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Faber Maunsell AECOM

A people-focused attitude drives Faber Maunsell AECOM’s success
in delivering complex projects around the world

In the past few years Faber Maunsell AECOM has become a regular fixture in the Times, Sunday Times and Financial Times lists for best companies to work for, but the company is not resting on its laurels. "When you enter these competitions you get a very detailed analysis of what the staff think," explains director Peter Ayres. "We use that feedback to inform strategic policy, and to see how we can improve and reinforce what we’re doing."

Client assessments also tend to show Faber Maunsell AECOM as being strongly people-focused, but Ayres does not see this as being at odds with business and delivery capabilities. "If you invest in your people and put them first, your clients will get the best service, because they’re getting the best people," he says.

That investment includes a training academy delivering structured training programmes throughout people’s careers, and preparing them for senior management. "A key thing for us is that people have a career path to the top level of the company through not just managerial routes," says Ayres, who adds that directors have either technical, project management, business management or sales and marketing skills. "We give equal weight to the importance of those skills, so people can see a variety of career paths to suit their strengths."

As a result, Faber Maunsell AECOM has earned a reputation for being very strong technically, but with the ability to deliver. Or, says Ayres, quoting polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, "superhuman effort isn’t worth a damn unless it achieves results". Shackleton is something of an icon and leadership role model at Faber Maunsell AECOM, as the company has been responsible for delivering the Halley VI research station for the British Antarctic Survey.

The new station will provide a home and workplace for 16 people during the winter and 52 in the summer, and is located 10,000 miles from the UK, on the 150m thick floating Brunt Ice Shelf, which moves 400m every year towards the sea. It is made up of a series of pods supported by mechanical legs on skis, and has been designed to withstand extreme winds and temperatures as low as -56oC, with each highly insulated module incorporating low energy and sustainable principles to help reduce the station’s environmental impact. Halley VI may be a one-off project, but it is indicative of Faber Maunsell AECOM’s ability to answer challenging technical briefs.

The company – which specialises in buildings, transportation and environment and employs 3,000 staff in over 30 offices in the UK and Europe - is a major global player, both in its own right and as part of international consultancy group AECOM. "We’re becoming more organised on global business lines rather than purely geographically," explains Ayres. That means more opportunities for people to work abroad, particularly in the booming economies of the Middle East and in North Africa. "There is a massive amount of work in the UAE and Qatar as they diversify their economies," explains Ayres.

"Some of the best projects in the world are going on there." Those projects include Saadiyat Island – a new cultural quarter in Abu Dhabi being created out of the desert – for which Faber Maunsell AECOM is involved in the masterplanning.

At the same time, the company also has a reputation for its expertise in sustainable development, where it acts at both the project and strategic levels, advising clients and government on climate change issues, and for advanced design skills that can be brought to bear right from the concept stage of a project. "When we talk to our clients and ask them why they come back to us, the message is that we’re great people to work with, we have very strong technical people, and we really know how to deliver," says Ayres. "I think we’ve got that balance about right."

To find out more about working at Faber Maunsell AECOM go to www.fabermaunsell.com.

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