Buildings and Places, National Security, People Spotlight

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a graduate project manager from our Buildings + Places (B+P) business line in Europe and India and providing you insight into their project management inspiration and work.

Dominic is a graduate project manager in our Project Programme & Cost team in Bristol and works predominantly in the Defense and Highways sectors. He has been with AECOM since 2020, joining straight after completing his bachelor’s degree at Newcastle University in England.

Tell us about what inspired you to join the industry.

My interest in construction and project management started during my undergraduate degree in geography. Studying both human and physical geography encouraged me to learn about how economic development has an impact on the environment. I was also fortunate to undertake several work placements at construction consultancies, importantly an insightful placement at AECOM for the summer of second year of university.

This placement opened my eyes to the many ways I could pursue my passion for the environment and allowed me to experience what a career in project management would be like. Working in construction project management blends both technical and soft skills to successfully manage a project and it was this unique mix of skills that really attracted me to the industry.

Our Bristol office welcomed me during this placement, and I am fortunate to be back there now continuing to develop my career in the industry. I am also lucky to have been inspired by my father, who has himself enjoyed a rewarding career in project management.

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

My favorite project is one that I am currently working on for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at Kendrew Barracks in Rutland, England. The work is multifaceted, and ranges from delivering an assessment study to assist in the rationalisation of the MoD Estate, to supporting the delivery of over 140 military working dog kennels.

Our team has been engaged to carry out a fully compliant DEO (Defence Estate Optimisation) Assessment study to examine the options of various military units moving to Kendrew Barracks. This optimisation of the barracks will enable the MoD to rationalize their estate and focus several key capabilities at one location.

As part of this process, our team is developing a holistic masterplan for the site that culminates in a RIBA 2 set of drawings undertaken by our in-house design team. This has been a great experience so far, as I have had the opportunity to work with AECOM colleagues from a range of different offices in the UK.

In parallel, our team is undertaking a technical services role for the DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) to assist in the delivery of the 1 Military Working Dogs Unit to Kendrew Barracks. This scope of works includes the provision of 140 plus dog kennels, squadron offices, scent training facilities, armoury and many more. Having sight of both of these projects provides our client with the ability to de-conflict decisions made for both work streams to optimize future master planning at Kendrew Barracks.

Working in Defence comes with unique challenges that lend themselves to agile and reactive project management. These projects offer an opportunity to help deliver vital capabilities for the UK military, which is greatly rewarding and the perfect opportunity to learn and grow. Alongside the opportunity to develop skills and understanding of the Defence sector, the project has allowed me to collaborate with many great people from a range of different companies. Without the support of all these individuals, I wouldn’t have been able to expand my skillset as much as I have.

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

I have been very fortunate to work on projects that support local communities and deliver social value to the areas that they are developed in. Whether this be through direct improvement to the areas in which they are based, or through the provision of infrastructure that supports the residents of these communities.

Alongside my work in Defence, I have been fortunate to work with Somerset Council in South West England to help deliver critical highways infrastructure across the county through their Signal Recovery Framework. The Signal Recovery Framework is aimed at improving the local highways infrastructure across Somerset County, through maintenance and re-design, so that the local traffic network can run more efficiently and better connect the region as a whole.

These projects are so important to the local communities, and it is incredibly rewarding to be one of the project managers on the multi-disciplinary and organizational team of people who are working collaboratively to improve and promote this.

Share a piece of career advice.

I am still very early into my career but my biggest piece of advice for anyone starting or thinking of joining the industry would be to take all the opportunities you can. By fully immersing yourself in the opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone, you will continue to grow as a professional.

I have also greatly benefited from trying to observe and learn as much as I can from those around me. Across all my projects, as well as through time in the office with my wider team, I have been surrounded by experienced and knowledgeable colleagues. By absorbing as many of your teammates’ tips and tricks as possible you can develop your own styles and methods of project delivery.

Finally, it is important to remember that you’ve got your full career ahead of you – so while keeping that in perspective, try to enjoy your career journey as much as you can.

Photo of a military personnel with a military working dog at Kendrew Barracks,

Originally published May 3, 2023

Author: Dominic Marsh