Michal Nowinski . Photo by Dale Martin and Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
A civil engineer has been named Future Face of Greater Birmingham 2021 and said being handed the prestigious accolade felt “like a dream.”
Michal Nowinski, a Polish-born highway engineer who works for Arup’s Midlands office in Solihull, was given the award at the Faces Chamber of Commerce and Birmingham Young Professional of The Year 2021 event last month.
The engineer won the sustainability category before beating off competition from other category winners to be chosen as the overall winner.
The annual awards are run by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and recognise the city region’s top talent within the business community.
Speaking to BirminghamWorld, Michal, 34, said: “I just couldn’t believe that I had won until one of my colleagues started congratulating me – it was like a dream to win.”
In 2011 Michal completed a first-class degree in civil engineering at the Silesian University of Technology in Poland.
Moving to the UK in 2016, he began working as a chartered engineer in 2021 and has developed his role at Arup to include holistic assessment, highway design, 3D modelling and road safety audits.
Working on a range of rewarding projects that focus on sustainable improvements, he has been engaged in both managerial and technical roles on phase 2a of HS2, which will run between Birmingham and Crewe.
Reflecting on his career achievements, Michal said: “I’m proud of a few schemes that I’ve worked on. My favourite was Legnica ZDP in Poland (a 1600m street connecting eastern and western part of the city across the Kaczawa River) which was initially planned in the 1930s while it was within Germany, and after working on the project it was constructed finally in 2016. I worked on providing space for cyclists, align design with existing trees and added some inclusivity features which weren’t known in the country at that time.
“I’m also proud of my role at HS2 P2b West Midlands where I designed highways and supported the environmental team with civil engineering elements.”
Outside of Arup, Michal has also taken part in Birmingham City University’s Career plus mentoring programme as a professional mentor and has been involved in a series of university events to help students navigate the prospects of a career in the civil engineering industry, which he said he also learnt a lot from.
“One of my friends mentioned there was a mentoring programme and it was something I really wanted to try.
“It was great to meet new people and to learn new approaches - it also gave me time to understand what I can expect when I graduate because obviously I studied outside of the UK so it was great experience for myself as well.”
Michael is looking to complete his master’s degree in Construction Engineering at Cambridge University and a PMQ APM qualification in managerial abilities.
He has also been tutoring at the Institution of Civil Engineers, and continuing his work in Arup’s Lenders Technical Advisory team.
He said hopes to continue to work on implementing sustainable highway practices and advance that work in collaboration with other global organisations.
Anjum Khan, director of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), chaired this year’s judging panel, which included Michelle Adams from Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, Byron Carnegie of JAMAYA, Joanna Drinkwater from Grant McKnight, Councillor Brigid Jones of Birmingham City Council and Mark Smith from Aston University.
Anjum said: “The applications for this year’s awards have really highlighted the amazing range of young talent that this city has to offer.
“Michal’s professional and personal achievements positioned him perfectly as the Future Face of Greater Birmingham and I can’t wait to see where his career goes from here.”