Course Director of the Construction Engineering Masters Programme
for Construction Engineering & Technology
Department of Engineering
Cambridge , Cambridgeshire CB2 1PZ
Mary Lou has over 20 years of experience in construction project management, two masters degrees (MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development from Cambridge and a Masters in Entrepreneurship from the US), and currently studying part-time for a PhD in Engineering – Change Management, at the University of Cambridge.
She has been a project engineer/manager for over 20 years in charge of U.S. transportation infrastructure projects. This involved managing all phases of project development from initial concept through design, construction and project close-out. She has also worked on all sides of the construction industry in both the public and private sectors (state and federal government, consulting firms and general contracting). This gives her a unique perspective on the various stakeholders involved in construction projects. Throughout her career, she has been involved in training entry-level engineers and technicians. She also helped teach and deliver national construction training programmes for the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.
Her current PhD research is part of an EPSRC-funded project, Design and Delivery of Robust Hospital Environments in a Changing Climate (De2RHECC). Her research focuses on three specific areas: 1) defining resilience indicators to evaluate the level of resilience of a hospital and its operations; 2) identifying the most promising change catalysts that would facilitate increasing the resilience of NHS refurbishment projects; and 3) defining the ways in which these change catalysts can be most effectively packaged and delivered so that they will be successfully integrated into the NHS. It is anticipated that these change catalysts would be incorporated into a design support tool, process intervention, system intervention, or a combination of these.
As Course Director, she aims to be the ‘walker between the worlds’ of academia and construction. She hopes to illuminate the more intangible aspects of the nature of change and explore creative ways of building radical change.
“The necessity of taking the industrial world to its next stage of evolution is not a disaster – it is an amazing opportunity. How to seize the opportunity, how to bring into being a world that is not only sustainable, functional, and equitable but also deeply desirable is a question of leadership and ethics and vision and courage, properties not of computer models but of the human heart and soul.”
Meadows et al. 2004. The limits to growth:The 30-year update.