Rachel Leech

#ALD20 - Dr Esther Hills and Rachel Leech bring engineering and membership experience to help @The_IMI professional body remain relevant. 

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is broadening the diversity of experience on its board with two new Non-Executive Director appointments. Dr Esther Hills, Product Testing and Engineering Manager at bp and Rachel Leech, Engagement Manager, Rail Safety Standards Board have been appointed to the IMI board to bring a new perspective to the professional body’s services as it focuses on supporting its members and the wider automotive sector during one of the most challenging periods for a century.

“The automotive sector is facing enormous change”, explained Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI. “The job and business opportunities could be immense, but employers, employees, training centres and the new generation coming into the sector will need help to remain on top of the challenges. That’s where the IMI fits in. And by broadening the experience on our board we will remain relevant and representative. We are, therefore, delighted to welcome Dr Esther Hills and Rachel Leech.

“Esther’s engineering background, as well as her current work at bp leading an operational powertrain test centre, gives her immense insight into the new automotive technologies that our members need to embrace. Rachel’s experience at the Rail Safety Standards Board and, before that, within a range of sectors, brings an understanding of the dynamics of membership structured organisations. We are tremendously excited about the new insights and experience they both will bring to the IMI’s strategy.”

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Hills said:

“The changing landscape of automotive technology along with new emerging vehicle ownership models provides challenges to those in the sector to ensure their skills evolve and update. Adapting training and qualifications to focus on these emerging technologies is a challenge, along with new digital delivery platforms. I believe my experience of strategic long term planning of my own automotive team skills, resource levels and equipment gives me first-hand experience of this challenge which I am excited to bring to the IMI board.”

“Tackling a lack of diversity and inclusion has been a focus throughout my career”, explained Rachel Leech. “I am not afraid to voice opinions on behalf of others who are less heard and I think this will add a valuable insight to the IMI board’s strategy. My voluntary work with local organisations to promote diversity of entrants to engineering/rail careers, as well as mentoring for women in engineering are, I believe, important credentials for this new role.”

Dr Esther Hills has a strong technical background with a degree and doctorate in engineering and is chartered with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). As part of her current role at bp she leads an operational powertrain test centre, which is expanding its test capability into alternative propulsion technologies. She has also spent several years leading a research team developing hybrid vehicle technology at a major automotive vehicle manufacturer and she is a board member of the Industrial Advisory Board at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham.

Rachel Leech’s career in a number of membership organisations brings another perspective for the IMI board. At the Open Data Institute (ODI - a tech startup founded by web-inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee) she was responsible for membership growth, tripling the membership in three months. She also worked for five years at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the professional body for engineers and technicians in mechanical engineering where she was responsible for boosting international membership applications, managing and developing relationships with multinationals as well as with local engineering companies in countries such as UAE and Oman. Her current role at the Rail Safety Standards Board sees her working with members across the UK rail network.

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