It is a shock when someone so young is taken from us, it reminds us how precious life is. Katie is someone held in high esteem by many because of how much she gave to all our lives. I had the fortunate experience of volunteering with Katie and she dedicated many many hours to the Engineers Without Borders movement.
First, Katie delivered a project with Shelter Associates in India mapping slum areas to be able to identify projects to improve living conditions, but then she took up the role of coordinating up to 30 overseas projects at a time as a volunteer. Katie led this area of Engineers Without Borders UK’s work for over two and a half years, ensuring that engineering infrastructure wouldn’t be a barrier to overcoming poverty for communities around the world. Her dedication to Engineers Without Borders UK and the work that we do was amazing and I can’t help but think that the world is a lesser place without her.
But Katie did so much more than support our movement. As a water engineer she worked for Atkins and most recently for Arup via four years working for a consultancy in New Zealand championing the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). Her passion for the contribution that engineering makes to society saw her continuing to dedicate many voluntary hours to promoting engineering, inspiring the next generation of engineers and inspiring all engineers to dedicate their skills to improving the environment through her involvement in her local Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) committee. She was awarded the ICE North West Education Volunteer of the Year, appointed to the ICE’s Water Expert Panel, volunteered as the vice chair of the Manchester branch of the ICE and was due to become the president this year.
In the midst of all these accolades, the thing that I will remember the most about Katie is her humility. Katie was someone who just got on with it and didn’t expect anything in return. She was passionate about engineering that makes a difference. She spent extraordinary hours volunteering her time to the causes she believed in; to Katie this was the normal thing to do.
Katie was an inspiration to us all to strive for better and a reminder that better is achievable, but it takes time, passion and dedication. My thoughts, and those of the Engineers Without Borders movement are with her family at this time. Katie was an extraordinary person and I know that the world is a much better place having had Katie here.
Thank you Katie, and may you rest in peace, you still are an engineer that is engineering change.
Written by Katie Cresswell-Maynard, chief executive, Engineers Without Borders UK, June 2018.