I joined Atkins in the Middle East in June 2011 working from the Dubai office.
Why did you join Atkins?
Atkins has sustained a leading role and reputation in planning, design and engineering throughout my career and I have worked alongside Atkins on a number of occasions. When the right opportunity came along I was delighted to become a part of this culture.
What did you do before you joined Atkins?
I held senior roles in several international design consultancies within the Middle East in the '80s and '90s, completing a diverse portfolio of wonderful and occasionally weird projects, ranging from commercial headquarters and resort hotels to rehabilitating Omani villages and creating roundabout features. In 2000, I returned to the UK and spent 10 years leading the UK design team of a major international environmental consultancy, personally specialising in defence design and development planning throughout the UK and overseas.
How would you describe your role and responsibilities?
I develop business throughout the Middle East region for defence facilities and infrastructure and seek to oversee project delivery, as a technical authority, to exceed customer expectations.
How do you describe what you do to friends and family?
I explain that I analyse, masterplan and design complex and often high-security defence facilities and love the challenge of making a diverse operational environment work like a Swiss watch. In less lucid moments I might simply say that: if I told you, I would have to shoot you.
Do you have any professional accreditations?
I have been a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects for nearly 30 years and have held registrations with various planning and defence organisations including the UK Urban Design Group and the Society of American Military Engineers.
What key projects have you worked on?
Specialist, high-security barracks, major technical training institute and helicopter airbase in Saudi Arabia; aircraft support base in Oman; battle tank support project in Qatar.
What are you currently working on?
Developing future clients and workstreams within Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Securing multiple projects and repeat business through a key client in Saudi Arabia.
What’s the most technically challenging project you’ve worked on at Atkins?
Leading the masterplanning and concept design production of a new training airbase for fixed and rotary wing aircraft in Saudi Arabia within a core period of two weeks.
How has your career developed at Atkins?
My role has evolved significantly since joining over three years ago, from military planner to business development director. This has largely been as a result of matching my personal strengths and weaknesses to the tactical objectives of the defence team and the overall Atkins Middle East business strategy.
How have you been supported during your career development?
Apart from systems training and an expansive intranet, my main support has been through the development of an extensive internal network of friends and colleagues which I have been fortunate to establish within the business. This has helped particularly to understand the Atkins culture and the opportunities it presents.
How do business development directors and Atkins make a difference?
Atkins is selective about the projects it takes on, in order to ensure that the objectives of all stakeholders can be met or exceeded. It is the job of the business developer to identify and present the right opportunities.
How would you describe the culture at Atkins?
Atkins has a can-do approach, underpinned by substantial breadth and depth. It is a great culture to be a part of.