00:00:03 My name’s Paul M, I’m Market Sector Director in Halcrow’s Highways and Transportation team, responsible for developing our business, working with public sector regeneration bodies, agencies like the Environment Agency. The main interest I think is the variety of work that I get. I can do some work in the field, some work in the office, some technical work – I work as an Engineer and Geologist as well. Mentoring other staff, junior staff, to help them improve their competencies. As well as running bids for major projects, trying to win more work for Halcrow, which has its own individual challenges.
00:00:43 Probably one of the major turning points in my career was when I was working with British Coal, and began to realise that there was – it was time for a change. It was an industry which was slowly declining, and I put out an application for a job and I was turned down on the basis that I was too specialised. Which made me stop and think about where I was going, and how I was progressing my career. And it was at that time that I made the decision to do a Masters degree part-time.
00:01:11 My interest in Geology started I suppose when I was at school. I did straight Sciences at A level – Chemistry, Physics and Maths – and decided that the Earth Sciences was what was interesting me. I decided to take the middle road and go for the Geology, which would allow me to keep my career options open for quite a long time.
00:01:30 At school I was a student who could do better. Probably one of the most irritating things about my school work, is that I eventually proved my teachers right, because I could do better, and I did do better.
00:01:42 After I got my A levels I decided that I needed to take a year off. I thought I was quite naïve, I wanted to find out a little bit more about – about the world. So I actually took a year off, and took a structured year working with handicapped children at a holiday centre in Cornwall, working with down and outs in London, and also working on an ecological expedition in Central Scotland.
00:02:06 There was a young girl I worked with down in Cornwall, where I was working with handicapped kids, who at the age of ten was told that she had a tumour on her spine, and she was given a couple of choices. The first choice was to leave it alone, and die. The second choice was to have an operation, but she had a fifty percent chance of ending up in a wheelchair. When I met her she was in a wheelchair, but she was also in the German wheelchair basketball team. And she’d taken that knock and just said – no, that’s my new life now, I’ll go and make a life of it. And I’ve always remembered that.
00:02:42 I think another person who I’ve met and associated with quite closely was my grandfather. He was a Minister in the United Reformed Church. He preached on the topic of let’s do it together, and that’s something that I’ve had stuck in my mind ever since. I try and do things with my family, so that we do things together; and also team work, in my line of business, is fundamentally important. We’re much more successful when we work together as a team.
00:03:09 Both my children have got an interest in the theatre. When my eldest daughter was involved in an Ice Skating Club, I ended up learning to skate, and skating in two ice pantomimes. My youngest daughter then got involved in a Youth Drama Club, where they needed some adults to play parts. So I ended up playing the King in the King and I. And more recently I performed in the Cardiff première of Titanic the Musical.
00:03:35 I would love to have more time to raise money for charities. A particular charity that I would focus on, if I had the opportunity, is Barnardo’s. There’s a friend of our family, she had problems, and at the age of 14 she walked herself in front of a train. But she was working with Barnardo’s even when she was in hospital and ill. So I’d like to, if I had the opportunity, to put back a little bit for her, by supporting that charity.