Jane Atkinson has been recognised for distinguished services to engineering by her home town university.
Jane, who is Vice President of Utilities Operations at Sembcorp Utilities UK, has been granted an honorary degree by Teesside University.
Brought up in Middlesbrough, she joined hundreds of graduates at a glittering ceremony at the Town Hall where she received an honorary doctorate in Business Administration. Teesside University is one of the leading UK universities for engineering and was named by The Times Higher Education Supplement as UK University of the Year in 2010.
Jane, who joined Sembcorp in 2004, is responsible for the day to day operation of the company’s main assets on the Wilton International site, including two power stations and a water treatment plant and has earned many honours during a comparatively short career.
These include becoming the youngest ever ‘Fellow’ of the world renowned Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010 and receiving the CBI’s ‘First Woman’ Award in Manufacturing in 2007 from the then Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Brown.
A passionate believer in the engineering as a force for good in society, she gives regular talks to young people in schools, colleges and other places about the benefits of the discipline and the many careers it leads to.
She is widely seen by many in business and education as a key role model and ambassador for women in engineering and Sembcorp has taken on an increasing number of female employees in recent years, some of whom have gone to achieve engineering degree qualifications.
Jane is also an advisor to the professional body, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), on diversity issues.
She said: “I am proud and delighted to receive such a magnificent honour from such a prestigious establishment as Teesside University. The university offers some tremendous engineering and science-based courses for people and is increasingly seen as one of the places to go to study and gain the skills that lead to real jobs and fantastic careers.”
Jane has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Loughborough University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Warwick University. As well as being a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering she is also a Fellow of IChemE and has chartered and designated European Engineer status.
Her career began as a sponsored engineering student with British Steel in 1990. On completion of her first degree she worked as a technical advisor at the Teesside Blast Furnace before moving into operations, managing the Cast House at Redcar. During her time in the steel industry she managed many major production units and spent five years with the company in Alabama in the USA.