Halcrow project director Andy Alder admits the past year has been challenging. He's in charge of design on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) extension to Woolwich Arsenal in south-east London.
Early hiccups included heavy wear crippling the TBM and water pouring through ssured rock.
Now on the second drive, Amec's upgraded TBM is making 'better than expected progress'.
This has freed Alder up to manage another London transport project. The scheme has not yet been publicly announced so all he'll say is that 'it involves tunnelling and surface works on a major scale. There's heavy engineering work to do in a congested urban location'.
Alder, 35, took an MSc in project management at Reading University when he was 28.
The course enabled him to 'analyse and understand how we approach project management'.
'It also gave me the confidence to take on bigger and bigger projects, and with that people became willing to hand me more challenging projects.' He says the key to working on large, complex projects in sensitive locations is having a team 'who gel and work together as a motivated group'.
Alder plays a pivotal role in creating the right chemistry. 'On a practical level you have to be organised and be clear about what each person's doing.' His successful management skills on the DLR extension project were recognised last year when he was short listed for the inaugural Emerging Engineering Design Awards.
Alder attributes his success to his extensive experience and a decided relish for a challenge: 'I've always grasped opportunities with both hands.' This year has brought Alder another new challenge.
'I'm overseeing the development, training and recruitment for our rail civil engineering staff to ensure we have the skills to deliver projects coming up in the future.'
To enter the EEDA, go to www.nceplus. co. uk/eeda. The closing date for entries is 27 July.
Q&A Andy Alder
Career highlight? Every project presents new challenges and each one is a potential new career highlight.
What's most important to you on site? That everyone who comes in to work goes home safely at the end of the day to their family.
Why did you become a civil engineer? 'I was interested in creating - designing and building things that make a positive, lasting contribution to society.' How did you feel when you were shortlisted for the EEDA?