Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


James Bennett is manager of Connell Mott MacDonald's London office, the firm created when Mott MacDonald merged with Australasian structural building engineer Connell Wagner in 2000.

'I love sport, it's always played a big part in my life.' James Bennett is unmistakably Australian.He is tall, athletic and as you enter Connell Mott MacDonald's office, a stone's throw from Great George Street, his Melbourne accent fills the building. And like many of his compatriots, Bennett is confident, bullish and great company.

His love for sport was fostered in his home town, where he claims the largest and most passionate sporting crowds in the world can be found. Today, weekends for Bennett involve trying to teach his two small boys how to play proper football.

'They are obsessed with the game, it used to be footy - Australian Rules - but since we've come over here, they both want to emulate Steven Gerrard, ' he moans.

Bennett played professional Aussie Rules for Melbourne's Hawthorn Hawks in the 1980s and even appeared in a winning grand final team, playing in front of more than 100,000 fans at the city's world famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

'The things you learn in sport apply to business - such as working under pressure, attitude, teamwork and enjoyment.'

He began working as an engineer while still playing professionally. His time in football was just before the really big money began to filter through to the players.

Now that career is over, the 37 year old still gets great satisfaction from being involved in sport by working on some of the greatest stadia in the world.

This now includes Wembley as Connell Mott MacDonald is structural engineer for the project.

Bennett was given the chance of launching the new Connell Mott MacDonald London office last year. 'Making our mark in central London was important in attracting the very best jobs.'

'Moving to England was just too good an offer to refuse.

Both myself and my family are having an absolute ball, ' he adds.

In Australia Bennett was able to enjoy private developer led projects which were quickly constructed on a design and build basis. 'Here the whole financing and planning procedures can be frustrating as it takes much longer, even though all the same measures apply in Australia.'

He has worked on all types of high profile projects including premium high rise developments, commercial and retail developments, but the job that stands out for him so far is the £650M Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne.

'This was the fruit of five and a half years labour for me - and includes a 40 storey hotel, cinemas, a 2,500 seat ballroom, health club, a retail strip, a 3,000 space car park and the second largest casino in the world.'

One future feat of engineering that currently excites Bennett will be the lifting of the roof arch of the new English National Stadium at Wembley.

'This will be an international news event and a great thrill for all involved.'

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs