Kim Timm, Executive Structural Engineer at global infrastructure firm AECOM, has been awarded the Woman Professional of the Year Award for 2019/2020. The accolade was granted by the SA Professional Services Awards sponsored by Sanlam and W. Consulting.

Professionals from various organisations were set to gather at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ball Room on the evening of 19 March 2020 to honour the best amongst them. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAPSA Awards were indefinitely postponed. The organisers of the event have subsequently undertaken to progressively announce the winners for the 2019/2020 edition prior to hosting a gathering for all finalists and guests. This marks the fifth edition of the Awards following a rigorous process of determining winners through strict criteria.

Janette Minnaar, the chair of the adjudication panel explained how the winners were determined.

“Individuals were judged based on a host of attributes including demonstration of leadership skills, changing of paradigms and innovation within the bounds of available resources. We also conferred a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards to deserving recipients who had served their professions faithfully for many years,” said Minnaar.

The firm awards were based on the following criteria – business growth, customer service, technical excellence, contribution to the community, contribution to the profession, transformation record and commitment to ethics and professionalism. The criteria were not equally weighted, a strong showing in one category was sufficient to put the firm above the rest.

Kim Timm has previously been recognised within her profession. She was a finalist for the Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Young Engineer of the Year Award in 2010.  In 2019, she was recognised by the same platform as the Mentor of the Year. She recently co-authored two papers at an international conference in Nantes, France.

“When I started working in this industry, I was frequently the only woman engineer that the contractors had ever met,” Kim reflected. “This situation caused several early misunderstandings. I found that, over time, as I became more experienced, and more women joined the profession, it has become easier. There is definitely still bias around gender in the industry, and this will take time to change. I’ve always believed that the only way I will change the misconception that women don’t belong in engineering is to be the best engineer that I can possibly be. It makes it a lot harder for people to argue the point if you are living evidence that they are incorrect.”

Watch Kim Timm’s acceptance speech below: