Buildings and Places, ESG, People Spotlight, Resilience

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a project director from our Buildings + Places business in Birmingham, United Kingdom and providing you insight into their project management inspiration and work.

Craig Owen leads a team of project managers delivering a diverse portfolio of projects for the UK’s Central Government clients. He is also the Justice and Blue Light Sector Lead for the region. Alongside his role at AECOM, he is a Captain in the Army Reserve. During his career, he has also led projects in a variety of international locations including Bangkok, Nairobi, Mombasa and the Caribbean.

Tell us about what inspired you to join the industry.

I always had an interest in science and math whilst growing up, and I also wanted to work in an industry where I could impact the world around me. This inspired me to join the industry as a bridge engineer. Working for AECOM as an engineer allowed me to use my skills to contribute to projects that make a difference to the world.

After becoming a chartered engineer, I found that I enjoyed leading teams and setting the strategy of a project more than the technical design. This led to me changing my role within AECOM and joining a different team as a project manager. I really enjoy the unique challenges that come with each project and having full responsibility for its success.

What is your favorite AECOM project that you’ve worked on and why?

I am really enjoying supporting my team in delivering projects for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which are essential to providing a safe and secure environment for rehabilitating prisoners. The diverse projects include new build prison expansions, refurbishments of existing buildings, fire system upgrades, decarbonization projects and rapid deployment modular cell projects.

As the client account manager for the MoJ, I am also responsible for ensuring that AECOM is set up to best support thm in achieving their objectives. We recently hosted a collaboration day with the MoJ and some of the other suppliers we work with. It was enjoyable and rewarding to plan how we can best collaborate to enable rehabilitation through our projects.

I’m proud of the work we are doing to deliver social value through our projects and support rehabilitation by providing mentoring and employment skills training in prisons. I am on the employment advisory board of a prison and exploring how AECOM can provide employment opportunities for people completing their sentence.

Tell us a story of how your work positively impacted the community.

I led a programme of projects as part of the British Virgin Islands recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The projects provided security and safety for the community ahead of the following hurricane season whilst supporting the longer-term recovery of the community.

The work included repairs to police stations and government buildings and procurement of debris clearance contracts and communications equipment. The projects were the first to be delivered under the Virgin Islands Recovery and Development Agency, a transparent and accountable specialist project implementation agency created to respond to the unique challenges faced by the community.

I saw first-hand how our work positively impacted the community as I was in the Caribbean for two months. The AECOM team worked tirelessly in a challenging environment to significantly impact the community and recovery of the region. I’m proud to have been part of this.

Share a piece of career advice.

My advice would be to take ownership of your career and set your own standard in everything you do. Early in your career, mastering the basics will lead to further opportunities to develop your skills and experience. It can only be you that drives yourself forward to develop to your full potential, people will help and guide you, but it needs to be you that does the hard work.

Craig at a project site in the British Virgin Islands.
Originally published Aug 9, 2023

Author: Craig Owen