Supporting and informing the Commission's work
Established in 2018, the Young Professionals Panel (YPP) supports and informs the Commission’s work and ensures a strong voice for the next generation of infrastructure leaders in the Commission’s programme.
The YPP brings together professionals from across industry, including quantity surveyors, engineers, economists and rail experts. Established in 2018 to provide fresh thinking to the National Infrastructure Commission’s work in long term infrastructure planning, a key goal of the panel is to raise awareness and engage younger audiences in shaping the future of the UK’s infrastructure.
A new cohort was appointed in July 2020 and a short biography of each member is available at the bottom of this page.
One of the ways in which the YPP engages with the issues associated with long term infrastructure planning is through its own podcast, Infra[un]structured. Each episode is hosted by one or two members of the panel. Together with invited guests from across the infrastructure sector, they get under the bonnet of a range of issues relevant to the Commission’s work programme, such as net zero energy, smart infrastructure and the role of infrastructure in levelling up disparities in the economic geography of the UK.
All the episodes of the podcast – including those recorded by members of the first YPP cohort – are available by clicking on the button below.
The YPP has produced a brief video explaining what ‘levelling up’ means, in the first of a series of explainers to help introduce key topics in economic infrastructure.
A second video, produced in March 2021, offers the YPP’s perspective on the range of factors which might inform prioritisation of awards from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.
2018-2020 YPP cohort
Details of the work they undertook, including launching the Infra[un]structured podcast series, can be found on the Generational Shift pages via the link below.Generational Shift
Ann Zhang (Chair)
Economist - PA Consulting
This is a biography for Ann Zhang (Chair)
Ann is an economist at PA Consulting and specialises in policy and regulation. She is passionate about supporting better decision making for investment and believes that mission-driven infrastructure policy is the key to tackling some of the biggest challenges facing society today.
Ann works with policymakers to understand the socioeconomic value of infrastructure, and the ways in which we can set investment incentives to deliver its full potential. She also leads PA’s State aid practice and has advised on several publicly funded infrastructure schemes including the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund. In her spare time, Ann enjoys urban planning in Animal Crossing as well as being an avid traveller.
Senior Transport Planner - WSP
This is a biography for Calum Askins
Calum is a senior transport planner at WSP working in transport modelling and development planning. His current role is as a consultant with Transport for Greater Manchester supporting the rapid transit Metrolink expansion across Manchester.
He applied to join the Young Professionals Panel as he has always wanted to have an appreciation of the factors that contribute to the north-south differences when it comes to infrastructure. He hopes to be in a position to influence change in this area as my career advances.
Calum holds a Masters in Town Planning and worked in transport for over five years. He began as a transport engineer, moved into microsimulation modelling and is now widening his experience into the development of public transport interventions, in particular rapid transit schemes.
Calum also sits on WSP’s national committee for young engineers helping to create a platform for the younger generation’s voice, supporting career growth and building professional networks.
Asset Management Advisor - Mott MacDonald
This is a biography for Caroline Bryce
Caroline is an asset management advisor at Mott MacDonald. With a background in civil engineering, she previously worked in the design and build part of the business, Mott MacDonald Bentley. She works primarily in the water sector, specialising in water and wastewater infrastructure planning and climate resilience. Her most recent projects have looked at the role of nature-based solutions and innovative technology to improve resilience to extreme weather events, increasing water scarcity and providing alternative low carbon solutions to help clients achieve their net-zero ambitions.
Caroline was attracted to a career in infrastructure to work on meaningful projects which create a lasting and sustainable difference for the environment and communities through social outcomes. She also promotes these values in her outreach work with local students, and her leadership roles for Girlguiding and The Scout Association.
Engineer - University of Cambridge
This is a biography for Sam Cocking
Sam is a structural engineer with interests in historic structures and structural health monitoring. Having previously worked in industry on a range of construction projects, he is now undertaking PhD research at the University of Cambridge, applying novel sensing technologies to gain new insights into the behaviour of masonry railway bridges.
Sam’s work aims to integrate these new sources of data into improved asset management decision-making. In this way, more effective use can be made of our existing infrastructure, repairs can be better targeted to preserve our built heritage, and costly, often carbon-intensive replacements of these structures can be avoided.
Consultant - PA Consulting
This is a biography for Mike Davis
Mike is a chartered engineer and consultant, currently working in the Energy and Utilities team at PA Consulting.
He works across the infrastructure and low-carbon energy sectors, with technical experience in fields such as district energy, sustainable buildings and the decarbonisation of major infrastructure assets such as airports.
His consulting work includes energy strategy development, helping public- and private-sector organisations to fulfil their decarbonisation objectives, and advisory work such as techno-economic analysis.
Mike has a keen interest in infrastructure policy, particularly strategies for achieving net zero and addressing regional inequality.
Senior Sponsor - Network Rail
This is a biography for Sophie Deas
Sophie is a Senior Sponsor with Network Rail in York. She is accountable for the delivery of power supply upgrades on the East Coast Main Line as part of the £1.2bn East Coast Upgrade.
She studied Geography at the University of St Andrews before joining Transport for London on their Graduate Scheme. She worked on a variety of projects, including implementation of intelligent traffic control systems on the road network, crowd modelling for London Underground and feasibility design for Crossrail 2.
Through working on complex major infrastructure projects, Sophie has recognised the importance of taking a cross disciplinary approach and is looking to learn more about how cross sector working can optimise existing and future infrastructure.
Quantity Surveyor - Turner & Townsend
This is a biography for Jo Garvey-Rae
Jo is a quantity surveyor at Turner & Townsend and delivers commercial and contract management roles within the infrastructure sector. Having graduated from the University of Houston in 2014 with a degree in Mathematics, Jo has since completed a Master’s degree in Surveying and Construction and has spent the first 6 years of her career helping to drive and deliver value for money projects for major infrastructure clients in the aviation, utilities and currently in the rail sector.
Jo is passionate about diversity and inclusion and has helped to establish an employee network aimed at driving equality and creating a better working environment.
Co-Founder - Qualis Flow
This is a biography for Brittany Harris
Brittany is a Civil Engineer turned Entrepreneur. After years working in construction and engineering with Mott McDonald and BuroHappold in Infrastructure and Water engineering, she decided turn her talents to tackling global challenges and driving change in construction. In April 2018 she co-founded Qualis Flow (Qflow), a software platform that enables a positive shift in the way teams collect and use environmental data on live construction sites.
Qflow uses a unique combination of AI and machine learning to automate the time consuming and error prone process of data capture and analytics, enabling engineering teams to deliver quality and sustainability and minimise project risk. Brittany has built a team of amazing developers and data scientists to help realise her vision for a more sustainable future and launch Qflow on major construction projects across the UK.
Consultant - AECOM
This is a biography for Monica Laucas
Monica is a Consultant in the Economic Development team at AECOM, with extensive international education in urban sociology and economic development gained at University of Milano-Bicocca, Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics (LSE).
Monica has experience working on socio-economic and policy assessments for major property and infrastructure projects, a track record in feasibility studies and optioneering for urban infrastructure schemes and experience with the application of Sustainable Return on Investment (SuROI) in regeneration and community projects.
Monica is also a regular contributor to international thought leadership; she recently attended by invitation the World Policy Forum, international conference developing policy recommendations for the G20, and the 2019 World Bank Youth Summit to discuss sustainable infrastructure and inclusivity in smart city frameworks.
Senior Regulation Analyst - SSE Plc
This is a biography for Cissie Liu
Cissie is a senior regulation analyst at SSE Plc, one of GB’s Big Six energy companies. She is responsible for advising the electricity transmission business on delivering its regulatory framework.
Cissie has led and advised on implementation of policies that shape the efficient management and development of existing, and future, energy infrastructure to ensure it meets the needs of consumers and enables a net zero future.
Previously, Cissie has worked on setting price controls at Ofgem, the economic energy regulator. She has also worked in public affairs, advising clients on the impacts of legislative changes in both GB and Canada within the forestry, rail, and energy sectors. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy.
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The long term role of cars in towns
An opinion piece by Mike Davis, Consultant Engineer at E4Tech, and Jo Garvey-Rae, Senior Cost Manager at Turner & Townsend, both members of the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. The last 12 months has seen a renewed recognition that some towns and places are being left behind, both in terms of productivity and wider quality of...
Can local energy planning help solve ‘double challenge’ of net zero and levelling up?
An opinion piece by Cissie Liu, senior regulation analyst at SSE Plc and Mike Davis, chartered engineer and a senior consultant at E4tech; both members of the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel (YPP). Background The Commission’s YPP has committed to explore decarbonisation and levelling up as our two key themes for 2021, as both have a...
We must press the accelerator on transport decarbonisation
An opinion piece by Caroline Bryce, Asset Management Adviser at Mott MacDonald and member of the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. The UK announced its sixth Carbon Budget earlier this year, committing to reducing emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. The government expects to achieve this target through investing and capitalising...