The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 86 (2008) > Issues > Issue 13 > Observations of a projects engineer (Gold Medal Address 2008)
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Observations of a projects engineer (Gold Medal Address 2008)

As you will appreciate I thought long and hard about this address; should I give a presentation of the many and varied projects I and my teams have been fortunate to tackle, or should I be more fundamental and give my observations on the ingredients that make for success in our industry, albeit from a personal perspective.

I surprisingly decided on the latter: I will have other opportunities to present my projects, but very few to express what I think matters in 'getting it right' in our industry.

I have to be absolutely clear from the outset of this address that I am a 'hands-on' projects engineer who has had the good fortune to have led the design and procurement of projects, some major, and then to have taken them forward to construction and commissioning. That is what I have sought from my career - nothing more than to be the project engineer and manager of the total enterprise.

Reflecting on the factors that made such a wonderful career possible I would have to emphasise the importance of:

  • a balanced wide education and interactive training - i.e. good teachers at school, university and work;
  • recognition of the importance of proactive research - i.e. antic- ipating and then seeking the solutions to problems before they manifest themselves;
  • an attitude to planning which seeks to constantly reinforce the objectives of the project and looks forward to identify and then mitigate the threats to a successful outcome;
  • an understanding of the dynamics of teamwork - i.e. to recog- nise what creates and maintains teams, both for the individual, the team-members and their families.
In short, beyond having the potential talent, it is the ability to work with the 'soft' issues and to keep looking forward that matters most in conceiving and then delivering projects. It is because of the importance of these factors in making for success that I wish to explain and give some background to my views, which could be summarised as the importance of 'Teachers, Research, Planning and Teams'....(cont)

Michael Glover, FREng, BSc(Eng), CEng, FIStructE
Director, Arup & Fellow of Arup