Locale : Global (English)

29 countries over 41 years
Alison Stuck

Alison Stuck joined our team as a Hydrologist in 1978 and was the very first female employee within a technical role. Over her 41-year career, she has travelled to over 29 countries in Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and the Far East.

In her final week before retirement, we caught up with Alison to find out more about her amazing career.

"I joined in the era of the telex and posting letters to colleagues and clients globally. A huge contrast to the technology we have in place today!

What enticed you to join such a male dominated environment and what are the most prominent changes you have seen within the industry over your career?

I completed a master’s in engineering hydrology as it was something that interested me, and I was looking to work within hydrology. I knew very little about the organisation and it was more luck than forward planning. I contacted the line manager at the right time when they had a real need for my skills in their team for a project in Nigeria.

There has been a lot of change over the years, not just in the technology available to us, although that has had a big impact on how we do things.

When I joined, we only had around 500 staff, so we have grown quite a lot! With many organisations around us merging over the years, they very much lose their identity. I’m pleased to say that we have kept our identity and the core values that make it such a great place to work.

Within the environmental team, the gender ratio I would say is around 50/50, which is great! I still feel this is something that could be worked on within other disciplines at a grassroots level to really ‘plant the seed’ of the possibilities available.

You mentioned changes in technology. How has this made a difference to your role?

The one major change has been around communication. I joined in the era of the telex and posting letters to colleagues and clients globally. A huge contrast to the technology we have in place today with Skype meetings and instant message technology.

What have you enjoyed most about working at Mott MacDonald?

The incredible variety of projects and the opportunity to work with so many colleagues around the world, while making many friends and learning about their way of working.

What has been your favourite project that you have been involved in and why?

Indonesia, the island of Lombok, I was there for 18 months in the 1980s. I was part of three projects, including the Mamak Dam.

I enjoyed working with local people and seeing what life is really like in these destinations. I’ve been very lucky to visit numerous destinations and experience them before tourism grew in popularity.

What has been your proudest achievement?

There’s far too many! Such a variety of projects over the years. We’re very lucky at Mott MacDonald in that aspect.

You’ve certainly had a career to be very proud of! Do you have any exciting plans for your retirement?

As I’ve always travelled afar while working with Mott MacDonald, I would be keen to explore more of Europe. I’m also a very keen bird watcher and will now have a lot more free time to fulfil that passion of mine!

Do you have any advice for women about to start their career?

The engineering sector is an area with so many opportunities, especially within a consultancy. So, I would embrace the variety. No matter what you study at university, there will no doubt be an opportunity within our team.

The annual City Bumps Week in Cambridge, September 1987

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