INWED20: Reflections on a career in engineering

The theme for #INWED2020 is Shaping the World. This is the second (of three) of our #INWED20 posts.

Shaping the world?

Reflections on a career in engineering

Tiffany Grimwade MBA BEng (Civil) Hons CPEng MIEAust is a member of the Brunel Museum Board of Trustees. She has written this article in celebration of INWED.

As a girl at school I just loved maths, and engineering is where maths comes to life. But more than that, I always considered engineering to be a passport to the world, unlocking independent travel, experiencing different cultures and meeting inspiring people, while working on extraordinary projects. There may be specific local design requirements and building practices, but fundamentally structures and materials behave the same.

After gaining professional accreditation in my home country, Australia, I was desperate for an international assignment, and so I went to China. In the lead up to the Beijing Olympics, China was awash with construction, and international firms were jostling for a position in the local market. After a stretch in Shanghai, I finally settled in Hong Kong. I remember, leaving the Hong Kong office on my first day, passing through the crowded streets, after working on the design of a high-rise tower complex and thinking, I can’t believe they are paying me to be here and do this, I would absolutely do it for free!

I now live in London and lead the South East Building Structures practice at Atkins. Each time a new project or request for a proposal comes in, there is a spark of excitement across the team. As a global consultancy, we have the opportunity to help our clients overcome all sorts of complex challenges in the built environment. Whether it is an airport or a new low carbon energy solution, engineering projects impact all our lives and offer an amazing chance to shape the world.

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