Khouloud El Hakim, a young engineer who has been pivotal to the development of two of the UK’s biggest railway projects, Crossrail and High Speed 1, received the Sir George MacFarlane medal at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner in London on Wednesday 27 June, for excellence in the early stage of her career.
Khouloud, who works for Bechtel, is currently a Project Manager leading the development of a 40-year renewal plan for High Speed 1, a strategy that involves the complex balance of carrying out renewals on an operational rail system without disrupting local and international train services.
Prior to this, Khouloud was Project Engineer on Crossrail’s Farringdon Station, managing design and construction assurance for the station’s redevelopment in preparation for the Elizabeth Line opening later this year. Farringdon station is one of Crossrail’s most complex projects and Khouloud was responsible for the successful integration of the old London Underground Station with the new state-of-the-art Crossrail facilities. Khouloud’s strong leadership and dedication highlighted her as one of Crossrail’s most exceptional young engineers, working in various roles for its delivery partner, Bechtel.
Khaloud said: “I feel delighted and honoured to be the recipient of this year’s Sir George Macfarlane Medal. My role on Crossrail gave me a unique opportunity to advance my career and work with some of the best engineers from the UK and abroad. The construction industry has a rich legacy in the UK and is today an exciting arena to work in, combining both the technical challenge and the open and forward-looking environment. I hope that my experience will inspire others to follow a similar career path and I am happy that through being awarded this medal I will be able to act as ambassador for engineers, particularly women, in the industry.”
Beyond her technical achievements, Khouloud is an ambassador for women working in the construction industry. She was selected to deliver a Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution and participated in several government and engineering institutions programmes to promote engineering in the UK. She has also worked with NGOs in Europe and Africa to set up education support programmes, securing funding for teaching construction skills and personal finance to help provide employment where it is needed most.
Paul Gibbs, Managing Director of Bechtel’s UK infrastructure business, said: “We’re all so proud of Khouloud’s achievement – she is a remarkable engineer who has really shone as a delivery leader on Crossrail and also in her strategic leadership of an innovative 40-year renewals strategy on High Speed 1. Her talent, dedication and enthusiasm are just the qualities we need as a nation to inspire the next generation of young engineers, of all backgrounds, to drive the industry forward, and to meet Bechtel’s aspirations to deliver more for less, in the UK and globally.”