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Written 18th October 2022

5 minutes with Susan Mantle, Technical Director at HTS

 

We sat down with Heyne Tillett Steel’s Technical Director, Susan Mantle, to discuss her new appointment on the NLA Expert Panel, her work leading HTS+ and outreach programmes within the company.


What are you looking forward to now that you are an NLA Expert Panel member in Built Environment Technology? 

With my background in our research team HTS+, where we have developed new structural techniques and technologies, along with pushing the importance of reusing buildings, structures, and structural elements in our designs, I am well positioned to use my knowledge and experience, to help create better cities, whilst addressing the challenges that using new technology brings. My work leading HTS+ has included the launch of our Carbon Counter, our Concept Tool, along with a study into the reuse of steel with the Grosvenor Estate, currently live on site at Holbein Gardens. My involvement in the team pushes the practice’s aspiration to be at the forefront of design and analysis alongside running and delivering projects day to day - I am excited to contribute my ideas to the NLA Expert Panel and see how we can address critical issues in the built environment.

I also work with LETI and have contributed to the Whole Life Carbon workstream including their one-pager, which has led to being part a large network of professionals, each with the same goal to achieve a zero-carbon future. I am confident speaking about Invention and Innovation in Sustainability, and at the annual WES conference earlier this year, I was able to discuss how we have built innovation and research in sustainability into engineering (HTS+).

Why did you want to get involved in mentoring?

As change begins at the source, I feel it is very important to help young people at the formative moments of their careers. As I enjoy  sharing  knowledge and want to help diversify the profession , I introduced HTS to the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) and we now have a group of people, including myself, who mentor for them.  I’ve also mentored secondary school students via Brightside, an online platform that helps young people make informed decisions for their future. I’m going to be an NLA NextGen Speed Mentoring mentor again later this month, which I took part in earlier this year.

Are there plans to work more with schools?

Yes, I set up and now jointly organise the schools outreach programme that we run here at HTS, where we are trying to increase the awareness of children to what engineering and careers in construction generally are and improve diversity in engineering/construction in the future. We work particularly with schools that have a high proportion of free school meals, and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have worked closely with schools both locally and across London. Our engineers give talks, attend careers events and mentor students to help engage them in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) topics. These activities take place directly through our relationship with schools and the Construction Youth Trust. At a higher educational level, we sponsor apprenticeships and are current discussing a scheme to sponsor a number of students from a disadvantaged background through university, providing financial support and practical experience.

You helped set up HTS’s Diversity and Inclusion group, tell us more about that?

I have a big interest in this, following on from my work within schools and encouraging diversity in the profession. I helped set up the D+I group here and act as liaison back to the Director’s group, this has led to signing up to the Firm Foundations campaign, part of the Mayor’s fund for London, helping young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds that are struggling to get into the industry.

What’s on the horizon for you at HTS?

I’m now taking joint responsibility for our ESG and charity work with one of our Associate Directors within the practice and over the next 6 months, we are going be working on a series of projects. I will also be managing our continued work with Save the Children on projects overseas and there are plans to design a community food club as a CSR project with Newham Council.