Seven new board members join the ranks of the Innovation Centre, championing change, diversity and inclusiveness.
In recognition of the need to address board diversity head-on and reflecting the growing appetite for innovation across the industry, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has appointed three women among seven new additions to its governance board.

Alison Watson MBE, Founder and CEO of Class of Your Own Ltd, Jeanette MacIntyre, Managing Director of Indeglas Ltd and Sara Thiam, Regional Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Scotland have been appointed as board members. They join renowned industry expert Mark Farmer, founder of Cast Consultancy and author of ‘Modernise or Die’ – the UK Government Review of the Construction Labour Model in 2016, Dave Philp, Global BIM Consultancy Director at AECOM, Steve Petrie, Business Improvement Lead for Balfour Beatty and Douglas Morrison, STEM and Innovation Lead at City of Glasgow College, bringing the number serving on the board up to 16.

Chaired by John Forster of the Forster Group, the CSIC governance board provides strategic guidance and direction to the Innovation Centre, and earlier this year issued a public call for applications seeking six new members, three to fill vacancies created by current members’ terms coming to an end, and three newly created board posts. However, upon seeing the high calibre of over twenty candidates, the Innovation Centre chose instead to recruit seven new members as part of this first phase of evolution, with other candidates agreeing to join the CSIC Innovation Champions network.

The board made a conscious effort to seek out new and diverse voices, and has chosen representatives with a variety of skills, experience and industry specialisms to support this – from Alison Watson MBE’s STEM-centric secondary school and further education learning programme and qualification suite, to Steve Petrie’s leading role in transforming tier 1 contractor Balfour Beatty, and Douglas Morrison’s expertise in digital disruption and gender diversity issues*.

The seven new recruits join Chair John Forster, Andy McGoff (Edinburgh Napier University), Joanne Blewett (Transport Scotland), Professor Rod Jones (University of Dundee), John Connelly, (NHS Health Facilities Scotland) and Peter Haggarty (University of Glasgow) who will continue their involvement with the board. Stakeholder observers Gary Bannon (Scottish Funding Council) and Alistair McKinnon (Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise) bring the CSIC board’s gender ratio to 25:75 female to male –  on target to achieve 50:50 representation by the time CSIC completes its second phase of board evolution in 2019. This complements CSIC’s executive team achievements where 10 of its 15 staff are women, including a 50:50 gender split on its senior leadership team.

The new CSIC board members have a clear aim to drive innovation through the construction industry and future proof both its productivity and workforce. Launched in 2014, CSIC has steadily increased its offering in response to industry demand, to include product, process and business innovation services alongside developing strategic partnerships with public, private and academic institutions.

It also recently launched a new £2 million innovation factory based just outside of Glasgow, which provides a hub for exploring the future of the industry, including a wide range of state-of-the art digital manufacturing and prototyping equipment for construction companies to use.

John Forster, CSIC board chair said:

“CSIC is on a mission to drive innovation across the Scottish construction industry, so we are extremely proud to have attracted such an outstanding group of new members with global reputations to our board who will help us achieve this.

“Alison, Sara, Jeanette, Mark, Steve, Dave and Douglas represent some of the finest talent and expertise available in the industry and will be instrumental in helping CSIC build a diverse, inclusive, dynamic, opportunity-focused, digitally connected construction industry fit for the 21st century.”

CSIC is one of eight industry led and demand driven Innovation Centres supported by Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and 13 Scottish university partners. To find out more about CSIC and its services for the Scottish construction sector, visit

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre
CSIC supports Scotland’s construction related businesses to innovate, collaborate and grow by matching innovation requirements with business support and academic specialists. Focusing on innovation support around Business models, Products, Processes and Service models, CSIC offers advice, funding, facilitation and access to cutting edge equipment and expertise, improving Scotland’s global competitiveness and delivering social, environmental and economic impact. CSIC facilitates collaboration with Scottish businesses, academia (through 13 partner universities) and public sector organisations, enabling projects to benefit from Scotland’s world renowned skills and expertise in areas such as BIM, Advanced Materials, Automation and Robotics, Low Carbon Solutions, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Smart Cities.

The Scottish construction sector employs 181,000 people – 10% of all Scottish jobs.

Alison Watson MBE, Co-founder and CEO at Class of Your Own Ltd.
Alison was awarded an MBE for services to education in the 2018 New Year Honours. Since 2009 her company, Class Of Your Own, has helped young people and their teachers to recognise and aspire to the wide range of technical and professional careers available to them in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industries. As an industry professional and social entrepreneur, Alison is passionately adamant that the built environment be seen as an exciting, challenging and technologically stimulating place to learn and work. She actively works with leading industry and education partners to provide recognised progression routes into work experience, skilled apprenticeships, further and higher education.

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