Institution of Royal Engineers
A learned society that seeks to advance the art and science of military engineering by sharing experiences, best practice and emerging thinking.
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The Joint Professional Meeting (JPM) between the Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers will consider military and civilian approaches to flooding.
As climate change continues to impact the environment, organisations and agencies have needed to adapt their crisis response options in a dynamic way; this has required increased investment, cultural and institutional change, as well as closer partnerships to ensure a better outcome.
The JPM will provide a platform to examine developments and improvements in reactions to flooding emergencies over the last ten years using international and domestic examples.
Presentations will examine the evolved challenges faced by the Environmental Agency, military engineers, and the wider engineering profession as a result of facing more extreme weather conditions, the resilience measures required, how entities are preparing to tackle new threats, and what the future might hold. The meeting will culminate in a panel and Q&A session.
In collaboration with the InstRE, this event will build on ICE’s commitment to encourage engineers to live, breathe and deliver on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. By embedding the Sustainable Development Goals into the way we plan, design, and manage our infrastructure, we can improve the way we deliver these interventions to strengthen communities, create solid economic foundations, and live up to our responsibilities on climate change and the environment.
Registration and refreshments [Registrations start at 18:30 BST for those attending in person. For those joining online, we recommend logging in at 18:45 BST to test connections.]
Welcome address by ICE President Keith Howells
International Flooding: How does the UK support natural disasters overseas – a military perspective
(Major Gemma Simister RE)
The context and lessons from the flooding in Pakistan in 2022
(Speaker from the Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority)
Development in Environment Agency capability and lessons learnt
(Mr Stefan Laeger, Environment Agency)
Domestic flooding: military experiences of flooding both across Southern/South West England and Cumbria operations/development of RE Support to the Environment Agency and conclusions
(Lt Col Steve Dollimore RE)
Panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Maj Gen Nick Cavanagh CB, President, InstRE.
Summation by Maj Gen Nick Cavanagh CB, President, InstRE
Networking reception for in-person attendees
Institution of Civil Engineers
Keith Howells is the 158th President of the ICE.
Having graduated in civil engineering in 1974, Keith joined one of the founder members of the Mott MacDonald Group and spent the first 10 years of his career in infrastructure design and project management, mostly in the water and transport sectors. On completing an MBA in 1986, he became involved with the planning, feasibility, and financial and economic analysis of projects, principally in the water and environmental sectors. Over the next decade he worked on numerous projects funded by the international finance institutions as well as by UK government bodies.
Keith has built career long experience in the planning, study and design of hydraulic structures, hydropower, urban drainage, sewerage, water supply and river engineering schemes. He has worked in numerous countries as well as in the UK. He ran the firm’s Water and Environment business from 1997 to 2002, before becoming the Group Managing Director in 2004, directing the firm’s expansion in North America and Australasia. Keith became Chair of the Group’s Executive Board in 2011, responsible to shareholders for the performance of the company and its strategic direction – a role he continued until mid-2019.
Keith was on the board of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering from 2011 to 2015, and its Chair in 2013; he was a member of the CBI’s Construction Council from 2013 to 2019; and a member of the Cranfield School of Management Advisory Board from 2012 to 2020. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Institution of Royal Engineers
Major General Nick Cavanagh was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1988 after reading engineering at Cambridge University. Over a full military career, he has commanded engineers on operations and exercises at home and overseas including operational tours of Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also completed a range of non-operational roles including as the Assistant Head of Army Infrastructure Plans, the Assistance Chief of Staff for the deployable Field Army, the Director of Manning for the Army and Director of Strategy and Planning in the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Defence’s infrastructure advisory and delivery agent delivering c£3.5Bn of infrastructure spend annually.
Since January 2021 he has been the Development Director for the Advisory and Programmes Division within the European Region of Mott MacDonald. He was elected as the President of the Institution of Royal Engineers in October 2018 and was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2019.
Commanding Officer 66 Works Group
Lieutenant Colonel Steve Dollimore was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 2004. With operational tours to Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan he has served across the Corps in armoured, light and air support engineer roles. Following an 18-month civilian attachment with both a main contractor and a design consultant in Perth, Australia, he was awarded his CEng with the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2014. Following this, highlights have included delivering camps across Oman and the infrastructure required for a large-scale joint exercise and developing the Army’s STRIKE engineer capability.
More recently he has been supporting the delivery of Strategic Command’s Major Projects and Programmes, an infrastructure portfolio worth nearly a £1Bn with projects in the UK and across the world. He is currently the Commanding Officer of 66 Works Group RE, commanding a number of specialist infrastructure sub-units who support Theatre Enablement, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief as well providing technical support to United Kingdom Other Government Departments, which includes being Defence’s Liaison Officer to the Environment Agency. He also has the pleasure to Command the Nottinghamshire Band of Royal Engineers.
National Incident Planning Manager
Stefan is an experienced leader in Flood Risk and Environmental Incident Management and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). He has over 17 years of operational experience in delivering key outcomes, operational services, shaping our strategic approach across the full breath of flood, environment, and emergency management.
Stefan has been involved in preparing, responding, or learning from all major flood incidents since 2007. His current duty role is as a National Flood Duty Manager which includes leading the central government liaison during major incidents. He is well versed in developing partnerships, delivering improvements, and embedding transformational change in flood and environmental management.
As major Project Leader, he delivered the state of the art, multi million pound Incident Management Forecasting System which provides valuable forecasts on flood and other risks so that the Environment Agency, our partners and communities are ready and prepared for the next incident across England.
Currently, Stefan is heading up the national Incident Planning Team which leads on the Environment Agency’s national preparedness, incident planning and operational partnerships with key responders, including Ministry of Defence, National Fire Chiefs Council, Voluntary sector and others.
CIMIC, Joint Force Headquarters
staff officer 2
Major Gemma Simister commissioned into the Royal Engineers in May 2007, gaining armoured engineering, training regiment, EOD and search and force support engineering experience in her early career. Highlights included deployments on Op HERRICK and to Arromanches-les-Bains for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.
For her sub-unit command appointment, Gemma was assigned as Officer Commanding 48 Field Squadron and was lucky enough to deploy the Squadron on Operation TRENTON 6 in support of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan.
Her staff experience has been operational support focussed, initially with NATO, then HQ Field Army within the Commitments Branch and currently at Joint Force Headquarters where, in her first year, she has deployed on both Op GREENLIGHTER (Turkey Earthquake response) and Op POLARBEAR (Sudan evacuation). In addition, she has worked at HQ MOD A Block as SO2 Command Plans, focussed on strategic level risk management.
Having retired from playing rugby in 2016, she spent some years doing CrossFit but has since clearly started a mid-life crisis and has become a triathlete and time trial cyclist.
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