Name: Mariusz Leszczynski
Occupation: geotechnical engineer, Buro Happold
Route to the job: I graduated in geotechnical engineering with a masters degree from Warsaw Agricultural University in 1998.
My first job was with Geoteko, a Polish consultant, where initially I gained experience in site investigation and laboratory testing.
This was followed by reporting, involvement in the tendering process, contract arrangements and the supervision of works.
Later I became involved with the investigation of contaminated land and the redesign of river dykes. In April this year I joined Buro Happold Ground Engineering in its Bath office. Now my responsibilities cover all stages of the project, from the tender process, through to the investigation, reporting and supervision of foundation works. I am also gaining experience in finite element calculations and pile design.
Typical day: Each day is completely different. This is partly due to the wide range of responsibilities and partly because of the nature of the work. I spend about 40% of my time on site and in meetings outside the office, and the rest is taken up with calculations, reporting, writing faxes and letters at my desk. Very often there are issues requiring an immediate response.
Highs and lows: The most satisfactory aspect is the relief when the final report is finished after dealing with a very complex site, either technically or logistically. I also enjoy the good teamwork and working environment in the office and developing new skills.
The low points are not managing my job properly when overloaded and getting frustrated at being late to meetings in London because of delayed or cancelled trains.
Ambitions: My greatest ambition is to become familiar with the standards and procedures in the UK and to achieve a high level of confidence in my work before helping the company develop a geotechnical service in Poland, hopefully in the near future.
Advice: First, don't be afraid to work on site and get your hands dirty. This is the only way to understand the fundamentals of the profession. Second, it is important to bear in mind that the soil at every site is different - parameters can significantly vary for the same type. It is not concrete!