I was keen to join a highways and transportation business, and had been recommended to Atkins by my supervisor at university. I was actually quite lucky in randomly meeting some of the people from Atkins’ Highways & Transportation business in Edinburgh following an ICE lecture. They were nice enough to help me set up an interview down here in Bristol.
What did you do before you joined Atkins?
I was a perpetual student! I finished my Masters degree in 2006 at the University of Bath and went on to do three years of postgraduate research into dry stone retaining walls.
How would you describe your role and responsibilities?
Many and varied! I am still involved in the technical aspects of many schemes, but more often I am now leading projects and bids. I like to be involved in lots of projects – keeps me busy!
How do you describe what you do to friends and family?
I’m quite proud to say that I’m a bridge engineer – most people think it sounds pretty interesting!
Do you have professional accreditations?
Yes, I became Chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) back in 2012.
What key projects have you worked on?
I’ve been working on the Severn and Forth suspension bridges, a few managed motorway schemes (M4 controlled motorway scheme and M4/M5 hard shoulder running), asset management schemes in Bracknell and Slough and a range of smaller schemes for Gloucestershire Highways.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently involved in the detailed design for a number of structures on the A465 Heads of the Valleys scheme in South Wales and also project managing a package of assessments of bridges in Sweden.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I was proud to get my PhD, and then my ICE Chartership, each within three years – it was hard work but it paid off! More recently I’ve developed a tablet-based inspection app with Dave Gibson in our technology team which is pretty cool, but we’re still working on that!
What’s the most technically challenging project you’ve worked on at Atkins?
Everything is a challenge for one reason or another. Carrying out assessments of Swedish bridges using Swedish codes and submitting them to the client in Swedish was certainly a challenge! And no, I don’t speak Swedish (yet).
How has your career developed at Atkins?
I started out as a graduate here in Bristol and have since got involved in some really great schemes, taking on more and more responsibility. I think I have a great future here and am looking forward to finding out what comes next!
How have you been supported during your career development?
Really well. I’ve always been lucky to have great line managers, but also the directors and senior leadership have always been equally supportive when I’ve been working with them – I’ve found them all really approachable and helpful.
How do engineers and Atkins make a difference?
Difficult to say – everything requires engineering to some degree, so we’re fundamental to society, but I like to think that in Atkins we’re aware of our social responsibilities and generally try to make things better.
How would you describe the culture at Atkins?
I think compared to a lot of the consultancy firms about, Atkins has always struck me as a really honest company. We are dedicated to actually giving the client what we believe they need, and aren’t just out to make a quick buck.