Food and Drink Engineering Committee

The Food and Drink Engineering Committee (FDEC) covers the entire food and drink supply chain from producer to consumer, with particular concern for the engineering related aspects, but also the economic, social, environmental and political contexts within which the sector functions.



What we do

  • Hold committee meetings at least three times a year for networking, programme planning and output review, policy formulation and continued professional development
  • Organise talks, lectures, seminars and conferences on a range of technical and societal topics relating to the food and drink sector
  • Assist the Public Affairs Team in formulating and developing Institution policy positions on national and international issues relevant to the food and drink sector
  • Author food and drink sector thought leadership reports on behalf of the Institution and participate in both public and industry focussed debates, discussions and conferences organised by other bodies
  • Provide input to national government and international body (such as the UN) consultations and inquiries into food and drink sector related topics and represent the Institution on relevant advisory groups, boards and committees as appropriate
  • Provide Institution input into the development of industry standards, codes, protocols and best practice guidance documents
  • Undertake special projects both nationally and internationally that raise public and industry awareness of the role of engineers in the food and drink sector and have impact in helping meet the major 21st Century societal challenges of population growth, urbanisation, demographic change, resource depletion and environmental risks, such as climate change and ecological degradation
  • Work closely with our colleagues on the equivalent relevant committees and groups in other engineering and non-engineering institutions.

Our objectives

  • Provide the Institution’s focal point for the food and drink sector
  • Promote and support Institution members in their professional food and drink sector related activities
  • Raise public, industry and government awareness of the benefits of professional engineering and the societal contribution of engineers working in the food and drink sector
  • Encourage adequately informed consideration of the food and drink engineering aspects in matters of public, industrial and legislative interest
  • Liaise with other food and drink engineering organisations and related technical and scientific organisations on professional matters and topics of public and sector concern
  • Support the development of relevant curricula at all levels of education and training, including continuing professional development, in food and drink engineering
  • Promote, encourage and support excellence in food and drink engineering

Committee members

EurIng Martyn Ralph BSc CEng FIMechE - Chair

Martyn Ralph


Martyn Ralph, is a recently retired, International Brewery Design Engineer.

He is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, a member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and a member of the Brewing Engineers Association. Martyn worked for large multinational brewers and consulting engineers on five continents, designing breweries and acting as Owner’s Representative on multi-million dollar projects. He is a specialist in managing projects in third-world and developing countries.

His skills as a brewery engineer have also been used in the hygienic, non-brewing sectors, such as Dairy Processing, Baby Foods, Soft Drinks, Food, Toiletries and Polymers.

Martyn also worked as a Consultant for Micro-brewery owners including the Little Creatures and Mikkeller Breweries in London.

Dr Keith Brewood CEng MIMechE - Immediate Past Chair

Total Food Holdings Limited

Keith Brewood is a specialist consultant to the food industry.

Keith is a Chartered Engineer and also a Member of the Institute of Food Science & Technology and a professional member of the Institute of Food Technology. Keith has a wide knowledge of the Food Industry gained from designing and building food factories worldwide to product and process development bringing new products to market. Keith has operated and managed food businesses at a senior level in technical, operational, commercial, marketing and CEO capacities.

Keith is a founding member of the British Contract Manufacturers & Packers Association.

William (Bill) Dickson CEng MIMechE CEnv - Vice Chair

Senior Manager, Energy and Utilities, Arla Foods

Bill is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and Chartered Environmentalist. Bill has a wide range of experience of energy, utility and process projects from the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Bill has previously served on the IMechE's Pharmaceutical Committee.

Alec Anderson BSc (Hons)

Managing Director, Koolmill Systems Limited

Alec is a pioneering visionary engineer and innovator.

He is the inventor of a radical disruptive cereal processing technology, Koolmill which will l transform an antiquate global industry that feeds 3.5 billion people daily. Koolmill addresses 16 sustainable development goals by minimising post-harvest loss, moving the rice industry to a more sustainable future.

With three UK innovation awards, Alec was runner up at the AGInnovation Showcase (USA-2016). In China, Alec, designated as a national expert, is on the Global Foreign Expert Recruitment Program and was the only UK recipient of the West Lake Friendship Award for Foreign Experts (2010).

Koolmill competed with supercar brand McLaren to win the UKTI Sponsored GREAT British Product Award in Beijing (2014).

Farah N Bader

Saudi Goody Products Marketing Co Ltd

Nicole Ballantyne

Manufacturing Performance Redefined

Nick Belshaw

Chief Engineer, Cranswick Foods

Elliot Brown

Project Engineer, Element Digital Engineering

Derek Chapman MEng MIET

Assistant Manager – Mechanical Design, Hubbard Products Ltd

Derek Chapman is a Mechanical Engineer working for Hubbard Products designing commercial and industrial refrigeration systems. He is committed to decarbonisation of the industry, overseeing projects to deliver zero emission transport refrigeration systems and the use of phase changing materials to improve duty cycle efficiency.

He is currently redesigning the Hubbard portfolio to make use of natural refrigerants, reducing the environmental impact of systems throughout their operational lifespan.

Dr Maria Charalambides CEng FIMechE

Reader, Imperial College Administration

George Crombie CEng FIMechE

George Crombie

Engineering Director, Briggs of Burton PLC

A Chartered Mechanical Engineer, and Fellow of the IMechE, with extensive experience leading major multi-discipline projects across a wide range of industries within the hygienic sectors including brewing, distilling, spirit storage & packaging, food and pharmaceuticals.

Scott Davis

Willett Food Projects Ltd

Professor Judith Evans

Researcher - Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Food Refrigeration Operations,
London South Bank University

Judith has 30 years’ experience of working on food refrigeration operations throughout the food cold chain. Her main areas of interest are related to efficiency and energy reduction as well as design and performance of refrigeration equipment.

Judith is President of the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) Commission C2 on Food Science and Engineering, Vice President of the CaRe (careers in refrigeration) working party and the cold chain in warmer climates working party. She is the UK's Institute of Refrigeration representative to the IIR.

Kati Gastrow

Mars Inc

Rania Harastani

Lecturer in Food Safety/Food Innovation, Greenwich University

Ian Hart FIMechE

 Ian Hart Business Development Director, Adi Group

Ian is Business Development Director for Systems adi, specialising in delivering projects to the food & drink industry.

He is a Chartered Engineer and has extensive experience of successfully developing customer focussed teams delivering high added value engineering investments in both private and public sector organisations throughout the world.

Ian has also worked in the pharmaceutical, water treatment, nuclear, data centre and aquaculture sectors and utilises this experience to assist customers meet their needs.

Ed Koch CEng FIMechE

Ed Koch

Managing Director, ValuPoint Ltd

Ed is a Senior Executive with global expertise in improving supply chain performance by applying Lean best practices. He leads the Solutions Division at Competitive Capabilities International. CCi combines digital solutions and advisory services to transform business performance.

With a career spanning almost 30-years in operations in the consumer goods and beverage industries, Ed has either run operations or led manufacturing transformations in Africa, Europe, Latin America, USA, Australia and China. He has worked on both sides of acquisitions to deliver sustainable benefits and integrated teams. In 2016, following the largest acquisition in UK history, Ed led the integration of ABInBev and SABMiller’s Supply Excellence Programs. At SABMiller, Ed spearheaded a global operational excellence program to improve performance across 80+ sites and deliver $500m in P&L benefits, and led the “Future of Work and Digitalisation in Manufacturing” program.

Dr Catarina Marques

Centre for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Research, London South Bank University

Lindsay Robertson

Honorary research fellow, School of Food and Advanced Tech, Massey

Michael Robinson

Project Engineer, Central Engineering, Warburtons Ltd

Abigail Rowden - Young Member

Graduate in Mechanical Engineering

Steve Rowe


Kevin Ruff CEng MIMechE

Director, Programme and Project Management - Operational Performance Improvement

Kevin has 40 years’ experience of leading engineering in the food industry both nationally and internationally. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, an MBA and has been a Chartered Engineer for over 30 years.

His background has covered all of the three main disciplines of engineering in high volume manufacturing; investment management, operational engineering and technology development. This experience has enabled Kevin to understand the practical aspects of delivering asset performance through managing large investment programmes, delivering operational efficiency improvements and the development and implementation of new technologies.

Having worked across Europe, Asia and the Americas, Kevin has a strong cultural awareness and believes that emerging technologies can be used to reduce the environmental impact of the food industry while improving the efficiency and quality of the food supply chain.

Graeme Stephenson

Warburtons Ltd

Keith Thornhill

Head of Food & Beverage, UK & Ireland, Siemens plc

Keith Thornhill is Head of Food and Beverage Automation for Siemens Digital Factory Division.

He started his career completing an apprenticeship with British Rail Engineering Ltd in Crewe and entered the automation industry in 1986. After key business manager roles. Keith joined Siemens in 2001 as a Business Development Manager in the Siemens Motion Control group and latterly as Siemens Food and Beverage Business Manager identifying the productivity, efficiency and production flexibility benefits that automation technology and the digital enterprise will deliver to the food and beverage sector

He is the Chairman of Industry Advisory Board for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

Dr Stacie Tibos PhD CEng FIMechE - Young Member

Stacie Tibos

Senior Principal Engineer, Discovery & Disruption, PepsiCo International Limited, 

Stacie is a Senior Principal Engineer working at PepsiCo International based at their Global R&D centre at Beaumont Park, Leicester. Stacie is also a PepsiCo R&D Fellow.

Stacie leads the computational simulation and modelling agenda for PepsiCo in the UK and Europe. He previously worked in the Power Industry and spent 9 years working at General Electric and Alstom Power before joining PepsiCo back in the summer of 2017.

He holds a Masters degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Stacie is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Stacie is also the Co-founder and Chair of the Food and Drink Industry Committee at NAFEMS (professional body for simulation engineers) and sits on the leadership board of the Food Consortium.

Daniel Wells

Daniel Wells

National Consultant Specialist UK & ROI, Spirax Sarco

Dan Wells is the National Consultant Specialist for Spirax Sarco, providing Educational; Technical and Commercial support for Steam-users; Consultant Design Engineers; EPCs and Contractors across the UK & ROI. Working closely with the Spirax Sarco’s Area Engineering & Project Teams, Dan has many years’ experience with a broad range of Industrial Applications – Including Food & Beverage. Areas of expertise include Decarbonisation of existing Steam networks and mitigating risk & improving product quality wherever steam is in direct or indirect contact with the process.

David White CEng MIMechE CEnv

Senior Lecturer, Engineering Group, Harper Adams University College, Newport

Geoff Willett





Prizes and awards

The Committee provides nominations to the Process Industries Division's prizes and awards.

Get in touch

Have a question or would like to get involved?

Contact our Member Engagement Team

Join the IMechE conversation

Facebook Logo X Logo LinkedIn Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo

Update your email preferences

Sign up to newsletters

Log in to My Account to update your preferences.