Kent Construction Expo, 4 October 2018
James Lee and I made our annual trip to the Kent Construction Expo last week and enjoyed it as much as ever. It was good to see the Event Centre busy and lively, with delegates and exhibitors having so much to discuss. Of course there was talk of Brexit, even a formal seminar about it (which we both sadly missed) but, as well as that uncertainty, everybody was aware of the very impressive large-scale developments going on in Kent and the opportunities that there will continue to be.
More work on the roads might be good. Thanks to an accident on the M20, it took both of us two hours to get there, long enough for me to miss breakfast …
I heard about the use of Building Information Modelling in the construction of vinyl pipes, attended a talk on the Internet of Things, Big Data and Smart Cities and we caught up with old friends at the VIP lunch. During the day we spoke to clients, engineers, architects, contractors, agents, other lawyers, management consultants, suppliers, tax specialists, including those sub-specialising in research and development tax credits, and many others.
It was great to see that there was a talk on Mental Wellbeing in your Workplace which I missed while at the VIP lunch. Such an important topic.
One I did get to was Barbara Res talking about her career as a woman in construction. Barbara is a dual qualified electrical engineer and attorney in the USA. In the 1980s she was project manager on the Trump Tower as well as having a major role in a number of other high profile developments. This was a remarkable achievement in a time when women comprised an even smaller proportion of the construction workforce than they do now.
The room was riveted, as, in the first half of her talk, Ms Res told us the fascinating story of the construction of the Tower and working with the, very supportive, current President. In the second part, Ms Res told us about the discrimination and harassment she had to cope with at times in her career and how it changed her. At the end of the session, one young lady delegate asked Ms Res what she should do to make her own contribution towards the improvement of the lot of women in construction. Without hesitation, Ms Res responded that she should become a mentor and get a mentor.
It was a talk I shall not forget: all part of a thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating day.