I always wanted to work somewhere that would challenge me every day. Also, I wanted it to be a place where no two days would be the same. Both these things definitely describe Heathrow. The airport is basically like a mini city, so it exposes you to a huge variety of engineering assets across all disciplines.
What do I love most about working here? I would have to say the sheer breadth and scale of projects that I’m working on – everything from construction projects to the maintenance of huge terminal buildings. I’ve been able to complete placements in both mechanical and civil engineering, and it’s been a great mixture of technical and managerial experience as well.
One of my highlights so far has been carrying out inspections. I went out with a team from one of our key consultants to visually inspect the airport’s geotechnical assets, such as soil embankments and retaining walls. We were looking for any signs of failure, including slip failure and rotational failure. I found this work especially interesting because it was related to what I had studied at university.
You are exposed to lots of innovation at Heathrow. Just one example is a project I recently worked on, where we applied an innovative new material called Rhinophalt to the airport’s taxiways. By seeping in between the pores and acting as a binding agent, Rhinophalt can extend the life of concrete by up to five years.
Installing CCTV cameras around Terminal 3 was another project I really enjoyed. Connecting new cameras to existing digital infrastructure is not as straightforward as you might think. Cables are not efficient over long distances, so you need to be creative about where you situate new ports and outlets. Digital technology is not my area of expertise, so it was a fascinating puzzle for me to be able to get my teeth into.
I am really impressed with the way that all of us are treated as individuals. My background is quite unique as I have studied both mechanical and civil engineering – Heathrow have been so flexible in allowing me to try out both branches of engineering before deciding which path to follow all the way through to professional chartership. I really feel that the focus is on my own personal development.
Heathrow is a place of opportunity. Working here gives me the chance to wake up every morning and say: “What new people will I meet today, and what new experiences will I come across?”