Former Arup head honoured with engineering medal

18 July 2013
By Lorna Sharpe
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Terry Hill

Terry Hill

Credit: Arup/Thomas Graham

Leading civil engineer Terry Hill CBE FREng, who has delivered some of the UK’s most recognisable engineering projects and recently led a government review into the cost of infrastructure development, has been awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious President’s Medal.

The award was made in recognition of his significant and far-reaching contribution to the sector, his having supported UK engineering around the world and promoting excellence in engineering education. He was presented with the medal at a ceremony in London last night (17 July).

Hill said it was “fantastic” to receive the award, but added: there’s a certain irony about receiving it as an individual, because the field I’m involved with, which is major projects and infrastructure, can only be delivered successfully with big teams.”

Over a career that spans four decades, Terry Hill, chair of Arup’s Board of Trustees and previously chairman of Arup Group (2004-2009), has worked on a number of high-profile infrastructure projects. He led the winning proposal for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now called HS1), Dublin Port Tunnel and the New Tyne Crossing. 

He led Arup during the construction of the National Stadium and Aquatics Centre at the Beijing Olympics, and the building of Heathrow Terminal 5. He is president of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and is a non-executive director of Crossrail. He was awarded the CBE in 2010.

His engineering knowledge, combined with a background in economics, equipped him to make a significant contribution to the growth of the UK's engineering industry, leading efforts to promote Britain’s capabilities and trade at home and abroad. He is the chair of the Construction Sector Advisory Group for UK Trade and Investment and was a founding member of the Treasury’s Infrastructure UK Advisory Council.

One of his most notable achievements was leading a review examining why infrastructure development in the UK costs more than in Europe, the recommendations from which could, if implemented, save £3bn per year and improve levels of investment.

Hill said what he enjoys most about civil engineering is “the thrill of seeing it built”. What’s more, he continued, “my job can’t ever be routine, because once it’s built you’ve got to find the next thing. I can’t just go back to the new Tyne tunnel and think ‘oh, that’s me done’. You’ve got to keep moving on.”

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, commented: “Terry is not just an outstanding engineer but also a real champion for engineering, which makes him the perfect recipient for this award in our year of Engineering for Growth. His combination of professionalism, intelligence, creativity and business insight makes him one of the finest engineers we have today.”

Previous recipients of the President’s Medal include the ‘father of composite materials’, Professor Anthony Kelly, and Apple product designer, Sir Jonathan Ive. It is awarded bienially to an organisation or individual who has contributed significantly to the Academy's aims and work through initiative in promoting excellence in engineering.

E&T interview with Terry Hill

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