It’s probably difficult to choose as you have worked on so many exciting projects but do you have a favourite one?
The one that stands out the most is St. Pancreas Station, which I helped deliver from 2001-2006. I started off as Deputy Project Director and Engineering Manager on the project, before progressing to Section Manager of the tunnel. We were responsible for delivering the station extension, working on both the new structure and refurbishment of the old structure.
The environment we were working in was particularly challenging due to its central location. We were operating in one of London’s busiest stations (in a live environment) with Kings Cross Station next door and the Thameslink running underneath. There was also a fleet sewer running across the site and two gas mains that were supplying the majority of North East London. Safe to say, it was a very stop-start job.
Aside from the logistical obstacles, it was a very technically challenging programme. As we were working on such a historic building, there were quite a few unknowns. Along with encountering various obstructions, we discovered that the station’s arched roof was naturally expanding by approximately 20mm each day due to sun exposure.
Despite these challenges, we had a really great team on the project, including a number of people who have now progressed very far within the industry and many that I’m still in contact with to this day.
How has the industry evolved since the 1990s?
Communication is a key aspect that has transformed dramatically. In the early days, on a job in Aberdeen, I remember going to the phone box at the end of each day with a pocketful of coins to call the Operations Director and update them on our progress. We weren’t given mobile phones then as they were too expensive and unreliable.
What have been some of your most notable career achievements?
I’d say that my best achievement has been helping to deliver several successful and technically challenging projects for the company. I believe there are very few jobs that I’ve worked on where we’ve had a major issue.
Although, success isn’t a one man band – my success is only thanks to the support of other people. As Newton said, we’re all ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.’ Success is about ensuring you have a strong team who can help deliver your vision. In line with this, one of the most rewarding parts of my job has been helping to develop people and giving people opportunities to progress their career.