The Race For Excellence

24 September 2013

Costain’s annual Leadership Development Day took place recently at the Oxfordshire headquarters of the Williams’ Formula One Grand Prix team.

Hosted by Darren James, Costain’s Managing Director for Infrastructure, the day welcomed nearly 100 people from all levels of the Group to understand how leading high performance can support the Company’s commitment to developing Engineering Tomorrow, the Costain strategy to develop innovative solutions that will help customers make a step change in their business.

Inspired by Formula One motor racing, the attendees were asked to consider how, through leadership driving innovation and teamwork, they can achieve high performance in their chosen field.

The delegates heard from Professor Richard Parry-Jones CBE, the Chairman of Network Rail, who inspired the delegates about the importance of leadership in transforming culture to deliver high performance for customers; and Professor Mark Jenkins from the Cranfield School of Management, who challenged the delegates to use lessons from Formula One to drive innovation, competitive strategy and teamwork.

Engineering Tomorrow is focused on harnessing new and innovative technological solutions. The strategy, which was launched in February, has already delivered valuable solutions and the attendees heard from a number of Costain’s leaders about how innovation and team work are making a difference.

Project Manager, Joe Rice-Jones, gave a presentation on Mario (Mass Asset Recognition and Intelligent Optimisation), the Company’s innovative asset management tool which gives customers a cost-effective and accurate picture of the condition of their infrastructure assets.

Dr Bryony Livesey, a Research and Technology Manager, spoke about Plasma Vitrification and Graphite Gasification, two innovative technologies that have the potential to save billions of pounds in the storage, management and disposal of low and intermediate nuclear waste; while Catherine Warbrick, Costain’s Corporate Responsibility Director, gave a presentation on Plotr, an online careers advice platform for young people which, in line with Costain Cares, is increasing the Company’s focus on helping young people gain a foothold in the engineering and construction industry.

Lastly, James Forward, a Development Manager at Costain, gave a talk about Path Intelligence, a unique footfall mapping technology which can help to help solve problems facing the travel and transport industries.

Everyone at the event had the opportunity to put their teamwork skills to the test. The delegates were split into eight teams and given the task of taking part in a Williams’ F1 Pitstop Challenge. Against the clock, the teams experienced first-hand just what it is like to change a Formula One tyre using the same equipment that Grand Prix teams use around the world. The day culminated in a head to head between the two fastest teams.

Commenting on the day, Costain’s Darren James, said: “Through working together on an exciting practical exercise, and being inspired by our guest speakers and people from Costain, everyone present identified how, through leadership, we can drive high performance through a culture of innovation and teamwork.”