I joined Atkins as a graduate engineer straight from Southampton University. Although I had a civil engineering degree in my pocket, at 21 I still hadn’t decided what I wanted to do as a career. So my intention was to work for a year, attack my student debt and work out what I really wanted to do. More than 20 years later, I’m proud to say that I’m still at Atkins, now directing our Water Networks business.
What did you do before you joined Atkins?
I worked tirelessly on my degree at Southampton University!
How would you describe your role and responsibilities?
A director of Atkins' water operations business with specific operational responsibility for the water networks business.
How do you describe what you do to friends and family?
First and foremost I call myself a civil engineer, then I tell people I’m a water engineer, which causes the conversation to really take off and I start telling them that I know a lot about leakage and underground pipes…. they can’t stop me!
Do you have any professional accreditations?
What key projects have you worked on?
If I look back, one of the biggest projects that I worked on was the Thames Water Ring Main, which at the time (early 1990’s) was one of the largest capital projects underway in the UK. It comprises around 80km of pipeline for transferring potable water to pumping stations across the capital.
What are you currently working on?
As the director of the water networks business I get involved in a range of projects and with a range of clients. These cover large design projects, for example from The Grid for Wessex Water, through to much small commissions such as a project for UK Water Industry Research.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Leading a team and business that’s made up of great people who are talented, creative and diverse, and having the opportunity to be involved in exciting high profile projects. Both these make coming to work interesting, challenging and fun.
What’s the most technically challenging project you’ve worked on at Atkins?
All projects have their own unique technical challenges. Some are challenging because they involve tackling a problem or area of work that’s completely new. Some are challenging because they involve a high degree of uncertainty. Other projects are logistically challenging. It’s hard to single out any one project.
How has your career developed at Atkins?
Graduate → Chartered → Project Manager → Client Team Leader → Business Manager / Director.
How have you been supported during your career development?
Through; (i) other people’s trust in my abilities, (ii) letting people know what I want to do, and (iii) taking the opportunities presented.
How do engineers and Atkins make a difference?
By employing smart people who challenge the norms and look for a better way to tackle problems.
How would you describe the culture at Atkins?
Changing; moving from a confederation to a more cohesive and joined up global organisation.