EqualEngineers founder Dr Mark McBride-Wright is to receive one of the Royal Academy of Engineering's most prestigious awards in recognition of his tireless efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and rapid cultural change in engineering and technology. Mark will receive the Rooke Award for public promotion of engineering at the Academy Awards Dinner in London on Tuesday 12 July. Previous winners include author and broadcaster Roma Agrawal MBE in 2017 and astronaut Major Tim Peake CMG in 2019.
Driven by a vision and understanding that better equality, diversity and inclusion programmes are essential to improve individual and organisational performance, Mark has worked to engage thousands of people through EqualEngineers, using events, public speaking and training to ensure organisations across the engineering and technology profession are truly inclusive. Already, his company EqualEngineers runs a Pathways Programme that involves the likes of McLaren Racing and Rolls-Royce. Through this pioneering diversity employment scheme, Mark helps to address inclusion issues that disproportionately affect engineering students from underrepresented groups.
He says: “It’s a massive honour to receive this award as it is so vital that we engage people from all walks of life to consider a career in engineering. This sector is so important to society, helping us find solutions, drive innovation and improve quality of life. And I now have the ambition to take my work forward, evolve and elevate it to a place that will help the engineering sector to improve exponentially for the generations to come.”
As a gay safety engineer, Mark is also the chair and co-founder of InterEngineering, a non-profit industry body that connects, informs, and empowers LGBTQ+ engineers and supporters. Set up in 2014, the organisation has grown to become the leading voice in amplifying the work of LGBTQ+ engineers and addressing inclusion within engineering and construction.
Now boasting a membership of 1,000, InterEngineering has allowed LGBTQ+ engineers to become increasingly recognised through presence at national Pride parades, producing open-source support materials on a range of topics (including Transitioning in the Workplace and Embedding Diversity in the Supply Chain).
Professor Sarah Hainsworth OBE FREng, Chair of the Academy’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath, said: “Mark has shared his personal story of being an openly gay engineer and has spoken at numerous high-profile events sharing the work he has done to provide a spotlight on sexual orientation and gender identity in the engineering sector.
“He has interwoven his experience as a technical safety engineer, exploring linkages between psychological safety, physical safety and engineering culture.”
Mark is the recipient of numerous accolades including being listed #2 in the 2015 Financial Times Future LGBT Leaders list and named “Corporate Rising Star” at the 2016 British LGBT Awards.
His next goal is to establish a national engineering mentoring programme, whereby every engineering student has the opportunity to gain a mentor from industry. The purpose of this programme is to provide students with support to ensure greater employability outcomes after graduation, and to improve their sense of inclusion and belonging within engineering and technology.
He says: “The vision I have for a mentoring campaign would be a huge step in the right direction for engineering, construction and technology. Not only this, I want to create a national engineering careers website, similar to the NHS, with any route and any career type listed. The Rooke Award is only the beginning!”
1. The Rooke Award for the public promotion of engineering is awarded to an individual, small team or organisation who have contributed to the Academy's aims and work through their initiative in promoting engineering to the public. The award is named in honour of the late Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng, a former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the UK's most distinguished engineers, who actively supported public outreach in engineering. As Chairman of British Gas, his legacy was to build the UK's gas distribution network and unite the gas industry, making domestic gas a cheap and convenient fuel source for millions of people. He later became Chancellor of Loughborough University and served on many national advisory committees on both energy policy and education.
2. Annual Awards Dinner 2022. This year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner takes place in London on Tuesday 12 July. Along with the announcement of the winner of this year’s MacRobert Award, the event will also celebrate the winners of other awards and prizes including the Major Project Award, The Princess Royal Silver Medals, the President’s Medal, the Rooke Award and the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year. The headline sponsor of this year’s Awards Dinner is BAE Systems, with gold sponsors bp and Rolls-Royce.
3. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.
In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.
Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
Jane Sutton at the Royal Academy of Engineering
T: +44 207 766 0636
E: Jane Sutton