Our Trustees

Sebastian Wood

Area of expertise: Civil Engineering

Background: Sebastian is a Chartered civil engineer with Whitby Wood, a structural engineering practice he founded with Mark Whitby in 2016.

Areas of interest: Sebastian's career began before university when, as an 18 year old he project managed the repair of an irrigation channel high up in the Usambara mountains in rural Tanzania with the charities SPW and GTZ. Following university he joined engineers Whitbybird who sponsored him through the Forum for the Future Leadership in Sustainable Development scholarship programme, which convinced him that business should and could be a financially successful force for good.

In joining Whitbybird he immersed himself in the commercial reality of a London engineering consultancy and the design and delivery of major commercial projects. However, he saw an opportunity to square the circle when the practice was faced with the seemingly benign challenge of building a library in Waterloo, Sierra Leone, in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. This task was far from straight forward and led to the founding of a charity, which now owns and operates the library with a staff of 20 Sierra Leoneans and has an outreach programme embracing over 100 schools, with 18,000 student library experiences each year.

Following Whitbybirds takeover by Ramboll, Seb became a director, first leading a large team designing everything from flood relief shelters in Bangladesh to major airports, and subsequently relocating with his family to India to establish a business for Ramboll in New Delhi. 

This background has set Seb in good stead for the challenge of how we can combine the commercial and charitable worlds through international development work. His experience suggests this is possible, and is underpinned by his belief that construction is a wonderful uniting force in society, encompassing all people, from site labourers to academic researchers.