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United Kingdom / Water / Graduate structural engineer

Navdeep Aujla

Navdeep hiking on the Torrey Pines trails.

"Knowing that my work is of such high importance to the lives of millions of residents is very fulfilling and satisfying."

Why did you decide to join Mott MacDonald?

An opportunity with Mott MacDonald arose when I was temporarily residing in the UK on a professional contract playing cricket in the Liverpool Competition. At the end of the season I was due to return home to Australia and recommence my engineering career there, however I was gratefully presented with a unique opportunity to become part of Mott MacDonald in the North of the UK. When offered a position within a reputable, successful consultancy that upholds core values of sustainability and innovation, the decision to join Mott MacDonald was an easy one at the conclusion of play.

What is the best thing about your role?

Being a graduate structural engineer with several years’ experience in Australia, my transition into my new role in the water and environment unit has been smooth and constructive, but yet posed with a number of challenges. My role has given me the opportunity to work on infrastructure that is vital in treating and supplying water to a number of towns and cities in the north of the UK. Knowing that my work is of such high importance to the lives of millions of residents is very fulfilling and satisfying.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

At Mott MacDonald we pride ourselves in possessing the passion to maintain an outstanding relationship with our clients, stakeholders and employees. Tackling challenges associated with engineering, project delivery and management with an innovative and sustainable approach has been incorporated into company culture.

At an employee level, the culture resonates with the personalities and unique traits of each individual of the Mott MacDonald family, which undoubtedly has resulted in the positive mind frame that is encouraged when delivering projects competently for our clients.

How has your career progressed at Mott MacDonald?

My time so far with Mott MacDonald has been very challenging but yet fulfilling. Challenges have included grasping structural design as outlined in the Eurocodes and getting up to speed with UK construction methodologies, procedures and regulations. However addressing such challenges has allowed me to develop as a structural engineer exceptionally in such a short period of time.

What makes Mott MacDonald stand out from other companies?

Mott MacDonald has a unique culture that sets it apart from its competitors. A focus on engineering innovation and positive stakeholder engagement is continuously upheld by Mott MacDonald. Issues of contemporary society such as safety, sustainability and economic growth are constantly addressed. By being employee owned and maintaining a strong focus on client engagement and employee satisfaction, Mott MacDonald has established a working environment that is a pleasure to work within.

What is your favourite pastime?

My primary pastime is playing cricket professionally during the summer period. I currently hold a contract as being the overseas professional for Burscough Cricket Club who play in the Division 1 of the Liverpool Competition. I’ve always loved playing cricket from a young age, having represented my state, Queensland, at junior level and having played in national tournaments in Australia.
Other than my commitments to cricket, I enjoy many outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, cycling and playing football with mates.

If you could have lunch with any three people who would they be and why?

Shane Warne – being a cricket fan I grew watching Warne break records and continually bowl Australia to victory in both Test and Limited Overs cricket. He was an innovator of the game and was always full of ideas in establishing techniques on how to overcome his opponents (fittingly a key competency of a successful engineering consultancy such as Mott MacDonald). What I admire most about Warne is his ability to bounce back and remain the world's best spinner throughout his career. Cricket is a mentally gruelling sport, and the fact that Warne could overcome his insecurities when returning from injury, media scrutiny, personal issues and team related conflicts is something I will always admire about him.

Barrack Obama – Obama’s ability to lead and generate reassurance through discussion is something that I would love to experience first-hand. Being hit with the Global Financial Crisis only months into his term, how Obama lead the US out of recession and back as a global economic powerhouse is not only remarkable, but worthy of everybody’s respect. It would be a privilege to have lunch with him and gain key advice on the attributes embodying a virtuous leader.

William LeMessurier – it was learning about the success and controversy of LeMessurier during the early stages of my civil engineering degree at university that inspired me to become a structural engineer. LeMessurier is most notably infamous for the “The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis” involving the Citicorp Headquarters Tower in central Manhattan. After reviewing his structural calculations well after the sky-scraper had been constructed in 1977, he was forced to initiate immediate upgrades to various steel connections, as the structure was more vulnerable to an extreme storm event than originally thought. All this occurred with an intense storm looming off the north east coast of the US, hence why the scenario has been well endorsed as an ethical case study.

As an aspiring structural engineer, it would be a fantastic experience to discuss the mental repercussions LeMessurier was subjected to while the crisis was taking place, and to note how he identified the aspects of the structure that required immediate rehabilitation. Additionally, to discuss his many successes as an architect and structural engineer would not only be inspiring but a privilege for any young engineer.

What inspires you at work?

It’s as simple as aspiring to be the most competent engineer I can be and to truly make a difference to society. Working on key water infrastructure has allowed me to feel as if I am venturing along the correct path in achieving these goals. I am also inspired by the visions and values Mott MacDonald pride themselves on in delivering projects with a strong emphasis on sustainability and safety – two critical issues of contemporary society.

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