Philip Staten, 42, is technical directorof Maccaferri in Oxford.
Route to job
I did a degree in civil engineering at Trent Polytechnic and in the early 1980s I undertook a part-time post-graduate course in geotechnical engineering at Bolton Institute of Technology.
My next move was to Dames & Moore where I worked offshore in the Indian Ocean on geotechnical investigations. A two-year posting as a geotechnical engineer - later project manager - followed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during which I became chartered.
On returning to the UK in the early 1990s I took up a post at Scott Wilson's geotechnics section in Chesterfield, initially as a senior engineer and later as assistant principal engineer and became heavily involved in the geotechnical aspects of the A50 Derby southern bypass. I was also responsible for introducing and marketing the gINTregistered geotechnical database system in the UK.
In 1996 I gained an MBA from Nottingham University, after two years of part-time study. I started work with Maccaferri in September 1996 as technical manager becoming a director in July 1999.
My hopes on accepting the job were to have more exciting days, to increase my salary and be in a position where I could make a difference. Additionally, I suppose, I wanted to be closer to the everyday commercial 'cut and thrust' and to be able to see how my efforts and decisions impacted the company. However, I did not want to turn my back on 15 years' experience by moving away from civil and geotechnical engineering.
My expectations have been more than matched - each day has a different format and provides new challenges. Projects at Maccaferri are usually short term so the results of individual input is easily quantified. We have an excellent team of engineers and support staff and problems are solved quickly. R&D for new products and techniques provides variety, as does the commercial involvement with our partnering organisations.
We have five offices in the UK and Eire and this provides me with plenty of travel and variety. I am now a permanent member of the Maccaferri International Technical Council (MITC) which meets every six months at different locations throughout the world with the aim of providing technical direction for associated companies.
It obviously helps to have both technical and business post-graduate qualifications. Therefore, the first piece of advice I would give anyone who feels they are doing a job they are not happy with is to plan a way out and do something about it. Not all organisations will help you; take the initiative and help yourself.
If you want to become a mature part-time student then plan ahead.