Outstanding Contribution Award for Bridge Clerk

The Chief Executive of one of the country’s oldest charities has been presented with an award for her Outstanding Contribution to Civil Engineering.

Sue Threader is the Bridge Clerk (Chief Executive) to the Rochester Bridge Trust, and was presented with its highest honour by the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Kent and East Sussex Branch.

The award recognises both Sue’s dedication to civil engineering in the world around us and to inspiring young people to take an interest in related subjects.

Regional Director Jonathan Baggs explained: “As a Fellow of the Institution, Sue lives and breathes civil engineering.”

He added: “Charged with the maintenance of Rochester’s bridges – as well as various estates around the country – she is no stranger to the transformational effect of civil engineering on people’s lives. Leading the current maintenance of the bridges, Sue’s approach takes care of these special structures as well as being sensitive to the needs of bridge users and the local community.”

Sue is currently managing the £10m Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project which will see the three bridges in the Trust’s ownership given a complete overhaul, putting them in the best possible condition for the future.

In addition, she has established an initiative to support engineering education, providing free materials to educators as well as organising ambitious activities to engage families and young people.

Jonathan added: “Sue’s work with young people and their families is exemplary and innovative – with new initiatives such as the bridge-themed adventure golf which had a six-week residency in the Nave of Rochester Cathedral over the summer, and will be showcased at the ICE headquarters in Westminster during an Engineering Late open evening.

“We hope that this ‘learning by stealth’ will create new civil engineers who care about infrastructure and society as much as she does.”

The education initiative encourages children to take an interest in engineering from an early age, before stereotyping sets in. By engaging whole families this helps further combat any misconceptions.

Education is important to the Trust because the charity has always engaged the best available bridge engineers – including Thomas Telford and Sir William Cubitt – but it has become increasingly difficult to find and recruit people with the right skills.

Sue commented: “It is an unexpected honour to receive this award for work which I enjoy so much. To look after Rochester’s bridges and to be able to engage with the civil engineers of tomorrow is a dream job for me. I’m grateful to the Institution for this recognition, and to the whole team at the Rochester Bridge Trust, who make all of our achievements possible.”

To find out more about the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project visit http://www.rbt.org.uk/refurbishment/ or see http://www.rochesterbridgetrust.org.uk/ to access the Trust’s free engineering education activities.