Civil engineering firms across the Midlands have a new voice to represent them – at a key time for the industry.
Lorraine Gregory has been appointed as the new Regional Director for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) for the Midlands, succeeding Dawn Karakatsanis, who has held the post for four-and-a-half years.
CECA Midlands supports its members – including everything from the biggest civil engineering and construction firms in the region through to smaller, niche contractors – with training, networking and up-to-the-minute information.
The organisation also provides a voice for members to key decision-makers, including Central Government, both directly and through the national CECA office in London.
Lorraine, who has joined from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said she had a tough act to follow but would build on the foundations that have been laid by Dawn and the CECA Midlands Council.
Lorraine said: “I love this industry and I love the Midlands so this is the perfect role for me and I will give companies – no matter how big or small – my everything to ensure this sector continues to thrive in our region.
“I appreciate I have very big boots to fill as Dawn leaves but she has also put the foundations in place for us to build the organisation and to ensure the civil engineering industry keeps on growing.
“These remain very unpredictable and unprecedented times for all of us. It has created new issues for the sector and also exacerbated others.
“Skills and recruitment are not new issues, but the events of recent years such as Covid and Brexit have created an even bigger headache for businesses. The free training support we provide to members is invaluable but there is also work to do in attracting more people into civil engineering.
“With record investment in the infrastructure sector, there is work to be done in investing and upskilling the current workforce, that’s something that I really want to develop with members. How can we work together to not only attract more recruits but also retain them?
“I know what an amazing industry this is and the contribution it makes both to the economy and to society and it’s vitally important that we both convey that message but continuing to improve the culture in the industry when it comes to everything from mental health support through to diversity. Progress has been made but there is still work to be done.
“Net zero is another issue that is extremely topical and it is one that the industry is going to have to address while, at the same time, ensuring that current problems such as the availability of materials and rising fuel costs are also firmly on the agenda.
“For our region to grow, new and improved infrastructure and new buildings are absolutely at the heart of that, and it can only be achieved thanks to the work of our civil engineering businesses.
“So, I am very much looking forward to taking on this new role and delivering for all of our companies across the Midlands region.”
CECA Midlands will now be overseen by Lorraine as Regional Director, three Council Directors from member companies and a further 13 Council Members.
CECA Midlands Chairman Nigel Drew said: “We are delighted to welcome Lorraine Gregory as our new Regional Director at what is a vital time for our industry, our region and, indeed, the country.
“We would also like to pay thanks to Dawn for the incredible work she has done during a period of great uncertainty for everyone.”