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Accentuate the positive

ICE news

A positive attitude and good people management skills are what prompted colleagues at Scottish Water Solutions (SWS) to support Nigel Earnshaw in this year's Civil Engineering Manager of the Year Awards.

'Over the last two years as head of engineering Nigel has made a significant contribution to the success of Scottish Water Solutions, ' says SWS chief operating officer Graham Mallett.

When Earnshaw took the job at SWS in June 2003 he was looking at the biggest challenge of his career. The joint venture between eight major construction firms had a little over two years to complete £1.1bn ($1.93bn) of projects. These included a water mains and sewage rehabilitation project, flood alleviation schemes and water treatment projects.

Early on, Earnshaw realised that the success of the projects relied on having 'a highly motivated workforce all working to clear procedures with well understood goals'.

Earnshaw mpressed judges with his ingenuity in setting up performance development reviews for all staff and conducted regular surveys to measure staff motivation.

'Some of the techniques I regularly use are writing to people to thank them for their contribution, ' says Earnshaw, but adds that he did not shy away from addressing problem staff, either.

'My main achievement was creating and then leading a 700 strong engineering team that has moved from below industry average levels of motivation to one that is now in the upper quartile.'

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