Vice-Chair of BCIA’s Young Engineers Network wins major prize at BCIA Awards

Abbie Bewley, the Vice-Chair of the BCIA’s Young Engineers Network (YEN), became the latest winner of the BCIA’s Young Engineer of the Year award at the prestigious BCIA Awards ceremony on 04 May 2023. Greg Smith, Lead BMS Support/Commissioning Engineer at E.ON Control Solutions, won the award in 2018 and it instilled in him a renewed confidence that eventually led to his being elected as the YEN’s first ever Chair earlier this year.

Abbie is currently in her final year of studying for a Mechanical Engineering degree and is also a Trainee Controls Engineer with InTandem Systems. As part of her entry to the awards Abbie described how on one major project, at a national theatre, she had to take the lead due to the maintenance engineer being incapacitated and helped tune the systems to improve energy efficiency, carrying out routine checking of field control devices to ensure correct operation. At university she has been actively involved in promoting student placements with a focus on increasing awareness of building controls.

Abbie described her feelings when her name was announced, saying: “I didn’t quite believe that I heard my name to begin with. It did feel like it was a dream!”

Greg Smith believes that winning the Young Engineer award can be a great springboard for people finding their way in a competitive industry. He commented: “I was super proud at having won against some great contenders. I remember having worked extremely hard that year toward my training and it was really the cherry on the cake. Following on, the natural benefits of the award are increased recognition and credibility whilst serving as an affirmation of my skills. The award was something that really assisted in helping me further my skills into the next step of my journey.”

Abbie’s colleague at InTandem Systems, George Belfield, is also a past winner of the award, having won it in 2017. In an interview to celebrate the BCIA’s 30th anniversary in 2021, George described how the award had given him a huge career boost, saying: “For personal recognition that was brilliant. It was a great kickstart for myself which helped me get my belief going and trust in my skills.”

George’s career has flourished in the past six years and he is now Operations Director for InTandem Systems, while Abbie is hopeful that her pathway will enjoy a similar trajectory. She added: “After winning this award I think I’m going to have an added boost of confidence and self-belief to give anything a go within the industry.”

Greg added encouragement to any young engineers thinking of entering the awards in future. He said: “The confidence in knowing you’ve achieved a level in your training to be even put forward for the awards is such a great boost. Where you may have been feeling that you have a long way to go in the industry, it really supports in self-assurance in the trade. Attending the awards as a finalist, you get to see a whole world of BMS which you otherwise may have no idea exists, or chance to experience. You can meet up with other likeminded engineers through various stages and direction, sharing knowledge and creating some great networks.”

Abbie concluded by looking ahead to her future career options, saying: “Five years ago, I was getting ready to start university and now I’m just starting my career. I haven’t got any plans but taking on some management responsibilities would be fantastic.”

BCIA President Graeme Rees has been delighted by the knowledge and passion demonstrated in the Young Engineer award category. He commented: “The entries for the Young Engineer of the Year award were very impressive and gave the judges plenty to think about. Previous winners of the award have continued to lead outstanding careers as engineers and it is fantastic news for the building controls industry that we have people of their calibre coming through. I would like to congratulate Abbie on her well-deserved win and I look forward to seeing how her career progresses.”