infrastructure contexts. She is a creative consulting professional with demonstrated capacity for leading change in the UK civil engineering highways design sector, promoting innovation in project delivery. Having graduated from the University of Sheffield with a PhD that focused on rural road use practices, Rosie uses her expertise in Practice Theory to challenge our approach to infrastructure as an industry.
Co-Founder - The Future Fox
Annette Jezierska is the co-founder of The Future Fox, a transport technology company working to accelerate the development of smart, sustainable and people-focused city infrastructure. She previously worked at Sustrans, the UK sustainable transport charity, where she built a track record in developing citizen-centric urban infrastructure solutions with multi-disciplinary teams. She led key projects including the feasibility stage of the Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe cycle bridge, and the commercial bid to deliver London’s Quietway cycle route network. She previously worked for Westminster City Council to increase recycling rates. She has an MA and MSci in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.
Co-Founder - Marko & Placemakers
Petra is co-founder of Marko & Placemakers, a city design consultancy addressing the overlaps between place, process and people, reaching beyond the physical aspects of design. She believes that sustainable design practice is about combining creativity with hands-on facilitation and mediation. Petra led placemaking strategies and town centre studies for several London boroughs, and was recently part of the winning team for the National Infrastructure Commission’s Cambridge to Oxford growth corridor competition. She has taught at institutions including the London School of Architecture and Stadslab Urban Design Laboratory and sits on the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Guerrilla Tactics Steering Group. She has a diploma in architecture (TU Vienna) and a Masters in Creative Entrepreneurship (Goldsmiths, University of London).
Associate - Haptic Architects
Madeleine is an Associate Architect at Haptic Architects where she has worked on projects including Oslo Airport City, HS2 Euston Station, and a community pavilion in Kings Cross. Trained as both an architect and structural engineer, she is interested in finding creative solutions that integrate engineering and urban design. She has worked internationally at firms in the UK, Switzerland and China, on projects ranging from temporary pavilions and theatres to infrastructure and masterplanning.
Madeleine was recently selected as co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale, with a proposal that explores privatised public spaces across the UK. Passionate about promoting a creative understanding of the city, she sits on the National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Panel and teaches and lectures at universities that have included the Architectural Association, the University of Sheffield and the University of London. She was shortlisted for Building Design’s 2019 Female Architectural Leader of the Year Award.
Associate - Quod
Charlotte is an urban planner and cities enthusiast. As an associate at Quod, her focus has been strategic planning: she develops planning strategies to deliver complex and long-term projects, such as garden towns and Heathrow’s third runway. Outside of her day job, Charlotte helps run the London chapter of Urbanistas: a women-led network that amplifies the voices of women across the built environment sector to make cities better for everyone.
Engineer - Stantec
Henry works as a civil engineer at Stantec. After graduating from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Henry trained as a mathematics teacher before re-joining the engineering profession. He enjoys working in transport because its networks have highly mathematical properties that can be analysed in a range of mathematical ways. Henry has worked on a range of projects inside and outside of working – including various road, rail and cycling schemes – that have relied on reusing abandoned infrastructure.
Engineer - Dandara
Christian O’Brien is an Engineer at property developer Dandara, where he is responsible for the engineering project management of residential and commercial developments across Southern England, from land acquisition through to completion. Before working for his previous employer, national housebuilder Bellway Homes, he achieved a First Class Hons Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Surrey and was sponsored by design consultancy Peter Brett Associates. Christian was involved in a wide variety of public infrastructure projects and even travelled to Costa Rica to pursue his interests in renewable energy systems, sustainable housing design and appropriate use of technology. He has been recognised as ‘Client Graduate of the Year’ by the New Civil Engineer magazine, in addition to receiving the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the University of Surrey for his commitments to STEM and schools outreach.
Associate - McKinsey
Martin is an Associate with McKinsey & Company’s Capital Projects and Infrastructure team, a Chartered Civil Engineer and reservist with the British Army infrastructure support group. He has a diverse background which includes mineral exploration operations in sub-saharan Africa, geotechnical design for the nuclear and oil & gas industries, and more recently in management consulting. A keen surfer, Martin is passionate about all things outdoors.
Civil Engineer - University of Cambridge
Sakthy is a chartered engineer who has worked across different roles, continents and cultures. These roles include designing new structures on mega-projects like Crossrail, assessment to upgrade UK infrastructure assets, and working on sites to resolve critical construction issues. She has also worked in R&D, developing new solutions and technologies to change the way infrastructure is designed, constructed and maintained. She is currently undertaking doctoral research at Cambridge University on applying a rapidly advancing radar satellite imagery technology to reduce vulnerability of infrastructure within the urban environment, as well as understand how we can derive value from monitoring data.
From innovative funding models to ways to cut waste and enhance our transport hubs, the YPP’s opinion pieces below set out questions and possible directions towards a paradigm shift in individual and collective decision making that, they argue, can lead us to places where the human and natural world can thrive.
The following thought pieces reflect the views of each author, rather than the Commission.
Flexi-ticketing on the Railway
Opportunities for Infrastructure Design to Combat Loneliness
Flexible working – working with or against flexible electricity networks?
Experience vs things
Crowd-funding Local Infrastructure
Shifts in Consumer Behaviour: Make do and Mend?
Could post-pandemic Britain be a breath of fresh air?
The inaugural YPP launched a regular podcast, Infra[un]structured, featuring special guests from across the infrastructure world. Each podcast was hosted by Charlotte Mitchell and the series covers a diverse range of topics including tunnels, community engagement and design.
Listen below – or if you’re on the move, you can listen via Soundcloud.
You can listen to all 11 editions of Infra[un]structured produced by the 2018-20 cohort by clicking on the links below.
Episode 11 – Railway Stations
Episode 10 – Carbon
Episode 9 – Design
Episode 8 – Cities
Episode 7 – Infrastructure and Housing
Episode 6 – Community Engagement
Episode 5 – Tunnels
Episode 4 – Electric Vehicles
Episode 3 – Diversity
Episode 2 – Data Visualisation
Episode 1 – Air Pollution
The inaugural YPP established a programme of ‘Infracafés’ – free informal events held around the UK to prompt conversations about infrastructure.
The first two events were held in July 2019 and a third in January 2020. Read more about each infracafé by clicking on the links below.