Celebrating International Women’s Day
Lorna Brown is one of our Senior Conformance Engineers based in Milton Keynes and currently assessing projects such as London Bridge, Redhill Station and major programmes such as Crossrail. We caught up with her to talk about her passion about Women in Engineering.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
After 18 years of being in the industry it has been a very rewarding career, but lonely. By this I mean the few women in engineering and this is why I am passionate about pushing gender balance forward and the importance of having more technical women in the industry.
NCB believe that a gender balanced business offers significant value and I feel privileged to be part of an organisation that recognises the women in engineering; highlighting what we do, and how we can inspire other women to take a similar career path.
I am involved in a number of activities and forums to promote gender balance which include Network Rail Forums such as Inspire and Cultural Fusion, Women in Rail Big Rail Diversity Challenge and school career events.
How did you get in to engineering?
I graduated from London Southbank University in 1997 with an Honours degree in Building Surveying. After joining a small multidisciplinary practice based in Rickmansworth working on cyclical maintenance surveys on TfL’s London Underground assets for 18 months; I was head hunted by the internal London Underground surveys team to become the only female surveyor in a team of 60 engineers and developed my career within the TfL organisation for a further 13 years. I joined NCB after a 2 year career break in October 2012 as a Conformance Engineer and became a Senior Conformance Engineer in July 2014.
What does a standard day look like as an engineer in NCB?
No day is the same. I specialise in assessing projects to see if their designs are in accordance with the Interoperability Regulations for Persons of Reduced Mobility (PRM). Being involved in the projects that I am lead assessor or support assessor on; means that in the morning I could be meeting a new client (project sponsor/ project manager) to talk through their programme timelines and our services with a view to assess their projects. In the afternoon/ night I could be on site witnessing lighting or PA testing of a new station. The witnessing is to ensure that the PA and lighting levels are in accordance with the Persons of Reduced Mobility (PRM) TSI (Technical Specification for Interoperability). The next day I could be writing up a Safety Assessment Report under the CSM regulations (Common Safety Method). My work is very interesting and varied.
What are your favourite achievements in your career so far?
I have mentored a few of my colleagues in PRM and accessibility on stations and I have been nominated by NB-Rail as a member of the working party developing the latest revision of the PRM TSI. I love using my knowledge at European level; helping accessibility to stations around Europe gives me a great sense of pride. I am a corporate member of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) and working towards my CEng professional qualification through the IET. Most recently I have been nominated for Inspirational Woman of the Year Award at this year’s Women in Rail Awards which I am exceptionally proud of.
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