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Derek in Iceland in front of the Hoffell Glacier.

United Kingdom / Transport / Divisional director

Derek Winsor

Derek in Iceland in front of the Hoffell Glacier.
Derek in front of the Hoffell Glacier in Iceland
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Derek in front of the Hoffell Glacier in Iceland Here is Derek on a trip to Iceland.

Mott MacDonald is a highly professional organisation but with a family feel.

Why did you decide to join Mott MacDonald?

I joined Mott MacDonald as a graduate four decades ago. Following summer work experience with a local authority, which included recording gravestones in preparation for moving a cemetery, and with a small structural consultancy, I had decided that I wanted to be involved in substantial engineering projects. When interviewed by the then Mott Hay and Anderson I was immediately struck with the unique culture, which was a breath of fresh air compared with other more stuffy interviews I’d had. I was also offered a role on a major international project!

What is the best thing about your role?

My present role is sub-divisional manager for foundations and geotechnics. The best aspects of my role are the ability to interact with a great many stimulating engineers and graduates across a range of interesting specialisations and being part of melding this talent to deliver major projects.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

Mott MacDonald is a highly professional organisation but with a family feel, developed within a carefully nurtured employee owned business model. This culture has enabled a diverse group of people to build a reputation as trusted delivers of hallmark projects.

How has your career progressed at Mott MacDonald?

Mott MacDonald’s culture suits my aspirations for an organisation to both develop professionally and allow engineering to be both engaging and fulfilling. I have seen the company grow from 400 to 16,000 people and I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a string of nationally important mega-projects such as the Channel Tunnel, Boston Central Artery, Delhi Metro, Crossrail and London Heathrow Terminals 2b and 5. This has kept me highly motivated and energised and allowed me to progress in the organisation from graduate to divisional director and attain fellowships within the civil and structural engineering Institutions.

How many years have you worked for Mott MacDonald, and what has been your proudest achievement to date?

I have worked for Mott MacDonald for 40 years. My proudest achievement is always the last project that’s been commissioned and making a difference to the quality of peoples lives. Possibly the project that had the largest and most instant positive impact was the opening of Delhi’s first underground metro line, which achieved full operating capacity within one week!

What has been your favourite Mott MacDonald social event?

My favourite Mott MacDonald event was the company-wide celebration held in the grounds of Leeds Castle following the successful completion of the Channel Tunnel project. The venue and event was impressive with a continual fleet of coaches transferring staff to and from the party which was held in a lavish giant marquee and included dinner, all night entertainment and rounded off with breakfast the following morning. A major event to mark a remarkable project.

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

The three people I’d have lunch with are:

  • Abraham Lincoln, because I admired his determination, his sense of fairness and his ability to inspire and motivate.
  • Winston Churchill, for many of the same characteristics and to see how these two got on.
  • Tommy Copper, to add a bit of levity!

What inspires you at work?

How bright our graduates are and how resourceful, given the right encouragement.

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