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Paul in Chengdu, China

China / Buildings / Divisional director

Paul Lengthorn

Paul enjoying a bowl of noodles
Paul enjoying local cuisine
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Paul enjoying local cuisine Paul enjoying local cuisine.
 

It took me about 10 minutes to decide to take the job when it was offered

Why did you choose to join Mott MacDonald?

I had been working in the UK for about 15 years and wanted to work overseas. A former colleague had joined Mott MacDonald and I had been working on a project where Mott MacDonald was also working. Eventually I was introduced to the head of the buildings team and I eventually took up a role based in the Middle East. It took be about 10 minutes to decide to take the job when it was offered.

What is the best thing about your job/role?

Being based in China, now for 6 years, has been the most exciting and challenging experience of my career so far. I really love the way that we have to always be changing and adapting the way we work, where we work and what we can offer the clients in a market that is evolving every day. Now that we support our Chinese clients as they work around the world makes it even more exciting.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

Before working in Mott MacDonald I enjoyed the time when I worked in a small partnership in London; the company had a real team and family culture. I find that even though Mott MacDonald is very large, as a staff owned company, it has much of the feel of a smaller firm. People really want to help you and collaborate for the good of the group. For such a big firm, I am sure that this is only possible because of the staff ownership model and the feeling (and fact) that all senior staff have a stake in the well-being of the firm and their remuneration depends on its success in satisfying Mott MacDonald's clients.

Where have you travelled with Mott MacDonald?

With Mott MacDonald I have been able to travel to India, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Oman, Mongolia, Thailand, Australia, Taiwan and many cities in mainland China. For an engineer you really can’t beat having the privilege to test your skills and ability in so many different places. 

What is the best thing about living in the country you live?

I have lived in China for 6 years now. The best thing is that every day I see more and more how people have the same issues to deal with in work and life wherever they live in the world, they just sometimes have to be solved in slightly different ways.

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

Bill Clinton, despite his failings you can’t ignore his conviction. Joseph Fourier (if he could be brought back to life) because I would like to understand how he even began to develop the breathtaking ideas of Fourier Series that so underpins most of engineering. Finally, Billy Bragg, because he will have plenty to say and if we run out of conversation he could belt out a good song.

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