Associate, Arup Geotechnics, the geotechnical consultancy arm of Ove Arup & Partners
Route to the job: 'I qualified as a civil engineer from University College Dublin in 1986 and then did an MSc in Soil Mechanics at Imperial College. I joined Arup in 1987 and became a chartered engineer in the UK in 1992. I have worked on a wide range of geotechnical projects both on site and in the design office, and have supervised site investigations in the UK and Ireland, including a £2M investigation through central London for CrossRail. I have also supervised piling and embedded walling on projects including the initial phases of Canary Wharf in the late 1980s, the UK Pavilion at Seville Expo in 1992 and a major road and rail scheme in Bangkok in 1994. I have designed piled foundations and a deep basement for the Royal Opera House, helped write the Highways Agency and ICE specifications for piling and for embedded retaining walls, and have just completed a CIRIA design guide for gravity retaining walls.'
Typical day: 'Every day tends to be different. I get a variety in my work, from meeting with clients to help scheme up new developments to working with contractors to turn around site problems. Over the past year we have been designing, specifying and supervising construction of foundations for a large number of new buildings at Canary Wharf. My group has also been responsible for the design of other projects such as a new development for Marks & Spencer incorporating a 20m deep excavation and a museum in Northern Spain. '
Highs and lows: 'I tend to be involved in many different projects at the same time and balancing the conflicting demands on my time can be both exhilarating and frustrating.'
Ambitions: 'My main aim is to do good technical work and to continue working with interesting people. I hope to continue working at Arup, doing different things on rewarding and challenging projects.'
Advice: 'Get good technical training if you want to become a designer. Doing an MSc in your chosen subject at a good university like Imperial certainly opens doors. The industry needs people with vision who can see new ways of doing things, challenge preconceptions and deliver better value both for their own company and for their clients. Global consultancies like Arup value engineers with knowledge of an additional language.'