- Course: Civil and Structural Engineering MEng
- Year of graduation: 2007
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Principal Project Manager
- Company: WYG
What have you been doing since finishing your studies?
Since graduating in 2007 I joined WYG as a graduate civil engineer. Over the first 2 years of my career I worked predominantly on military establishments carrying out structural surveys on historical aircraft hangars and listed buildings. Within the first 2 years of my career I discovered my strongest skill sets were geared towards interacting with other project team members and resolving project related issues. Recognising this I made the conscious choice to move my career towards project management, becoming a Project Manager in 2009. Since that point I have been working on a vast range of infrastructure projects in the UK, Afghanistan, Libya and most recently Nepal.
Tell us more about your role?
I specialise in delivering infrastructure projects in fragile, conflict and disaster affected areas. Some of the key roles I have had are;
- Project managing the construction of the NATO Mentoring Base, part of the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. I spent 18 months living and working on a NATO base acting on behalf of the British Royal Engineers to manage the contractor on site
- Programme managing the delivery of infrastructure development in Tripoli, Libya. I spent 3 months living and working in Tripoli developing a high level construction programme to remove munition storage depots across Libya
- Project Managing the rebuild strategy for 8 schools and 12 health posts in the rural Himalaya’s, Nepal. I spent 4 months (across 3 trips) to develop a rebuild programme and strategy to rebuild schools and health posts for Community Action Nepal following the April 15 Earthquake
- Programme managing the Flood Recovery Programme for Carlisle City Council following the December 15 Floods.
What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career?
I remember studying a module in my 3rd year, Engineering in Developing Countries. This really appealed to me and I take the lessons I learned from that module into my job. When developing a solution in a very remote or constrained part of the world it’s all about looking at logistics, availability of materials & resource and working with the local end users to work within the art of the possible. It’s all about using sensible, practical and sustainable solutions that the end user can own and manage hence reducing donor dependency.
Why did you choose to study Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Leeds?
I chose Engineering as I always had a fascination with the built environment, from the man made wonders of the world to how the utilities worked in my house. I chose Leeds based on the scale and diversity of its engineering faculty and I was also very keen on living in the City.
What was the best aspect of the course/University?
Leeds University is a great place to study and offered a good balance of work life opportunities. Through Leeds University I was introduced to WYG and carried out a summer placement. I would strongly advise actively seeking summer placements whilst at University as it complements the academic learning of University with practical real life work experience.
What would you say to students thinking about studying at Leeds?
I would always promote the School of Civil Engineering and the University of Leeds but would also recommend Leeds as a city. My advice around a career in Engineering is to be pro-active. Only you can create the career you want. It will take hard work and sacrifices but the rewards are amazing.