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Joanne Kennedy interviewed by Thomas Lean

Kennedy, Joanne (speaker, female; interviewee)
2017-09-12

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  • Title:
    Joanne Kennedy interviewed by Thomas Lean
  • Contributor: Kennedy, Joanne (speaker, female; Lean, Thomas (speaker, male
  • Rights: BL
  • Description:
    Track 1 [1:25:38] [Session one: 12 September 2017] Remarks introducing self: civil engineer and project manager for consulting engineering firm; career spent on infrastructure projects and building; definition of built environment; born 1950, in London; father a naval officer, posted to NATO at Fontainebleau, France; JK early memories of France. [01:40] Remarks on father: Captain Gerald Anthony Gore Ormsby DSO DSC ; naval service in destroyers during wartime; working in political-military areas when JK born; diligent and fun personality; post-Navy careers at Henley Management College and running a Sue Ryder hospice; supportive of JK hopes to work in engineering but concerned over her job prospects as few female engineers at time; mentions IBM scholarship for university; anecdote about JK visiting a company only to be told they would never employ a woman as an engineer. [04:40] Remarks on mother Susan Williams: from Channel Islands; JK maternal grandfather in army; mother’s wartime service in WRENS [Women's Royal Naval Service]; worked in costumes for film industry and interior décor. [05:40] Remarks on family history: JK father from Irish and Scottish background, JK paternal grandmother born South Africa; JK great-great grandfather and great-great-great uncle both civil engineers; JK grandfathers both in army; father bringing overseas delegates home for dinner, whilst he worked at Henley; description of mother , vivacious, supportive personality, died when JK was in 20s. [08:25] Remarks on childhood memories: family trips touring by car around Europe; several house and school moves in childhood, including living in Barbizon, London and Henley-on-Thames; moves of home disrupting schooling and making friends; father unassuming, not talking about his wartime service, taking positions of responsibility in all his jobs; JK happy childhood; JK younger brother, good with people, became entrepreneur, JK more academic; parents not political; family and friends important to parents. [14:30] Remarks on religion: JK parents not religious, but supportive as JK developing religious beliefs and became confirmed; JK becoming committed Christian; mentions father later becoming religious; world too well designed for it to be chance; JK beliefs developing at 6th form college through social contacts with other Christians; major commitment; influence of Christianity on JK life. [18:30] Remarks on childhood interests: JK straightforward upbringing, parents not intellectual but enjoying life; JK interest in keeping animals, mentions making own mouse cages; father keen on DIY; set of puppets from Austria; JK not reading much in childhood, becoming more academic later; parents ambitious for her, but not pushing her; anecdotes about support and advice about her activities from mother. [22:50] Remarks on: grandparents looking after JK in holidays; father travelling much whilst working for Henley Administrative Staff College; JK attending boarding school; mentions picking up love of card games from grandfather; realising more about grandparents whilst doing family history research; father's wartime experience, sinking submarines, saving a German sailor from the water; father's role at Admiralty helping to resettle retired naval staff; description of father's work at Henley; civil servant Cathy Avent, father's student at Henley, encouraging women into scientific work. [27:20] Remarks on schooling: memories of school in France aged 4-7, speaking French; anecdote about mother suggesting boarding school as a place she could ride horses; adjustments to schooling in England after France, extra classes on reading English, dilemma over curtsying to headmistress; mentions school disrupted by appendicitis; attending boarding school in Hampshire, then attending idyllic village school in Henley-on-Thames; not homesick at boarding school, JK used to moving around; Abbey day grammar school in Reading; JK often in trouble but not sure why at Abbey School; [32:00] anecdote about failing to learn violin; JK boarding at Queen Anne's school in Caversham from 13, poor school reports at first; JK always asking lots of questions in classes; restrictions at school; anecdote about getting ears pierced; regimented but fun nature of boarding school; JK a late developer, school being difficult over JK sitting maths A-level; JK leaving school for a sixth form college aged 16; JK not sporty or musical; [37:30] JK analytical bent, enjoying maths and physics particularly; regretting not studying more arts subjects in hindsight; enjoying the logic of maths. [39:30] Remarks on deciding to study engineering: friend studying engineering; attraction of using technical skills to be creative; father concerned over career prospects, arranging for her to talk to some engineers; considering studying electrical engineering at Imperial; deciding to apply to Oxford and Cambridge. [41:55] Further remarks on education: tutorial system at 6th form college in Oxford suiting JK well; science teaching at school; description of Beechlawn tutorial college, living in digs; cycling to tutorials around Oxford; [44:30] reasons for deciding to study at Oxford, enjoying city, seeing it as academically high achieving; deciding to study engineering science; Oxford entrance exams; JK developing at school, growing interest in work and good teaching, mentions winning maths prize at Queen Anne's; privilege of intensive teaching at tutorial college; Cambridge and Oxford entrance exams and interviews. [47:30] Remarks on Oxford University: JK only woman studying engineering at Lady Margaret Hall, so tutorials at other colleges; description of Lady Margaret Hall; outline of engineering science course, quite theoretical in nature and without emphasis on applied design projects; IBM sponsorship, JK working for IBM and NPL during vacations. [52:15] Remarks on IBM sponsorship: demanding application process and selection panels; IBM work placement before university at Ford in Dagenham translating computer programs between languages, description of classroom-like office, a great contrast to later experience at Arup; formalities of working at IBM; anecdote about finishing her work at vacation placement several weeks early; anecdote about working hard but not studying in preparation for starting at University; playing bridge at lunch; programming on paper not on a computer. [58:00] Further remarks on Oxford: tutorials, laboratory practicals; lecturer Joe Todd; paternoster lifts in engineering building; anecdote about there being few women on course; mentions lecturer including a slide of a woman in a bikini in a talk; welcoming environment; large volume of work, some subjects challenging; [1:03:25] social life, singing in choir, Christian Union; informality of college life; challenge of organising own time after regimented nature of boarding school; JK becoming more confident whilst at university, meeting interesting people; doing well confirming her decision to study engineering; offered jobs by several firms after university; [1:07:30] JK reasons for turning to civil engineering; JK impressed by bridge designs shown to her at interview at Arup; third year more specialised on civil engineering; surveying fieldwork, structures, soil mechanics; little attention to building services engineering, or social and environmental impact; engineering fundamentally about improving people's lives; [1:13:00] major changes in engineering education at Oxford since JK left university, more emphasis on application of engineering; no computing on course, calculations done by hand and slide rule; JK deciding to start civil engineering career working on bridges, but later career taking her in many different directions; JK first class degree, winning ICE [Institution of Civil Engineering] undergraduate prize. [1:16:55] Remarks on finding job after university: considering postgraduate study or a Kennedy Scholarship to study in USA; university careers service; interview at Arup, impressed by informality of company, well known for Sydney Opera House at time, firm growing greatly over JK career; JK career diversifying; informal interview at Arup. [1:20:20] Description of JK toward end of university: 1960s style; enthusiastic but a little hesitant. [1:21:00] Remarks on: parents thrilled at her going to Oxford, first of family to go to university; ICE speakers at university, JK surprise at winning ICE prize; supportive tutor Joe Todd, good communicator as well as researcher; enjoying life at Oxford; gradually developing a passion for engineering; JK career expectations at time, taking opportunities as they occurred.


    Track 2 [1:12:17] [Session two: 1 November 2017] Further remarks on father's wartime service in Royal Navy: anti-submarine warfare specialist, decorated for his work; JK not understanding much of his work until after he died; calm and diligent manner; JK perceptions of father; story about father's involvement with rescuing prisoners of war from German ship Altmark; later using skills in different way whilst working for Administrative Staff College at Henley-on-Thames and Sue Ryder; father always keen for JK to succeed; bringing JK up to have confidence in herself. [04:10] Remarks on starting work at Arup: JK having other job offers, but liking informal atmosphere of firm and innovative approach to bridges; Arup new to bridge design and approaching topic with fresh perspective; six week graduate school at Arup, mix of learning at drawing board, talks from across firm, getting to know other entrants; JK joining bridges group. [07:00] Remarks on technical drawing and design: JK learning technical drawing; design groups at time involving a collaboration between designers doing the calculations and draughtsmen translating the design to paper drawings, change in approach with using computers for design today; reflections on drawing, JK better at analytical technical drawing than purely creative drawing; good practical transition from theoretical approach of university; conversion of knowledge to design; graduate school shorter today, more emphasis on learning in groups; much creative early work on concepts before more detailed design and analysis; importance of understanding how a structure could be safely built, mentions 1970s bridge constructions collapses; graduate school technical drawing largely about learning to document detail; [13:45] detailed design considerations, such as concrete finish, having great influence on how structure would be seen in the long term. [15:00] Remarks on JK work in bridge office: early tasks analysing safety of box girder bridges, after Yarra Bridge collapse; later work designing new bridges more fun; JK visiting bridges under construction with more experienced colleagues, example of visit to bridge over River Ouse to investigate embankment stability; contractual responsibilities of The Engineer throughout development of bridge from doing design to overseeing its construction; projects around country; description of offices in London, good camaraderie, many staff visiting from overseas offices, informality. [20:00] Remarks on firm founder Ove Arup: establishing company ethos of honourable dealings and quality; blurring distinction between architect and engineer; humble man who supported staff; staff proud of working there; Ove Arup's ethos enduring his firm’s expansion; multi-talented and philosophical outlook; JK not know him that well; attracting able people. [23:40] Remarks on bridge design group and colleagues: Jorgen Nissen leading bridge group; Naeem Hussain, now Arup global bridges leader after distinguished career; bridge group embryonic at time; mentions colleague Mike Glover recent work on new Queensferry Crossing; bridge design engineer led at the time; JK attraction to bridge design; joining Arup a springboard to working in different areas of engineering; architects little involved in bridge design at time; changing approaches to projects emphasising more interaction between engineers and architects, architects providing concept whilst engineers provided technical understanding to realise scheme, with reference to Millennium Bridge, Runnymede Bridge and Millau Viaduct.[29:10] Further remarks on work in bridge office: 1970s problems with box girder bridges, JK work doing safety calculations, major issue at time; checking of new designs by other firms; description of JK office; JK work outfits; interaction between co-workers, JK assigned tasks by boss; use of computers for analysis of more detailed design; [34:45] outline of how pre stressed concrete works, need for careful analysis of design; importance of being able to apply engineering judgement to verify design calculations, not just relying on computer output that may have errors; description of understanding load on a bridge as a vehicle passes over it; anecdote about JK developing an understanding of how bridges worked, valuable in interpreting computer output; later emphasis on giving graduate trainees more experience of conceptual design to allow them to get a feel for how structures worked; [40:00] developing experience, importance of asking questions; Arup culture amenable to issues being questioned; experienced Angus Lowe reviewing JK work when she started; Robert Benaim responsibility for her team in bridges group. [42:35] Remarks on chartered engineer status: JK delight at becoming chartered engineer; experience of design, management, site work, and other activities required; portfolio of work and interview by ICE [Institution of Civil Engineers] examiners; JK using pre-stressed concrete work from Runnymede Bridge for exam in 1979. [45:10] Remarks on daily work activities using Runnymede Bridge as example project: position of bridge, on M25 motorway, next to historic bridge designed by Edwin Lutyens carrying A30 road; description of new arched concrete bridge which fitted its surroundings; description of construction process, bridge sections cast using form work on land, then slide into place from both sides of river before joining; JK task in office analysing structural stresses at each stage of construction, informing how much steel reinforcement would be required and how it would be arranged; [50:10] calculation and documentation of pre-stressed cables, working with draughtsmen; tendering for a contractor; calculating bill of quantities of material needed for bridge; computers used for analysis, but typed documents and paper drawings otherwise; anecdote about documents being 'snowpaque' with Tippexed corrections; working hours, varying with deadlines. [54:10 some mobile phone signal noise] Remarks on life outside work: not much socialising with work when JK started, however good Christmas parties as company was quite small; involvement with St Helen's Church, Bishopsgate; JK living with friends in a flat off Sloane Square, expensive place to live but fun, anecdote about flat shaking due to proximity of Underground. [56:50] Remarks on: few other female engineers at Arup; JK never feeling out of place in office, but more challenging on building sites; JK later first woman engineer to be a director of Arup; JK not knowing how successful a woman could be as an engineer as there were few example to follow, tending to keep career options open; engineering profession changing over JK career with new opportunities; JK conscious of need to learn her trade when she started work. [1:01:40] Remarks on early projects in career: River Ouse Bridge; Runnymede bridge, which JK was involved with through design and construction. [1:03:10 some mobile phone signal noise] Remarks on engineering models: valuable at start of process; model shop building wooden models; models examined using a 'modelscope' to give an idea of how they would look to people when constructed; difficultly for some people to picture what two dimensional drawing would look like as a completed structures; more use of computer aided design [CAD] but models still used; value of having models to show to clients and planning authorities; models for JK last project on Francis Crick Institute, for both scientists who worked there and planning authorities; complimentary advantages of computer and physical models; example of JK work on Kings Cross Underground station using computer modelling of people flow. [1:08:45] Remarks on effects of built environment on society: topic of importance to JK; good design reflecting needs of user and community; holistic idea of design and how environment effects people; Arup pioneering holistic approach to design, example of Runnymede bridge.


    Track 3 [1:02:50] Remarks on working on site: need for designers to see construction process; JK spending a week working on site at Brighton Marina as preparation for Runnymede; anecdote about JK discovering an error in setting out a site; getting used to working with labourers and their culture; JK starting work on Runnymede site in 1977, first job pegging out site boundary before construction started; JK Assistant Resident Engineer; Portakabin offices, concrete making facilities on site. [05:25] Remarks on construction of Runnymede Bridge: JK job checking contractor's setting out out work; description of installing piles, JK travelling by cage into foundation holes for quality checking; story about JK finding site based mistakes whilst checking position of piles, leading to design changes of bridge; JK enjoying working out in the field despite the weather conditions; JK commute to site from Clapham; [10:00] good experience, interest in how teams worked; pile caps added to piles to create concrete base; framework for casting concrete frame on riverbank, careful positioning of reinforcement bars need to allow concrete to be poured; education of seeing how designs were translated into practical engineering during construction; minor changes from original design, adjustments to pile caps after misplaced pile. [13:45] Description of casting reinforced concrete using mould: checking mix of concrete; 24 hour period of pouring concrete delivered by lorries; unusual white concrete; challenge of getting good finish on concrete; concrete cubes used for testing its strength; contractor pouring concrete, Resident Engineers checking their work; slump tests. [19:20] JK holiday meaning she missed first time formwork was removed from completed concrete frame. [20:20] Description of pre-stressing concrete: passing cables through ducts in concrete then putting them under tension; problem with concrete cracking. [22:20] Description of installing concrete frames to make bridge: frames cast onto sledges [error - see later correction] on a slide strip; specialist moving firm sliding frames into place; connecting frames from either side of river then concreting gap; tricky logistics of ensuring all pieces of bridge matched, importance of setting out site to show where pieces needed to be installed; concrete frames cast with gap underneath so they could be jacked up onto sledges; slab installed across top of frames, then topped with road surfaces and parapets. [26:30] Further remarks on Runnymede Bridge: position on M25; design details, such as expansion joints; 2 year period of work for JK, details of working hours; contractor playing tricks on her and other Assistant Resident Engineer, but because she was inexperienced not because she was a woman; JK having to send away substandard concrete deliveries; [30:00] anecdote about JK accident on site inspiring a sexist comment; offices more civilised environment than working on site, JK concerned about working on site before, but finding experience fine; spotting mistakes and helping answering technical questions aiding JK's credibility; site staff gentlemanly in watching their bad language, JK not taking issue seriously; importance of acting in a professional manner and respecting their expertise; JK boss previously working with engineer Helen Stone on M11, introducing her to JK; JK only woman on the site; pleasure of seeing paper project realised; [34:50] nail-biting moments during construction; health and safety on site, no major accidents; some women working in administration on site, JK assigned a female graduate trainee for a time; working on site making JK a better designer and giving her useful experience for later work on commercial and management aspects of projects; JK job assessing contractor's claims for extra expenses; novelty of design at time making it difficult to price for Fairclough contractors; [38:45] JK later training in construction law; payments for changes to design and unforeseen issues; ICE form of contracts; Engineer also responsible for costing on project; Runnymede providing experience of varied types of work for JK; JK never meeting client on Runnymede Bridge; roughed concrete surface of bridge; bridge standing the test of time well, except for some graffiti; [42:45] on-site construction of components a novel approach of building a bridge at the time; oversight of JK during site work; JK not aware of labour relations issues, site seeming quite harmonious; anecdote about questioning from contractor's managing director, who was surprised to see a woman engineer on site; bridge opening in 1980, JK leaving bridge site to return to office work in summer 1979 when she got married. [46:15] Remarks on family life: marriage to Richard Kennedy, who she originally met at Oxford, in 1979; group holiday with friends followed by short courtship and marriage; husband mathematician, interested in engineering, teacher who became headmaster; JK talks to school; home moves as husband's career developed; JK challenge of combining engineering career, parenthood, and being a headmaster's wife; JK roles as headmaster's wife at Highgate School, boarding school having evening activities and need for entertaining. [50:20] Remarks on: JK talks to schoolchildren about careers in education; content of talks; JK starting to give talks to schools in 1970's and continuing by gradually handing task over to younger engineers; greater thought given now to how engage young people in engineering; excitement of technical challenges and opportunities of civil engineering. [53:40] Remarks on work at Arup after Runnymede: JK becoming interested in commercial aspects, training in contracts, becoming advisor on commercial and contractual side of projects; JK becoming more involved in managing multidisciplinary design teams from early 1980s, particularly on underground stations; challenge of orchestrating many different disciplines on project; 1980 a watershed in JK work on promotion of engineering to women after large conference in Oxford on subject; [56:35] JK reasons for moving away from engineering design, realising she was a good but not exceptional designer, enjoyment of holistic multidisciplinary approach to project and dealing with variety of people; design experience a good technical basis for rest of career; Arup receptive to JK wanting a change of career emphasis; expanding Arup having many different activities and opportunities; JK not missing hands-on design engineering as work as project manager had continued technical and site involvement and technical knowledge still useful; JK a civil engineer by background but spending much of her career working with multidisciplinary teams, learning about other aspects of work and how to combine them holistically.


    Track 4 [56:31] [Session three: 15 December 2017] Remarks on return to work in Arup office after Runnymede bridge project: JK realising she had changed on return to office, change of career direction to look at commercial and legal aspect of projects; engineers responsible for costs and contractual issues as well as engineering of projects; JK further training in contract law and administration through Kings College; considering becoming an arbitrator with advice from Kenneth Severn, but deciding she preferred to work on projects; changes in JK from experience of working as a site engineer, problem solving, meeting different sorts of people; JK work resolving contractual claim issues on Kessock Bridge; [04:55] Remarks on assessing contractors' claims: claims for unforeseen ground conditions and changes to design; correct initial design leading to more accurate costing and timetable; allocations of risks and delays between clients and contractors; most contracts having an element of claims; reputation for adversarial relations in construction industry; description of process for contractors and engineers to make and evaluate claims for extra payments under contract; arbitration processes for difficult cases; [11:45] JK reputation as hard but fair; JK enjoying negotiation process, pleased at holding her own; JK experience on Runnymede bridge of having to assess claims; JK enjoying evening classes on contracts, ICE and Kings College London classes; value of working with experienced colleagues such as David Loosemore; detailed nature of contract work suiting JK. [16:00] Remarks JK work changing to design manager role on underground railway stations: wider range of specialists involved than on bridges; JK role coordinating work of different disciplines; JK work on Bangkok stations, but based in Britain; later practice of keeping teams in different time zones working around the clock on overseas projects; JK interested in bringing multi-disciplinary teams to work together; Ove Arup pioneering concept of integrated design; JK spending much of her career running multidisciplinary teams; many issues involved with railway stations, including fire safety, security, signalling, people flow, all involving different specialists; [20:20] work varying between resource planning, tracking costs, design meetings; JK ensuring information flow between different specialists; details of paper based administration in use at the time, few computers; JK mentions later work on Ludgate railways works; JK working on other tasks, such as drains on a Croydon estate. [24:50] Remarks on: overseas working: Arup always global firm, but initially having London based expertise, now devolved around world; mentions career break for children; beginning to become involved with activities in wider engineering community. [26:30] Remarks on involvements in engineering community: meeting Baroness Platt at conference on women in engineering; JK approached to join Engineering Council, then chaired by Sir Kenneth Corfield; Women in Science and Engineering [WISE] launched in 1984; several media articles featuring JK at time as a 'woman in a man's world', few women in engineering available as role models. [29:10] Remarks on women in engineering conference at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford: anecdote about JK objections to a poster of a glamorous woman engineer; JK preferring to be thought of as an engineer not a 'woman engineer'; JK talk to conference; audience including headmistresses of girls schools and representative of firms; JK new to public speaking at time; positive feeling of conference. [33:10] Remarks on working on site: JK initial nervousness, but greatly enjoying it; site experience necessary to Chartered Engineer status and credibility; JK maintaining contact with site work whilst working as manager. [34:40] Remarks on Baroness Beryl Platt: war effort diverting her from maths to engineering; mentor figure to JK, likely to have recommended JK for Engineering Council, which led to her being offered other roles on committees and community roles; influential as chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission. [36:50] Remarks on women in engineering: mentions ICE conference to launch WISE; anecdote about unrealised hope that WISE would not be needed after 25 years time; increase in numbers of women studying engineering at university. [38:20] Remarks on Engineering Council: history of body, influence of Finniston Report on engineering profession; outline of purpose of Council in setting standards, acting as regulatory body, representing engineering profession, promoting good standards; JK becoming involved with career break policy initiative, JK managing to combine a career with raising children, but still an issue for women in engineering today; friction between engineering institutions and engineering council as to who was representing the profession; JK on ICE Council and Engineering Council at same time in 1980s, placing her on both sides of the debate; mentions ICE continuing to set standards for university courses, but engineering becoming increasingly cross discipline; JK interest on promoting cross discipline working; [43:50] subsequent changes to Engineering Council; appointment originally by government minister, but adapting to give institutions a greater role; JK main involvements in Council's initiatives around WISE and career breaks; Chartered Engineer [CEng] status requiring registration with Council; Arup supportive in giving JK time to attend Council meetings and away days; JK other activities including membership of ICE education committee. [47:20] Remarks on engineering profession: raising profile of engineering, JK disagreeing with engineers who complained about the profession having a low status; mentions Engineering Council attempts to raise profile of engineering technicians; JK involvement with ICE; role of ICE, becoming broader in outlook and having more influence on government; Engineering Council chairmen, Kenneth Corfield, Francis Tombs, William Barlow; Engineering Council working through writing reports, effectiveness of reports depending on how well they were promoted; JK feeling career break policy and WISE campaign made a difference; [52:40] value of having industrialists as chairman of Engineering Council; reduction in number of engineering institutions from 52 to 32; recent John Uff report on engineering profession and how institutions could do more to work together; Engineering Council doing good work, starting a number of initiatives, but taking time to settle into a role, later changes.


    Track 5 [1:26:16] Remarks on media coverage of JK in 1980s: Engineering Council launch of WISE needing someone to do media interviews; anecdote about photograph of JK accompanying an article; mentions Equal Opportunities Commission, British Council, Illustrated London News; work on high profile projects; JK not enjoying being in media spotlight; mainly print interviews no television; talks to schools; speeches; senior engineering role demanding public speaking; JK wanting to be known as an engineer not a woman engineer; lack of role models when JK started in engineering, important to broadcast ability of women to have careers and families; women engineers higher profile today, such as Michèle Dix on Crossrail 2; media interest unexpected at the time. [06:05] Remarks on WISE: launch in London; mentions JK being fourth woman fellow of the ICE, ICE presidents wanting to encourage more women into ICE; mentions Beryl Platt and Marie-Noelle Barton involvement with WISE, now run by Helen Wollaston; WISE 10 steps campaign to encourage progress for women in industry; construction leaders reputed to be aggressive, difficulty for women being assertive; [11:00] JK expecting levels of female engineering graduates and working in engineering to have increased more; RAEng new campaign on changing perceptions; challenge of sustaining media interest in engineering; JK role as a promoter and developing career break policy; much support for WISE within engineering institutions; wider issue of campaigning for more people to enter engineering profession; recent WISE 'People Like Me' campaign; Little Miss Inventor joining the Mr Men series of children's books; [16:45] WISE impact, initial effectiveness followed by period of plateau, recent new impetus; a few women engineers dismissive of prizes for women engineers; women engineers prizes still necessary. [19:20] Remarks on career breaks: JK first child, Peter, born in 1985; Arup maternity leave, anecdote about JK being handed a P45 as employment terminated when she stopped work; JK wanting to return to work on a flexible arrangement; JK and colleague proposing a career break maternity policy to Arup board; concerns over ability of people to hold responsible position and work part time; JK full-time childcare provision as husband's work already required her to be flexible; JK learning importance of taking initiative in effecting change; [23:30] JK project on professional development in Arup whilst on maternity leave; mentions move to Bishop's Stortford; JK work on career's break policy for Engineering Council; JK returning to part time work after second child, running major projects and promotion showing it was possible to combine career with part time work; JK developing career break policy with Deborah Lazarus before presenting to managers; career break policy presented as a way of retaining skills and expertise of female employees after they left to have children; JK well regarded in Arup at time; more women joining Arup, making career breaks a more prominent issue [pause 28:00]. Remarks on education and training in Arup: good graduate and chartered engineering training; JK working on professional development policy with director. [29:30] Remarks on JK work for Arup Associates when she returned to work in 1986: interdisciplinary group of architects, engineers and cost managers; JK role as Administrator, effectively design manager; JK asking to change groups to Arup Associates; JK work on Wimbledon Bridge building development, pregnant with second child at time; outline of new Construction Management approach to contracts; JK enjoyment of multidisciplinary work; several Arup architects later starting their own firms, such as Rab Bennetts; differences from working at infrastructure group; Arup Associates Monday lunches to share ideas between projects; JK working for Senior Administrator Dick Lee; mentions Charlie Wymer giving her rides to site on motorbike; part time working taking time to establish but working. [34:20] Remarks on Wimbledon Bridge project: known as 'The Fridge on the Bridge'; different cost management working for buildings compared to bridges; collaborative and creative atmosphere; outline of JK work, acting as conduit between different groups and contractor; different specialist groups working together in same room; importance of working with contractor to ensure timeliness of work; commute to site; JK working 3 days a week for a year before leaving for second child; family atmosphere of Arup Associates, small teams, collaborative atmosphere, creative process and sharing. [40:20] Remarks on: JK bosses at Arup Associates, Dick Lee, Charlie Wymer, Richard Frewer; architects, structural engineers and building services engineers and cost managers all having particular interests that needed to be combined, process of coordination aided in current practice by 3d computer models; JK childcare arrangements, mother's help, husband able to help easily as he working in school next to home; second child, David, born 1988, JK returning to work in infrastructure group. [45:00] Remarks on Ludgate Railway works: description of scheme, diversion of railway line underground and building new station, then St Paul's Thameslink, now City Thameslink; development of land above ground into offices; JK role design management and coordination; client organising special train and day out for staff at completion of project, JK taking two sons. [48:00] Remarks on family life: JK unsure of her children's opinions of her work; JK working part time for some time after children were born and taking extra holidays. Moved to Highgate in 1989 when husband took up role as Head Master; school owned headmaster house used for school entertaining and accordingly providing housework help; JK challenge juggling work responsibilities, wider professional activities, parenting and headmaster's wife duties; support and encouragement of JK husband; work events with partners invited; anecdote about JK taking child with her on weekend work callout. [53:40] Remarks on Ludgate railway works: challenge of tunnelling around existing service pipes and cables; JK first project after second child; challenges of project. [56:20] Remarks on design of Glaxo research campus at Stevenage: economic recession resulting in highly competitive contract; major project, teams for each buildings; JK working on chemistry building; Sheppard Robson architects; multidisciplinary team; JK second in command of design team; American contractual arrangements requiring every man-hour of work to be tracked; Laing contractor; JK work from 1990-1992; requirement for ventilation for fume cupboards; JK leading design team for administration building; strict tracking of working hours; [1:02:15] 1990s design of research building now seen as inflexible compared to current requirements; JK largely taken up with management; JK later work on Francis Crick Institute having more involvement with research scientists. [1:04:45] Remarks on involvement in Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System: team in London and Hong-Kong; design and construction planning; uncertainties over project, which was eventually cancelled leaving concrete pillars in Bangkok. [1:06:30] Remarks on: work on baggage handling system at Heathrow, JK first experience of pitching to client for work; JK working for loss adjuster in aftermath of Bishopsgate IRA bombing in 1993, JK role more independent management advice than previously, change in role to work more directly with clients. [1:09:30] Remarks on JK being seconded to work with BAA [British Airports Authority] to lead management review of Heathrow Express tunnel collapse: outline of collapse; JK previous boss Simon Murray moving to British Airports Authority; JK working at board level with Sir John Egan and Rod Hoare, MD of HEX; JK approach to investigation, interviewing staff; confidential report presented to board, JK staying at BAA to implement recommendations; importance of finishing project, creation of multidisciplinary team; anecdote about a negative staff member being removed after not joining in team ethos; JK working on various other project reviews, enjoying working as management consultant, but wanting to run projects herself, leading her to a change in career direction; variety of JK career; Arup always bringing new opportunities; mention joining engineering board of Science and Engineering Research Council. [1:16:20] JK becoming trustee of the Science Museum from 1992: application process; Neil Cossons director; JK contributions to buildings committee; JK children enjoying visits; development of Wellcome Wing, anecdote about JK suggesting funding from Sainsbury or Wellcome for expansion rather than selling land to fund expansion, which was later used for Dana Centre; JK stepping down from building's committee after Arup won contract for new wing; description of Wellcome Wing, excitement over wing at time; [1:21:00] development of Bradford and York museums; JK later involvement with other cultural institutions, enjoyment of lending expertise and interest in their work; challenge of introduction of free museum entry, debate over charging, JK supportive of free entry; mentions commercial arm; importance of preserving heritage, promoting past and future science, fun exhibitions.


    Track 6 [47:26] [Session four: 31 January 2018] Remarks on husband, Richard [RK]: reflections on interview process and how husband had been key part of her life; first meeting in Oxford, where RK had won scholarships; RK background and successful career in teaching; athlete who represented Britain several times in international competitions; marriage after RK moved to London to work at Westminster School; move to Bishop's Stortford in mid 1980s, JK commuting to work in London; late 1980s move to Highgate School as headmaster, where led development of school; supporting to JK career; mutual interest in each others jobs, JK getting to know people connected with school, RK interest in technical subjects, enjoying attending events together; [04:45] opportunities to develop interest outside day job, RK singing semi-professionally with The Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields; mutual focus on family and grandchildren; family holidays in Scotland, South Coast, Europe; children's schooling; improvements in career break policies giving more ways of combining family and work; JK pride in children, an investment banker and a DJ; son studying engineering but becoming a banker; JK satisfaction in meeting people who became engineers after her influence. [11:10] Remarks on career from mid 1990s helping to set up independent project management business within Arup: JK move from design to design management to work more directly with clients; JK part of small team starting project management business, recruitment of Nigel Quick as group leader; turning point in JK career, bringing previous experiences to bear on new group; 1990s work on Glaxo research campus seeing Arup lead team of other companies, also Arup offering advice on project planning, launch of project management business a natural step; some designers concerned that Arup becoming a project management company would be problematic. [15:30] Remarks on winning first commission, as project director of South Bank Centre [SBC] redevelopment: Richard Rogers' design scheme; JK and Nigel Quick interview, anecdote about JK answer to question about Arup also being part of design team; JK responsibility to client in potential conflicts of interest; advantages of Arup being part of design team; problems with funding leading to project being abandoned; outline of projected SBC redevelopment scheme; SBC involving a mix of art forms; mentions later redevelopments of SBC; [21:05] much effort exerted in unrealised project; JK upset at time, but major other commissions soon following as Arup became known for arts projects; JK assurances to clients that Arup would deliver. [22:55] Remarks on: National Lottery funding; staff recruited from within Arup and outside; importance of group leaders running major projects personally. [25:00] Remarks on launch of Arup Project Management: importance of gaining support from Arup board, supportive to new initiatives; recruitment of staff; finding clients; Lottery Funded projects advertised in European Journal; private clients found through word of mouth, personal connections, Arup designers recommending them; Arup deputy chairman well connected in financial world, leading to first major contract for a bank building; ease of recruitment of staff from within Arup; importance of previous experience to winning new clients and projects; excitement of setting up new company making finding staff easy, but increased inflation of salaries needing to be matched with viability of projects, Arup not highest paying but very interesting projects; [30:55] many engineers and other specialists wanting to move into project management from other companies, making it easy to recruit; Arup good reputation for work on technically complicated projects. [33:00] Remarks on teamwork: leadership team led by Nigel Quick, including Simon Wright who later worked on 2012 Olympics, David Twine, Julie Wood, and Bernard Tyler; project management more about 'We' than 'I'. [34:30] Remarks on winning contracts for Hackney Empire Theatre, Horniman Museum, National Maritime Museum Cornwall c. late 1990s: JK project director on Hackney Empire but not daily involved; JK closer involvement with National Maritime Museum. [36:00] Remarks on National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth: description of design, by Long and Kentish; outline of JK duties as director responsible; contrast with Millennium Dome; concept of architect and exhibition designer coming together to design a holistic space; advantages of holistic designed museum space, but importance of flexibility to museum facilities. Experiences at Horniman Museum and Wellcome Wing of Science Museum. [40:20] Remarks on: winning contract for Credit Suisse Canary Wharf commercial building; differences between working for arts and financial sector clients, more clarity with commercial clients; offices on barge near Canary Wharf. [42:45] Remarks on: growth of Arup Project Management staff from a handful to 150 by time JK led group, later to 600 worldwide by time JK become Global Leader; technically complicated work on Credit Suisse building; winning contract for Rothamsted Research, followed by several other research buildings; importance of experience to winning more contracts; Nigel Quick delegating work well, JK freedom to set up own business plan and satisfaction at achieving it; very small number of Arup designers concerned over move into project management, but seeing advantages of situation too.


    Track 7 [30:48] Remarks on keeping projects to time: clear planning; keeping contractor on track during construction; monitoring process closely, picking up problems quickly; heavy emphasis on risk assessments in planning; good relations with client over problems; contingency planning, best done with knowledge of process; mentions Credit Suisse and student accommodation projects with tight deadlines; project management, databases and tools, JK not a specialist planner. [05:30] Remarks on risk management: JK organising different groups involved with projects into workshops to identify key risks and mitigation measures; quantified risk assessments; importance of imagination and lateral thinking, but unforeseen risks still possible. [08:20] Remarks on Rothamsted Research project: new research building; discussions with user groups of scientists to work out lab arrangements, desire for state of the art scientific facilities and collaboration and office spaces; outline of agricultural work of Rothamsted. [11:10] Remarks on JK leading team on redesign of King Cross Underground station: project task force organisation; 3 dimensional models; new ticket halls underneath existing structures; JK leaving project after it was running. [13:30] Remarks on: JK ongoing efforts promoting engineering; JK pride in award of OBE in 1995 for services to consulting engineering and women in engineering; JK appointed Director of Arup in 1996; Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering [RAEng] in 1997, outline of selection process, JK sitting on RAEng committees, RAEng cross-disciplinary approach; [18:25] contrast of RAEng with other engineering institutions, complimentary roles. [20:15] Further remarks on King Cross Underground: assembling team, examining how previous projects had been won; anecdote about Arup director not allowed to attend interview with client Geoff Virrels, London Underground client; anecdotes about interview at London Underground, Arup team younger than other contenders; Allies and Morrison architects; offices; major challenges of doing civil engineering around a running underground line and vital utility connections; importance of records to understanding existing buildings and services, much surveying; public sector organisations having more budgetary issues than private sector; [26:35] 3D modelling, commonly used, but King Cross model advanced at the time; recent use of building information modelling systems [BIMS] to keep records of construction projects; outline of King Cross scheme, improvements to fire safety, increased space, more passengers, two new ticket halls, signalling; Arup group working on crowd flow models, based on real time data.


    Track 8 [49:49] Remarks on work for Deutsche Bank: Arup experience for various banking organisations; Deutsche Bank appointing Arup as programme manager to assist with their corporate real estate capital expenditure portfolio globally; change of group name to Arup Programme and Project Management; other clients interested in how to run portfolios of projects; expansion of Arup group into new global markets in Asia and America; mentions simultaneously winning first of a number of projects for Imperial College, a research laboratory, also involving Medical Research Council and GSK Pharmaceuticals. [03:25] Remarks on: diversification of Arup group skills and experience and development of business; importance of understanding what client wanted, finding killer ideas to present to clients; anecdote about correctly predicting a client's key issues before a presentation; anecdote about delighting Deutsche Bank with novel approach to assessing value; banks exciting, technically savy, demanding customers to work with, importance of understanding their objectives and keeping good communication; JK enjoying learning to understand a client’s requirements; [08:40] importance of social get together with team and client, team building sessions; sometimes easier to informally work out issues with clients, design teams and contractors, example of JK informal discussions with construction contractor to resolve problems and develop completion schedule. [13:05] Remarks on JK promotion to lead London group when Simon Wright left to run Olympics infrastructure for ODA in 2006: taking wider range of projects in buildings and infrastructure; JK adopting Nigel Quick guidelines on splitting time into thirds between running group, running own projects, and oversight of other projects; much of JK time as group manager taken up by human resources [HR] issues, challenges, redundancies during industry downturn; retirement of husband to Poole, whilst JK continued full time work in London; expansion of group and its status, team winning awards. [17:40] Remarks on JK daily work activities: office based, liaising with other parts of Arup, reviewing team members projects, visiting clients, some trips to Europe to build up business abroad, no typical day, mix of internal and external work; advantages of teleconferences and video conferences; JK preferring face to face discussion to email; risks of too much email; value of good personal assistant; having to rely on good managers. [24:40] Remarks on: reorganisation of Arup into three divisions, JK reporting to supportive Gordon Wilkinson head of management consulting, examples of Wilkinson's support to JK when she wanted to bid for major £400million Crick Institute building project in spite of concerns that project was too big, and when JK wanted to develop global project management business. [27:20] Further remarks on winning Francis Crick Institute contract: European regulations, description of pre-qualification questionnaire, detailed tender process and information required for a bid; division of work between people, pulled together into a coherent report; importance of graphics and summary to help easily convey key points; successful interview presentation; quality/cost ratio process for determining winner of tender; reasons bid was successful, confidence in the team. [32:30] Remarks on Francis Crick Institute, initially called UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation: 2008 start of process, 2016 opening; partners including Medical Research Council, Cancer Research Institute, Wellcome Trust, UCL, Imperial College, Kings College; tour of state of the art facilities in USA; interdisciplinary research in life science focus; short tenured staff to ensure flow of people with ideas outwards; replaced MRC Mill Hill and Cancer Research's Lincoln‘s Inn Fields facilities; discussions with different scientists over facilities, many with different perspectives on lab layout; offices at Wellcome Trust building; cardboard and computer models and full mock-up of laboratory layout, some areas raising special requirements; outline of building, questions around building services, need for care around position of instruments; [40:20] architecture; planning permission; recruitment of contractor; one of most challenging and satisfying of JK career; JK also involved with Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre, alike in furthering human health. [42:50] Remarks on major challenges of Crick Institute: including working with scientists to get agreement on facilities, discovery gas main was closer than expected, commercial challenges, ensuring client was happy with design, trying to limit changes, finding right contractor; opening of scientist lined building by Queen; delighted that scientists were happy with building; [46:15] outline of JK contribution, providing leadership for project management team, helping to overcome tricky moments with strategy. [47:45] Remarks on: interdisciplinary design, lists variety of different specialisms needing to be brought together; JK and colleagues satisfaction with end design, seeing that building worked and that scientists were happy with it; scientists' challenge of setting up a completely new organisation within Institute.


    Track 9 [1:27:12] [Session five: 8 March 2018] Remarks on Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre [DNRC]: plan to create new centre of excellence at Stanford Hall for treating military personnel injured during war and for rehabilitation on generally; expanded replacement for existing Headley Court centre; initiative of Duke of Westminster, Arup approached in 2008 to undertake pre-feasibility study, followed by development of scheme and its construction; much research needed into state of the art facilities and treatments; outline of work of centre, rehabilitation after initial medical treatment; complex of different medical facilities based around extended country house, offering pleasant environment for rehabilitation; [04:20] Arup asked to run multidisciplinary team overseeing complete project; JK final project; presentation of business case to Minister of Defence Philip Hammond, new facility having lower operational costs despite being larger; JK impressed by Duke of Westminster's support for project, design team based at Grosvenor offices; JK enjoying working with General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, the Programme Director and construction director Steve Brewer; enthusiasm of team for project; challenges of planning permission; [08:00] description of site and its layout, John Simpson and Steffian Bradley appointed architects; political challenges of project, well handled by General Tim [Granville-Chapman], project proceeding through gateway process; support of Black Stork Charity; long process, seven years from initial idea to start of site-work, completion expected 2018; huge amount of work required of Arup, varying at different stages of project; [13:30] JK pride in project, pleased at novelty of work to be done at DNRC and improvements for rehabilitation it will allow; strong business case for better rehabilitation, saving money in the long term. [15:30] Remarks clarification JK career, promotion to global leader of Arup Programme and Project Management in 2010, before retirement in 2013. [17:00] Remarks on external activities over 1990s and 2000s: mentions being governor of schools, council member of Southampton University; non-executive director roles, important for engineers to offer skills to other organisations; JK on board of Port of London Authority [PLA], outline of wide responsibilities of PLA, JK input into technical issues; mentions being trustee of Science Museum; chairing buildings and estates committee of Royal College of Art [RCA], outline of how JK was appointed, JK enjoyment of the arts; mentions becoming Commissioner for Royal Commission for Exhibition of 1851; JK bringing big picture view of engineering and assistance with capital projects to non-executive roles; JK interest in aesthetics and creative processes of art, RCA work on industrial design. [22:40] Remarks on being trustee of National Portrait Gallery [NPG]: celebration of historically important and famous British people; mentions Inspiring People Project; challenges of galleries to diversify and develop self-generated income, issues around interpretation of portraits; challenges of digital age; outline of NPG's activities; JK emphasis on capital expenditure on projects; [28:05] outline of acquisition process for new portraits, JK keen to include more engineers; JK reflections on dealing with people from art world, respect; measures to widen appeal of NPG to people from different backgrounds; increasing diversity of subjects of gallery, which has historically tended to represent society of the time, mentions recent exhibitions. [34:15] Remarks on retirement: growth and development in diversity of Arup over JK career; JK working as non-executive director for several organisations in retirement, enjoying flexibility of having more time; expecting to have a pause after retirement but becoming involved with other things. [36:45] Remarks on JK work as non-executive director of Native Land property developer: outline of work of company, mentions several recent projects around London; JK enjoyment of non-executive role, JK responsibility for health and safety at board level, increasing emphasis on health; [pause 39:40] contrast of work of developer with work of civil engineer, developer involvement from earlier stages; need to balance maximisation of profit with ensuring new developments fit in with existing developments and social responsibilities; interesting for JK to see different side of process after previously working for developers. [43:10] Remarks on ERA Foundation: purpose to support manufacturing, entrepreneurship and industry in UK; small organisation; influence on industrial policy in partnership with other organisations; earlier support for Royal Academy of Engineering and Institute of Engineering and Technology; scholarships and awards; initiatives to encourage young people into engineering; involvement with RAEng Enterprise Hub to help commercialise innovation. [46:40] Remarks on children, son's career as DJ Pearson Sound, other son a banker. [48:40] Remarks on changes in civil engineering over JK career: continuity to people aspects of work; influence of information technology; governance changes; manufacturing and construction; project management; information sharing and finding; intuitive engineering understanding still required despite advances in information technology; [53:45] not thinking much in early career how civil engineering would change, new emphasis on thinking of future needs of built environment; sustainability becoming more important, examples of recent successful projects. [57:30] Reflections on future of civil engineering in Britain: government beginning to think longer term than in past; UK good track record of delivering recent major projects on time and budget; installation of sensors into existing infrastructure to allow more efficient maintenance; more focus on user needs and life time management of structures; use of building information models; improvements in British civil engineer, good leadership and people, better processes, Government influence, more emphasis on how things are done. [1:01:40] Remarks on legacy: Christian faith influence on thinking of things that will last; legacy of projects that will benefit people into the future; satisfaction of seeing people she recruited develop in their careers; other women who pursued engineering careers, JK feeling like a reluctant role model for women in engineering, but many new role models following, such as Roma Agrawal, Michèle Dix, Dervilla Mitchell. [1:06:40] Remarks on giving advice: JK mentoring of staff and giving talks; importance of ensuring qualifications and expertise, being bold in taking opportunities, treating people with respect. [1:09:15] Remarks on Christian faith: view of God as a brilliant engineer, amazingly well designed nature of the world requiring a creator; science and engineering compatible with faith; role of Jesus in relationship with God; help in dealing with challenging situations; helping to maintain integrity and transparency in dealing with clients; spiritual dimension to living; faith becoming more real over time; trying to live as Christian in work as well as personal life; value of belief at particular pressure points in career. [1:15:55] Remarks on: support from husband and sons; mentions Nigel Quick and Gordon Wilkinson as examples to follow. [1:17:00] Remarks on changes for women in engineering careers: positive developments, women engineers no longer unusual, greater number of women in profession and improved retention; improvements needed in career progression; WISE ten steps programme to encourage career progression; unintentional bias against women. [1:21:30] Remarks on career enjoyments: using technical skills creatively to have benefits for society; RAEng 'This is Engineering' initiative showcasing diversity of engineering; JK changing her career direction before feeling frustrated with it; importance of learning to manage upwards, ensuring senior managers knew about projects and were able to provide support when needed; high points changing over her career, but Francis Crick Institute and DNRC particularly worthwhile.


    Track 10 [05:21] Remarks on interview process: initial surprise at personal nature of project; types of questions asked; interesting to cover wide variety of topics, both personal and professional; discussions about future listeners; surprise at invitation to take part in project; questions about uses.

  • Notes:
    Recording date: 2017-09-12
    Collection title: An Oral History of British Science
    Recording Notes: audio file 10 WAV 24 bit 48 kHz PCM
    Access restrictions: none

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