Explore: Engineering

Market Sector Director

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Paul M

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.


Paul M is Market Sector Director in Halcrow’s Highways and Transportation team. He is an engineer and a geologist. He used to work for British Coal, but realised he was specialising in a declining industry, so he took a Master degree part time. Now he loves the variety in his work – helping the company win bids for major projects, mentoring junior staff, some fieldwork and some office work.

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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Public admin. & defence 2324
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