New chair of ACE to help members face “challenge of a generation”

Picture courtesy of Buro Happold

Dr Sarah Prichard has pledged to support the Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) and the organisation’s members as they come together and face the “challenge of a generation”.

She believes membership of ACE gives companies of all sizes a stronger voice and a greater impact when it comes to putting the built environment sector at the heart of the global net zero challenge. 

The partner and managing director for UK Buildings, Hong Kong and China at Buro Happold is also focused on ACE’s delivery of its 2022 to 2025 blueprint.

Dr Prichard believes this blueprint will support ACE members in being more impactful and driving economic growth across the UK, whilst developing skills for a greener future and ensuring the industry continues to focus on safety, equality and inclusion.  

“The Association for Consultancy and Engineering is the industry body responsible for representing the views of 400 member organisations in the sector and has a leading voice, showcasing the industry’s role in tackling climate change,” Dr Prichard says.

“Through working with and representing the views of member firms, from micro-organisations to those representing tens of thousands of employees, it works with the UK and devolved governments to shape policy and ensure the industry gets the recognition it deserves.

“As Chair of ACE, I will support the CEO in implementing the Blueprint, and ensuring it has a significant impact on the industry.”

She adds it is crucial that member organisations unite and promote consultancy and engineering in the UK, to increase the profile of the industry overall, as well as individual member organisations. 

“Our industry needs to be more diverse, more inclusive and prouder of the contribution its members make to the UK - both in incredible projects of all scales, and to GDP and skills,” she says.

Recognising the built environment sector will be a “major contributor” to resolving challenges associated with the climate emergency and acknowledging the challenge is too great for individual organisations working alone, she adds collaboration between ACE member organisations of all sizes is key. 

“Our unity will result in us having a stronger voice, amplifying our message and achieving recognition of the importance of our industry to overcome the challenges and addressing the opportunities afforded by the drive towards net zero,” she says. 

Welcoming Dr Prichard to the chair’s role, Stephen Marcos Jones, chief executive of ACE and the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), said: “We’re really pleased to be able to benefit from Dr Prichard’s vast knowledge and experience, as she takes on the chair’s role and we also thank our previous chair Dave Beddell for his tireless hard work and commitment.

“Dr Prichard has been involved with ACE since joining the Board in January 2020, as the chair of the Net Zero Taskforce - now the Climate Change Advisory group - which spans both EIC and ACE.

“She is a passionate advocate for the industry’s role in working towards achieving net zero goals and under her leadership, the group investigated the readiness of the industry to meet the UK’s net zero targets and produced a guide for member organisations at earlier stages in their net zero journey, including our SME members.”

He adds: “We feel sure Dr Prichard will support ACE to maintain a clear and distinct voice in the industry, helping us to support and represent our members in everything that we do.”

Dave Beddell, director of growth, Europe & India - Global Business Line at AECOM, said: “I have enjoyed working with ACE and feel that Stephen and the board have made significant progress to modernise ACE.

“In doing so, they have ensured ACE is well-placed to serve members during a transformational period for the industry and in the future.

“Having worked with Dr Prichard within ACE, members can be assured they will be well represented under her leadership and I have every confidence she will build upon the work ACE has already done, supporting Stephen to successfully drive the implementation of the ACE Blueprint.”

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