It’s not enough to be just an engineer; the profession must act for the benefit of people and planet, says Tanya de Hoog, new president of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).
‘Engineering with a purpose’ is the theme of de Hoog’s inaugural presidential address today – and of her year in office – and it’s a call she says is as valid for the wider built environment, as it is for her fellow engineers.
In her speech, de Hoog will call for their collective expertise to be harnessed to accelerate meaningful, scaleable, and positive change – both for the environment and for humanity.
This focuses on the important role of structural engineers to drive climate action, uphold public safety, and positively impact people.
“My vision and call to action for our members – and colleagues in other professions that work with structural engineers – is to commit to evolving and expanding our mindset and skills now, acknowledging the global challenges before us, and our responsibility to contribute as individuals with unique professional skills,” de Hoog says.
A principal at Thornton Tomasetti, de Hoog succeeds Matthew Byatt as IStructE’s103rd president. She is the institution’s fourth woman president in its 116-year history, and its second president from Australia.
Yasmin Becker, chief executive of IStructE, said: “Tanya’s been involved with this institution since 2014, proactively collaborating across the industry. She’s a passionate advocate for her profession, with a distinguished global career. She’s committed to industry-wide collaboration, and has a vision that truly inspires. I look forward to working with her further in 2024.”
At her inaugural lecture, and to start de Hoog’s presidential year, a film will be shown of over 60 IStructE members making commitments for the benefit of People and Planet.
They use statement cards that define the actions they will take, such as championing inclusivity by mentoring, enhancing their own engineering competence, or reducing embodied carbon compared to their previous projects by at least 10% in 2024.
Paying tribute to Matt Byatt, her 2023 presidential predecessor, de Hoog said: “He has made an immense contribution to the profession, and I thank him for his passion for broadening our profession, and advocating for greater accessibility to knowledge which have formed the cornerstone of my 2024 focus.”
She went on to say: “I’m incredibly grateful to our engineers and supporting professions globally for making commitments so willingly – it’s a very positive start to 2024 on which we can build. The aim here is to make the ‘engineering with purpose’ vision come to life, by building an engineering cohort for change using commitments aligned for the benefit of People and Planet.”
Main image: Tanya de Hoog FIStructE, CEng, MIEAust, the Institution of Structural Engineers’ new President for 2024
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