Why did you choose to join Mott MacDonald?
I joined Sir Murdoch MacDonald and Partners about four years before the formation of Mott MacDonald. The main reasons for my interest were the company’s reputation as a long-established high quality consultant and the opportunities for interesting work, primarily through overseas projects. Mott MacDonald is now a vastly bigger company than the one I joined, but those two aspects remain key to current and future prospects.
What is the best thing about your role?
The most rewarding thing is seeing new graduates (and other not-so-young staff) developing through involvement on projects, helped along the way by more senior staff. This reflects my own experience many years ago when my then managers showed faith in my ability and guided me as I developed.
How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?
Friendly, open, honest, encouraging. Over the years I have worked with a huge number of people in my own office, in others in the UK and in numerous overseas locations, and almost without exception people have been keen to help.
Where have you travelled with Mott MacDonald?
So far I have worked in a total of 28 overseas countries, alphabetically from Albania to Zambia and geographically from the Bahamas to Indonesia. Work trips have also taken me to a few other places, including the very first trip in 1985 when bad weather resulted in the plane landing in the wrong country (Central African Republic rather than Chad). My longest stay was close to three years in Somalia (leaving on schedule just days before the country imploded in December 1990), but I have spent slightly longer in Indonesia, spread over more than 20 visits. My carbon footprint (a concept not heard of when I started work) is obviously not good – I recently passed a million miles of air travel – but at home I have always cycled to work and usually travel to meetings by train.
Besides the wide range of projects worked on, my travels have also allowed me the chance to visit numerous places of interest – for example Petra, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, and the Khyber Pass by steam train – and without the work travel it is highly unlikely that I would have met my wife who came from Indonesia.
Are you involved with any charities or do any volunteer work?
I am the Chair of Governors at my local primary school. With school budgets under increasing pressure the job is challenging, but it is interesting and satisfying to be able to give something back after well over a decade as a parent when my three children attended the school. The governors are primarily from an education or public sector background, so it is good to be able to contribute in part from business experience.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
To develop a viable nuclear fusion reactor. As well as solving our power generation problems this abundant source of cheap power would solve the water supply problems by making desalination a cheap option. The downside is that it would reduce demand for my technical skills in hydrology and water resources, but I’m sure I will be safely retired by then!