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Aimee MacFadyen – A rising star in Project Management

Headshot of Aimee MacFadyan

Aimee MacFadyen’s impressive journey from a Mechanical Design Apprentice to a Senior Project Manager at Tetra Tech is an impressive one.

Her dedication to learning and her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the nuclear sector, have contributed to her being shortlisted for the prestigious 2023 BECBC Rising Star category.

Question:

Aimee, how did you evolve from your start as a Mechanical Design Apprentice in the nuclear industry to becoming a Senior Project Manager at Tetra Tech?

Starting my career in the nuclear industry in 2016 as a mechanical design apprentice, I progressed through my apprenticeship and successfully completed it in 2020, graduating as a mechanical design engineer. After further reflection, I decided the next challenge I wanted to undertake was a change in profession to project management.

I made the decision to transition into a management role because I recognised that the core skills I had developed in my engineering position pointed towards my strengths lying in team leadership and project management. Subsequently, in 2021, I joined Tetra Tech as a Project Manager. Since then, I have had the privilege of spearheading project deliveries and gaining exposure to a wide array of business initiatives.

Question:

You were able to achieve an honours degree while working full-time at Tetra Tech, how did you balance these academic pursuits with your full-time role?

I was keen to ensure that the knowledge I had gained during my technical role was retained and transferable into my role as a project manager. Initially, I made the decision to continue my academic journey as I have a passion for engineering and felt that my engineering degree provided me with a foundation of knowledge that I can continue to build on within my project management role. I subsequently achieved my degree while working full time at Tetra Tech enabled by their hybrid working policy.

At times, this was massively challenging for me as I was balancing establishing myself as a project manager and the academic challenges associated with my degree. It has taken an increased level of discipline to juggle both commitments, however I am pleased to have subsequently achieved a 1st Class Batchelors Degree with Honours in Mechanical Engineering.

Question:

Diversity in the workplace is important to you. What do you think needs to be done to break down any barriers within the nuclear sector?

I am passionate about breaking down diversity barriers within the sector and I am an avid activist working alongside Women in Nuclear as a part of the integrated Leadership and Development Framework. The Women in Nuclear Framework is a platform that allows members of women in nuclear to access to free training, providing leadership and mentoring support which aren’t always available elsewhere.

I am keen to promote women in the nuclear industry and help to ensure that all barriers are removed to enable individuals to progress in their career as I did upon graduating from my apprenticeship. I am passionate about retaining and attracting diverse talent in the sector, I am keen to continue in my dedication on this matter through my active role in supportive organisations. Additionally, I also support the nuclear institute as part of the Young Generation Network (YGN). I am responsible for the support and investment to attract and retain the younger generation both within Tetra Tech and into the Nuclear Industry. I am an advocate for junior members of staff, encouraging their involvement within YGN. This role allows me to continue to promote the nuclear industry as an incredible industry to be a part of for young people when looking at potential career paths.

Question:

You recently presented alongside Tetra Tech Division President, Craig Hatch at the Northern Nuclear Conference and got some great feedback on social media. What was this like for you?

I was privileged enough to present alongside Craig on the Topic of “Empowering the Next Generation”. This task was daunting however I knew that I could bring unique perspective to the conference that would allow senior members of their organisations and MPs to feel empowered to invoke change to attract and retain diverse talent to shape the next generation of nuclear. My presentation helped to provoke a conversation throughout the conference and subsequently structured the Q&A for the day around important topics such as diversity and inclusion and attraction of younger talent into our industry.

Question:

You’ve achieved so much in your career already, but what’s next?

As a project manager I strive to continually improve. The project management field is constantly evolving. In order to meet these demands being adaptable and open to change is important. By embracing new technologies, methodologies, and approaches I hope that I can continue to improve and lead more efficient and effective projects. The nuclear industry is essential in achieving the goal of Net Zero. I hope to continue to contribute to achieving this goal by continuing to support and lead projects in the nuclear industry that focus on reducing waste, minimising environmental impacts, and considering the long-term sustainability of project outcomes.

As an individual I will continue to advocate for a diverse and inclusive workforce both within my company and within the industry. I will continue to support organisations such as the YGN and Women in Nuclear to promote an inclusive and diverse culture in our industry. My long term aspiration as a project manager will be to work to achieving my chartership through building on my skills and experience.

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