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United Kingdom / Buildings / Technical director (sustainability)

Eszter Gulacsy

Eszter skating on Red Square, Russia

"There is trust in people to get on with their work"

Why did you choose to join Mott MacDonald?

I had joined Mott MacDonald briefly on a contract role for three months a couple of years before I decided to make a permanent move to the company. This allowed me to get to know the company reasonably well, so when I received a phone call from my former manager at Mott MacDonald, I knew what I was getting into, so I was happy to say yes.

What is the best thing about your job/role?

I like the independence of it and the fact that everyone gets involved in project/financial management fairly quickly. This puts the technical work into perspective fairly quickly. In our office we have a very open culture, where people are encouraged to approach managers, but there is trust in people to get on with their work without being micromanaged. I also enjoy the travel even if it’s a bit demanding sometimes.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

I would describe the company as "traditionally progressive". Being employee-owned and having traditional values, such as an emphasis on employee retention, long-term thinking and making people take ownership of their work. I believe the core attributes of the company are built on solid grounds.

What has been your most memorable project?

This has to be a leadership in energy and environmental design project in Russia over the past three years. We were tasked with advising on sustainable design and construction for an industrial client. The project has been incredibly challenging and rewarding at the same time with constantly having to think about ingenious ways of adapting sustainability requirements to local customs, laws and culture. For instance, erosion control takes on a whole different meaning when it’s minus 28 degrees Celsius outside! Having said that, this project has also been incredibly rewarding with very enthusiastic and positive client feedback and lots of new experiences.

What has been your favourite Mott MacDonald social event?

I would have to say, our 2013 sports day in Birmingham and our 2012 Christmas party in Russia. The former was a really fun day, where I won a silver medal for throwing wellies! Our team also marched right into the semi-finals of the volleyball tournament, followed by a thoroughly enjoyable evening meal and dance at Edgbaston Stadium. The latter was my second Christmas party in Russia in a row. Russians really make an effort with their events and are incredibly welcoming to outsiders. Skating on Red Square on a crisp, snowy December evening at the end of our trip was the most fun I’d had for a long time.

Where is your favourite place?

I have lots of favourite places. Portholme Meadow in Huntingdon, where I live now, is one of them, especially on a foggy autumn morning, as I drive to work or sit on a train. The swimming baths in my hometown in Hungary on a hot summer evening is another. I do love the large, open spaces of the Sonoran Desert in the Southwest USA with their curious wildlife, as much as I enjoy taking a stroll along the quiet and secluded Regent’s Canal in London during lunchtime, when I’m in town. I think I have favourite aspects of most places I’ve been to, whether for work or holiday.

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