Inspired by ‘This is Engineering Day‘, we’ve asked one of our Directors, Martin Doughty, a few questions about his career so far!
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role within Richard Jackson Limited?
I was really pleased to start in civil engineering in 1988, so with over 32 years’ experience, I have had a truly fulfilling career in the industry. I am currently a Director at Richard Jackson Ltd and primarily, now, consider pre-development engineering design in the speciality areas of transportation and drainage as well as associated aspects for development planning applications. I also provide expert witness advice for legal cases and consider detailed engineering design for schemes as and when needed.
Have you always worked in the same area of engineering? If not which other areas do you have experience in?
As an engineering technician on a training agreement with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in my first job, I spent half yearly placements in different sections of the Highways Department. This included, bridges, highway maintenance, highway accident investigation remedial works, major infrastructure design and topographical surveying. I then worked in the major highway maintenance and bridges sections designing highway improvements for the A12/A14 and bridge design for replacing the county’s infrastructure.
For the last 20 years I have worked in private sector delivering infrastructure for many different parts of the industry from waste to health and housing to retail and commercial development. From one small dwelling through to a 1,500 dwelling urban extension with stormwater attenuation/storage the size of eight Wembley football pitches. The ability to get involved in many different aspects of engineering is endless.
What inspired you to become an engineer?
This is a simple question to answer, both my Grandfather and my Father. My Grandfather was a draughtsman and engineer for Short Brothers who built the ‘Short Sunderland’ flying boats. My Father worked in manufacturing and was a Production Line Manager for a large shower and water heater company in Norwich who spent time in Kuwait purchasing parts and sourcing new technology. So I suppose engineering was in the blood.
What has your most exciting/favourite project to date been?
I did get to the dizzy heights of inspecting the Orwell Bridge just outside of Ipswich, whilst working in the bridges sections as Suffolk County Council. This involved weekly inspections of the bearings and plates which are between the bridge piers and the deck. Access was through the Orwell Bridge, which believe it or not, is hollow and you can fit a double decker bus in the centre!
How did you get into the career?
I wanted a job that was practical and for someone with two ‘O’ levels in woodwork, I’m not really too sure how that happened, I wanted a job/career which meant I could be out on site, enjoying the great outdoors but also gain knowledge of design. So civil engineering seemed like a great opportunity to do this.
What qualifications have you acquired over the years?
I started as an engineering technician at Suffolk County Council and studied an ONC/HNC in civil engineering. I was then lucky enough to be placed on a part time degree course for a further four years to gain my BEng (Hons). Professionally I am now a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Chartered Intuition of Highways and Transportation (CIHT). I am also a Member of the Association for Project Management.
Do you have a favourite invention or piece of engineering in history?
My favourite engineering invention, interestingly is the Fisher Space Pen. After countless experiments and a common sense approach to findings, the invention of the sealed and pressurized Fisher Space Pens cartridges (Fisher Space pen refill) in 1967, was selected after 18 months of rigorous testing by NASA, for use by their astronauts. Amazingly these pens write on wet paper, which is a must for any civil engineer in the field, or on site in the wet winter months.
I think that locally it has to be the dualling of the A11, which meant the ability to drive out of the county of Norfolk without being held up by a tractor, which is in reality a quite recent event and an amazing feeling after years of no dual carriageway out of Norfolk.
On a UK level, I think that the Sizewell B power station is also an amazing feat of engineering, especially as I stood in the location of the nuclear core, on a site visit, whilst studying in my earlier years.
What do you enjoy most about your job/what is your proudest career moment?
I like to help people and clients achieve their goals. I enjoy solving problems and adding the benefit of my knowledge to a scheme/project to ensure that it has a better outcome for all involved. I very much enjoyed my time as Chair of the Membership Applications Panel for four years with the CIHT, especially assessing future Fellow candidate membership applications, I learnt a lot about different engineering careers reading those. In terms of highlights, I was very pleased and proud to learn that the first engineer I sponsored and mentored through a professional qualification passed first time.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering engineering, what would it be?
The field of engineering is vast and wide, try and explore, volunteer, train and get work experience in as many fields as possible, before choosing which one to discover and make a career out of. Once you’ve started, make sure that in whatever you do, “Research, know your field and get your ducks in line!”
What would you suggest is the best route into engineering?
There is not really a best route. People are very different and the teams delivering engineering solutions need a variety of skill sets to deliver the end goal. If you’re more practical, try an apprenticeship, there are many more levels of entry now, so pick one that will help you learn and develop. Alternatively study it at University and then potentially specialise through a Master’s Degree or beyond. I started very much at the entry level and owe a lot of gratitude to all those who helped me along the way.
The industry very much needs enthusiastic engineers and there are many opportunities currently available – just search and you will find!
This is Engineering is a campaign to bring engineering to life for young people, and give more people the opportunity to pursue a career that is rewarding, future-shaping, varied, well-paid and in-demand.
At Richard Jackson Limited, we often have a variety of apprenticeships available. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.