Today we celebrate International Men’s Day (IMD)and speak to men across Sir Robert McAlpine who champion our family values, inclusion, and technical excellence helping us to be the best place to work.
Introducing Jeremy Harmsworth, a Regional Chief Engineer who is based in London. He’s a working Dad, has teenage daughters and like us, is celebrating a work anniversary this year. Not quite 150 but an impressive 20 years having joined Sir Robert McAlpine on a graduate scheme back in 1999. We caught up with him to find out more about his role and career highlights.
Tell us about how you got to where you are today?
Following graduating from university where I obtained a first-class honours degree in civil engineering, I spent 18 months traveling the world deciding on what to do next. I gained employment with Bowmer and Kirkland in the Midlands and North East as a Chainman/Assistant Engineer where I spent 2 years learning the ropes. But always aspiring for more, I explored opportunities for graduate schemes and Sir Robert McAlpine came highly recommended. I applied and was fortunate to join the team in 1999 as a Graduate Engineer.
The last 20 years have flown by. I’ve met and worked with some inspirational people, some of which are still with the company today. I’ve spent my time working on many projects, including; Cardinal Place, Pitt Rivers Museum, Regent Street, Olympic Stadium, ArcelorMittal Orbit, De Vere Gardens and Fitzroy Place and Maggie’s in Leeds.
What has been your career highlights to date?
It has to be working on the world famous Olympic Stadium ahead of the 2012 games. Not only being involved in such an iconic venue showcasing engineering excellence but the legacy this stadium leaves, the people it inspires and the sporting legends I’ve shaken hands with as a result!
I had the honour of meeting just a few celebrities here too. David Beckham visited the site during construction and took the time to talk with members of the team. On another occasion, Jamie Oliver was appearing live on a morning TV show during the games and was willing to talk especially when understanding my involvement with the stadium.
More recently, I’ve been involved in a new centre for Maggie’s at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. This was at the pre-construction phase of the project dealing with Heatherwick Studio and the Maggie’s team to launch this project from the ideas stage to the start on site.
Also meeting Michael Palin who visited our Pitt Rivers Museum extension site in Oxford. Michael walked around the site and shared Monty Python quotes with the construction workers.
Meeting and working with Anish Kapoor for the ArcelorMittal Orbit was interesting to see how an artist can take a vision and turn it into reality.
Tell us more about your current role as Regional Chief Engineer
I’ve recently been appointed to the role of Regional Chief Engineer and just this year too have been awarded Fellowship status from the ‘Institute of Civil Engineers’ (ICE). I feel honoured as it’s the highest and most senior grade of ICE membership awarded to senior civil engineers who have made a significant contribution to the civil engineering profession.
It really is wonderful to be recognised and I’m already benefitting from attending networking events, meeting with other like-minded leading industry people to share best practice, etc.
I also lead our geospatial team and act as a mentor for our current graduates who may well be on a similar career path to me and lead the ICE process within the London region.
2019 is our 150th anniversary year - tell us about your personal highlights
I completed the 150th anniversary Rannoch Moor Trek for Maggie’s earlier this year. The sun was shining and trekking across Scotland with Sir Andrew and other colleagues was a truly fantastic experience.
My family and I also attended the 150 celebrations in Manchester. We all really enjoyed the Saturday and have the tin of Builders Brew tea in our kitchen which is a daily reminder of the great day we had!
What message would you give to those seeking a career in construction today?
Go for it. See an opportunity and take it. You may have to start from the bottom and work your way up but, this way, you get so much hands on and real-life experience. This also gives you the experience for every site situation and package interface, which is often missed.
You too can be a working Dad and have support from your employer with flexible working. The balance between family life, home life, work life for me is very important and I’m grateful for the company’s ethos around family values and commitment to engineering excellence on the projects we are involved with.