Impulse To Innovation

Season 3 Episode 7: Leading the Institution in the 21st Century - Presidents Past, Present & Future Share Their Views

August 3, 2022

With just five months to the official end of our 175th anniversary it seemed appropriate to take some time to speak with, not just one president, but three!


While the role of President is considered an honorary position as titular head of the Institution, it is the highest accolade any member can achieve. Each of the Institution's Past-Presidents has not only spent many years actively volunteering within the Institution on regional and divisional boards, Council and Trustee Board, but has also made a significant contribution to their specific field of engineering.


IMechE 137th President Phil Peel


Our most prominent past president is of course George Stephenson, father of the railways, but we have had 136 Presidents since George, working in areas such as steam turbine and jet engine design, tribology and materials applications, hydraulic systems and power generation to mention just a few.


Peter Flinn,  136th President, 2021/22


Although they are only in office for one year they are kept extremely busy, not only ensuring the Institution is run effectively through the executive team and that strategic and financial objectives are achieved through our various boards, but they also represent us beyond Birdcage Walk; working closely with Presidents from other PEIs to raise the profile of engineering as well as engaging with politicians and industry leaders to address societal challenges.


Giles Hartill, President-Elect will be our 138th President


You would think then that the chances of getting three of them in a room together were rather low, but we know how to pull strings here at Impulse to Innovation. In today’s episode Helen talks to Presidents past, present and future about how they see the role of IMechE President, why having a strategic plan for the future is so vitally important, our relevance to society in a digital world, if we can ever have any impact on Government policy and why the Institution sees equality, diversity and inclusion as the responsibility of all its members.


Useful Links:

Watch President Phil Peel's Inaugural Speech

Read President Phil Peel's Inaugural Speech 

Meet The Institution's Trustee Board

Past Presidents of the Institution - Biographies 


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You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at