Project Director

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Mark G

00:00:03 OK my name’s Mark G, I’m a Project Director in the Coastal Division with Halcrow. My job involves the design, management, of coastal protection structures in the UK and around the world. When I joined Halcrow I was a Senior Engineer, managing and designing projects. And since that time I’ve now moved up through management, where I’m managing much larger projects. A £700 million construction project, for example, in the Middle East, I’m the manager on. But I’m also Resourcing Manager for 140 staff in the UK. So that’s also – my line management responsibilities have increased somewhat since joining Halcrow.

00:00:43 I grew up in West Wales, next to the sea, so I’ve always had a passion for the sea. Walked on the beach many times as a child, watching the waves crashing on the shore. Therefore went to – when I was in school I had an interest as well, went to Technical College, and then University, and then started as a project – job at an engineering consultancy. I was based in an office in Wales, so a lot of the jobs were involving coastal projects in the Welsh coastline. So there was a great variety of work, exciting, every job that you do on the coast is different, no site is the same.

00:01:21 I think certainly perhaps one of the most exciting things is, you know, when you’re younger, is your first overseas trip. My first overseas trip, as it happened, was actually to New York. Other highlights – becoming a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, professional qualifications, achieving that standard. And I guess perhaps working on projects where you’ve helped the local community – protected houses from – sort of from flooding and erosion from the sea. And then next time you go to that site, members of the public coming up and thanking you. That’s very rewarding.

00:01:55 One of my regrets career-wise is perhaps not travelling earlier on in my career, before I had a young family. Obviously when you’re young, you’re single, there’s more opportunity to travel around at shorter notice. A lot of our engineers do that now, in fact, got some young people going out to China next week for a week, which they can go at very short notice, which I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do, I need to plan my – plan my overseas travel.

00:02:21 I got involved – again I guess as a lot of young boys are interested in cars, and it just so happened a lot of my friends were into cars as well. So once I got my driving licence we joined a local motor club and did this thing called rallying. We didn’t really know that much about it. And that over the years has grown, I now compete in national forest events, which involves basically driving high performance cars around forest tracks between trees. I think the way it’s helped me, is in which it gives me a period to switch off from work, to focus on something, you have to be very focused on the rally, allows me to forget work for that short period of time and to make a break. So I find it, as I say, quite actually therapeutic, the fact that I can forget work for 48 hours, or whatever it be.

00:03:08 My future I think within the industry I see as the sort of leading technology. I’m quite a technical person, hands-on practical person, and quite – very keen on technical mentoring for people. Bringing the young engineers on, teaching them technical improvements and current way of thinking. I think mentoring’s very important. When I started I had a wily old engineer who was probably, I don’t know how old he would be now, but he was – took me under his wing, and I benefited from that greatly, and it’s the sort of thing that I try and encourage at work, but also myself, as with my own perspective to find time to mentor young members of staff. It is quite difficult with time pressures, but obviously it’s something which we need to do, ‘cause they are the future.


Mark Glennester is Project Manager for engineering company Halcrow. His passion for the sea made him a coastal engineer – saving communities from flooding. He likes traveling abroad with his work. In future he wants to support young engineers. He also drives performance cars around forest tracks.

More information about Civil engineers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

90%  male 
10%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Civil engineers undertake research and design, direct construction and manage the operation and maintenance of civil and mining engineering structures.
Civil engineers usually possess an accredited three or four-year degree in civil engineering or engineering science or an accredited Higher National Diploma or Certificate. The status of ‘incorporated engineer’ is obtained upon the completion of further training at work and associate membership of a chartered engineering institution. The status of ‘chartered engineer’ is achieved through the completion of postgraduate training and full membership of a chartered engineering institution.
  • Undertakes research and advises on soil mechanics, concrete technology, hydraulics, water and waste water treatment processes and other civil engineering matters;
  • Determines and specifies construction methods, materials, quality and safety standards and ensures that equipment operation and maintenance comply with design specifications;
  • Designs foundations and earthworks;
  • Designs structures such as roads, dams, bridges, railways, hydraulic systems, sewerage systems, industrial and other buildings and plans the layout of tunnels, wells and construction shafts;
  • Organises and plans projects, arranges work schedules, carries out inspection work and plans maintenance control;
  • Organises and establishes control systems to monitor operational efficiency and performance of materials and systems.
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