ACE Digital Leadership Conference 2019


ACE Digital Leadership Conference 2019

This year’s ACE Digital Leadership Conference was held at Prince Phillip House in central London on Thursday 20 June. The conference brought together senior technology leaders from across the consulting engineering sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities resulting from digital transformation.

The conference was opened by ACE Chief Executive, Hannah Vickers, followed by a keynote presentation from Mark Enzer of Mott MacDonald and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB). The first panel session focused on client needs, with Sarah Hayes of the National Infrastructure Commission and Miranda Sharp of Ordnance Survey joining Thames Tideway’s Peter Vale for a session on client evolution.

In the second session of the day, Scott Communications‘ co-founder and director Tony Scott took delegates through the outputs of the ACE Digital Transformation Group roundtable debates that were held in the spring. Each of the debates focused on one of the three thematic areas of ACE’s 2019 Future of Consultancy initiative:

  • Strategic Planning and Placemaking
  • Delivering Integrated Projects
  • Data-Led Asset Performance

To dig deeper into the issues raised in the debates, Tony then chaired a panel consisting of Mace’s Dr Marzia Bolpagni, Imperial College’s Professor Jennifer Whyte, Royal HaskoningDHV’s Casey Rutland and Costain’s David Owens. Using the thematic areas covered in the spring debates, the panel discussed areas of opportunity for consultancy businesses to support their clients better.

ACE DLC 2019 (panellists)
Panellists David Owens, Tony Scott (chair), Dr Marzia Bolpagni, Casey Rutland and Professor Jennifer Whyte

On the topic of delivering integrated projects, Dr Marzia Bolpagni said:

‘It is essential we embrace a digital approach that supports strategic enablers such as the adoption of collaborative procurement methods, machine readable information requirements and standardisation of processes. Even if our sector is historically slow in digitalisation and automation, new players are entering the market and the speed of digital transformation might radically change. Events such as the ACE Digital Leadership Conference and collaborative roundtables are key to shaping the future of consultancy.’

Tony concluded:

‘Having taken part in all three of the spring debates as an independent consultant, it was a privilege being able to replay their key findings to the conference audience. The AEC industry is going through major digital transformation today. It is fascinating seeing the degree to which each of the companies within it, from SMEs to the very large, is seizing the opportunities this presents. Scott Communications is very happy to be supporting ACE and its aspirations for its members and the wider industry through these exciting times.’

The day continued with further engaging sessions focused on digital leadership, and concluded with a networking reception in the evening.

To learn more about ACE’s Future of Consultancy initiative, visit

The panel discussed the areas of opportunity for consultancy businesses to support their clients better
Dr Marzia Bolpagni of Mace
Delegates attended from ACE member organisations and from across the wider AEC industry

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