How has your career developed since joining Mott MacDonald?
My first introduction to Mott MacDonald was after my second year at university, when I interned in the geotechnical team for 12 weeks in the Glasgow office. In subsequent years I interned at different consultancies and with a contractor. By the time graduation came around my focus was on becoming a structural engineer. I joined a joint team in Glasgow and Edinburgh and was lucky enough to work with some great engineers and consultants during my first few years. I got involved with the Mott MacDonald Early Career Professional (ECP) network and through that I organised and attended many extracurricular events. This involvement increased my soft skills and my confidence. At the same time I was learning a lot as a graduate structural engineer with increased responsibilities. This early exposure pushed me to always apply for and try new things through the company, where I now work as a structural engineer in Auckland, New Zealand.
What do you think makes Mott MacDonald unique?
The people. I’ve worked with some very talented individuals during the first few years of my career, not only within the engineering sectors, but in the advisory and consultant sectors as well. With over 16,000 employees globally there is a network of people to ask questions to and learn from. Moreover, I’ve met great friends and mentors through work.
What advice would you give to current students applying to Mott MacDonald?
Think about what interests you and what you want to do with your career. At the end of the day, engineers and consultants are here to better the way people live their lives. A position with Mott MacDonald will allow you to do that although there is an aspect of self-determination required.
What opportunities have opened up for you since joining Mott MacDonald?
Within the first four years of my career I have managed to grasp a variety of opportunities which came my way including:
Building bridges, making connections
I was selected as part of the Mott MacDonald and Balfour Beatty partnership to support the NGO Bridges to Prosperity Charity. The 10-person project team travelled to Rwanda, in June 2019 for two weeks, to build a suspended footbridge for the local communities. I was responsible for developing a safe and straightforward construction methodology for the 32m bridge along with other team members, which Bridges to Prosperity will be able to use in the future on similar builds. Whilst on site the team and I came to know the local community well and we took time to interview the local bridge building team along with others involved in the charity.
Leading a team to host an international internal ECP Event I was the Glasgow Early Career Professional (ECP) Representative in 2019 co-ordinating professional excellence through the network and interacting with the other Scottish offices to create a cross discipline network. This was the first time this had been done and it gave the smaller offices the chance to be involved with professional developments. That year I also led and won the bid to host the EUNA (Europe and North Africa) ECP Day which was held in Glasgow, where I formed the organising committee from the Scottish ECP Network. The day focused on the theme “Alliance”, where the team organised senior speakers and workshops for 150 delegates from across Europe. This was my first insight into project / event management, and it is an aspect of working within a larger consultancy which I particularly enjoyed. Leading the organising committee for the day also included booking the associated accommodation for delegates and arranging a formal dinner and ceilidh.
In 2020 I put my hand up to move region from my home office in Glasgow to New Zealand. Working in a different region is something I have wanted to do since graduation and Mott MacDonald allowed me to do this due to their global position.
What project are you currently working on?
An eight storey mid rise residential block in Auckland. The interesting part of this job for me was getting involved at concept stage. In order to give younger members of staff experience in this stage, the technical and project leads decided to run a design competition, in which two teams presented back to the technical and project lead. This was a great way to work with my peers as well as learn more about the concept stage of scheming a building. After this I was placed as an engineer on the project and have been working on the preliminary design. This has included developing three schemes, which can be compared in terms of cost, embodied carbon and constructability.
When you’re not in the office, where can you be found?
Before moving to New Zealand, you would have found me hill walking in the North of Scotland, bagging some Munros, doing some kind of outdoor activity or catching up with friends. Now that I live in Auckland, my interests haven’t changed, although the weather has, which means more beach days, swimming and walks exploring different parts of the country.