Meet Jonathan, Senior Project Manager, in the Water Infrastructure Group.
Posting date:10/1/2020 4:04 PM
Our managers are inspiring! Learn about Jonathan’s career path and professional development.
Q: What is your role at Atkins?
A: I am a Senior Project Manager for the Water Infrastructure Group in the US.
Q: What do you think has had the biggest impact on your career development to date?
A: Without a doubt, mentorship has had the greatest impact on my development at every stage of my career. As a young engineer the technical lessons learned from more senior staff were invaluable to my career development—not just “what to do”, but more importantly “how to think” about technical problems, issues and evaluation of potential solutions. At later stages in my career, I’ve found myself broadening considerations of mentorship to include peers and even supporting staff. With the right attitude and approach, it’s possible to learn from just about anyone. Continual learning and improvement are two of the most important things that we do on a regular basis due to the increasing pace of change in the workplace.
Q: How is collaboration central to what you do at Atkins?
A: Collaboration will always be a cornerstone of the engineering workplace. Good designs are never developed in a vacuum—it takes evaluation, communication and effort by every member of the team to ensure ultimate project success. As consultants, our available time is usually the most limiting factor and the only way to overcome this limitation is to share the necessary workload among others. At Atkins, this can include the involvement of staff located “down the hall” or halfway around the world. I’ve personally been involved in project collaboration with staff throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India, and I can honestly say that at the end of delivery, the involvement of a multitude of voices has resulted in improved design and enhanced project results.
Q: What does diversity mean to you?
A: For me, it’s important to recognize that every one of us brings to the workplace the sum of our prior experiences, whether personal or professional, and these experiences form the basis of diversity. A team that encourages diverse viewpoints often results in better designs, especially when provided a forum in which all team members may provide input--as many diverse experiences are covert, and not always immediately apparent. As a personal example, growing up I had a cousin near my age who was paralyzed from the neck down (quadriplegic) due to a car accident and subsequently confined to a ventilator and motorized wheelchair. This experience provided me with a heightened sensitivity to ADA considerations during my design work. An effective team is one that encourages the promotion and discussion of variety of member viewpoints to the benefit of the project deliverables.
Q: What is the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
A: Years ago, a good friend of mine told me that “no experience you have or education you attain will ever go to waste”. I have found this advice particularly empowering because there is this tendency to second-guess the life decisions each of us must make. It seems the bigger the decision, for example whether to attend graduate school and what major to choose, the greater the associated fear of making the wrong decision takes hold due to the perception of possibly “wasting” time and resources. If we can acknowledge that there is no “waste” associated with the decisions we make, then it frees us from this fear and allows us to make better and bolder decisions.
Q: What values are important to you?
A: I hold dear three primary values: honesty, integrity and fun. Honesty because it’s important to acknowledge the truth in everything we do. Being truthful is typically viewed as a positive attribute, but it can also be one of the most difficult things to put into practice—the truth does not always include good news, but it is important to speak and acknowledge the truth whenever called upon to do so. I view integrity as truth in action but acting with integrity extends beyond just speaking the truth… it really amounts to living the truth—as demonstrated thorough consistent beneficial action. Finally, it may seem frivolous but having fun needs to be a key component of life. By having fun I don’t mean just telling jokes all the time, what I’m getting at is that we are only given this one life, and in order to make the most of it we should seek out those situations that increase and maximize our personal enjoyment.
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About our Water Market:
Our clients in the water supply and quality industry not only work with one of the most complex, ever-changing resources – they work with one of the most important. Simply put, water sustains all life, which is why we’re proud to bring together the best expertise and latest innovations to meet the challenges facing our clients – and the wider world – head on.
Humans and water have a complicated relationship. We need to protect and nurture it, but also understand that it can be a dangerous and destructive force. Our water management experts recognize this, and make sure sustainability and safety are central to every project we deliver.
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