A Birmingham- based highways engineer has been giving road planning and maintenance advice to local authorities and urban developers in the Latin American country of Colombia.

Dr Jose Ortiz-Garcia, group engineer and highways asset management expert with the Atkins EDF Energy Consortium, was a principal speaker at the internationally-respected Colombian Symposium on Pavement Engineering.

He delivered a lecture and presented two papers before being asked to share his experiences in Birmingham with Colombian highways authorities.

Dr Ortiz-Garcia is from Colombia, but moved to the UK in 1996 to take an MSc in highway engineering at Birmingham University, followed by a PhD in strategic planning of highway maintenance.

He joined Atkins in 2001 before becoming a strategic adviser on long-term highway maintenance planning with Atkins EDF.

The consortium has been shortlisted for the £2.2 billion 25-year PFI contract to maintain Birmingham roads.

Dr Ortiz-Garcia, who lives in Northfield with his Mexican wife Ilse, said the South American highways professionals and academics were interested in his work on the Birmingham Highways PFI project - in particular the way computer modelling was used to predict road deterioration and highways maintenance schedules.