Peter Hallsworth is holding a double celebration: it's his 57th birthday and he has a permanent job as head of transportation at URS after nearly two decades of consultancy work.
His new post has returned him to his roots. 'I'm a north west lad and I was born less than a mile from where I work in Manchester.' Hallsworth's early interest in engineering led him through Bury Grammar and Liverpool university to a post at Nottingham County Council as a trainee transportation engineer.
'One interesting job involved putting a throttle on the traffic coming into town. At the time it was a solution without a problem, but 20 years on, congestion charging is top of the pops.' After Nottingham came a stint at Leicester County Council.
'I joined the motorway maintenance team and got into contraow designs. They're now based on my designs - smooth, with cross-overs. We used video surveillance to look at the new cross-overs and they worked!' Well, nearly. There was one incident when an elderly lady stopped at the contraow to read the road sign and someone went into the back of her. 'But you can't design for that.' Hallsworth then became self employed, working on a high speed rail line from Venice to Milan with the job of ensuring the Italians nished on time.
'We bought new machines from the US. We were under real pressure, and I was not training in my native language. It was excellent. Do I like being under pressure? Dead right I do.' His new post at URS involves overseeing two ofces in Manchester and Leeds.
'URS has a smaller presence in the north of England than elsewhere, and it's my job to develop it.
'We have plenty of expertise, but we need lead people to talk to clients. We need project managers, not engineers and are looking for local people. We have new ofces planned for Liverpool and Derby, ' he says.
Q&A Peter Hallsworth
I am reading: The Black Sun by James Twining. I enjoyed his rst book and want to see if he has exhausted all his plots.
If my house was on re I would save: My better half - Margaret.
Everything else is replaceable.
Favourite food: Chinese. I work just down the road from Manchester's Chinatown, and I love the buffet lunches, from prawn crackers at one end to ice cream at the other.
Hobbies: Walking. I don't do the hard stuff like I used to, but I still enjoy it. I deliberately live just where the city ends.