ICE South West appoints new board chair

Katy Toms, a senior engineer at WSP Exeter, replaces Richard Fish.

Katy Toms. Image credit: Rob Combe
Katy Toms. Image credit: Rob Combe
Katy Toms, a senior engineer at WSP Exeter, has become chair of the board of ICE South West.

Her appointment was made at the organisation’s AGM, which took place on 12 September 2019 in Exeter.

She said: “I’m extremely excited to take on this role. ICE South West has come a long way over the last few years and I look forward to continuing to drive forward change. Engineering is a fascinating industry to be a part of and I’m keen to open it up even further to the engineers of the future.”

Toms, who lives in Devon, has a long history with ICE and first joined the organisation as a student while studying engineering at Plymouth University. She first became a member of the ICE Student and Graduate Committee, before going on to chair the Plymouth City Club.


Introducing the apprentices

As part of her new role, Toms is keen to ensure that the organisation continues to grow and develop so that it stays as relevant now as it was 200 years ago when Henry Palmer formed the institution.

On her journey to do this, Toms' first steps have been to introduce two apprentices. 

Lizzie Rees and Chris Ackland, who both work for WSP in Bristol, were selected by Toms to work on projects that will have a positive impact for society through the world of civil engineering. 

Rees will be working with Toms on a project that will review ICE’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programme in the South West.

Toms said: “This project is incredibly important to me as we want to ensure that we are doing all we can to inspire the next generation of engineers.” 

STEM, and encouraging interest in the subjects among future generations, is an ongoing passion of the new ICE South West board chair.

Earlier this year, she was involved with a project that took her to Malawi. The project, which supported the construction of a classroom, was designed to share skills and ensure parents, teachers and students had the correct tools at hand to facilitate future careers in the world of STEM. 

The second project, which Toms will work on with Ackland, is to engage with ICE’s digital partners in the South West. The project will consider emerging technology and the breakthroughs this will have for the ever-evolving world of engineering.

Toms takes over the role from Richard Fish, who was ICE South West board chair for two years. 

Miranda Housden, ICE South West Director, said: “The board is delighted to welcome Katy as its Chair - we are extremely excited that Katy is taking on this role for the region. She will be a brilliant role model for aspiring young men and women looking to join this dynamic and fascinating industry. We are all looking forward to seeing how her apprentices’ projects develop.” 
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