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United Kingdom / Cost & project management / Projects director

John Pickford

John approaching Lordstones on the Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon. It was a day out in the countryside and a great event, but it was a struggle to run 55 miles across the North Yorkshire Moors in the snow.
John approaching Lordstones on the Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon.
John approaching Lordstones on the Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon. John approaching Lordstones on the Hardmoors 55 Ultramarathon. It was a day out in the countryside and a great event, but it was a struggle to run 55 miles across the North Yorkshire Moors in the snow.
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Why did you decide to join Mott MacDonald?

Initially attracted by the diversity and range of opportunity, the quality and impact of the projects and the culture of technical excellence; then convinced by the immediate rapport with the regional manager and his proactive nature that indicated the personal nature of the business and level of empowerment.

What is the best thing about your role?

Developing people, the diversity of activity and project, the opportunity to influence and personal and professional challenges.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

It is about the opportunity to make a difference, to do something positive by working with other great people in a supportive and open environment. People are encouraged and supported to constantly improve and recognised for their contribution not their job title. It is a company that has the diversity and reach to really have a positive impact and where profit is the result of doing things well, not the sole driver.

How has your career developed at Mott MacDonald?

Variety and plenty of opportunities there for the taking! I started out looking at drainage schemes within the civil engineering team in Birmingham; then got involved in the railway sector, starting with earthworks inspections as I was available to go on a training course. This led to managing safety for railway access on our projects and subsequently to leading multi-disciplinary railway studies and designs within major upgrade projects and programmes. I then took the opportunity to move across to York and into programme and commercial management as a project development manager and have since specialised in project and programme management on major multi-disciplinary programmes and projects, principally in the rail sector. I’ve worked in Australia, China and throughout the UK; and I am currently involved in developing the masterplan for a and complex programme.

Are you involved with any charities or do any volunteer work?

Mott MacDonald supported me in taking four months off as a young engineer to lead a team of UK volunteers to work with local villagers to build a health centre in a remote part of Tanzania, an experience which has stayed with me ever since. I am currently mentoring a sixth form student as part of the Career Ready programme, which aims to help students seeking additional support to move towards further education or a professional career.

What would your perfect day consist of?

A run through the wilder parts of the countryside at sunrise, followed by a large breakfast and day spending time with my family, before dinner and real ale at the pub with my wife and friends.

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