Team Spotlight: Chris Mackowski – Associate Geospatial Surveyor

Our geospatial team collect, analyse and interpret a vast amount of data from a huge range of sources, to better inform projects and clients across the Tetra Tech organisation. 

Here, one of our Associate Geospatial Surveyors, Chris Mackowski, outlines his role in more detail, including his love of technology and work trips to the Caribbean.

  • How did you get into this job and what is your previous history?

I’ve always been good with numbers so naturally, thought a career in finance was the only career for me. However, after a month on an accounting course at university I knew it wasn’t the right choice for me

I played football with a geospatial surveyor at the time and his job sounded so interesting, particularly the use of emerging technology. I changed my course to Surveying and Mapping Science and once qualified, joined a land surveyor firm and worked there for ten years. It was a great learning experience – I was able to work on national projects like Crossrail – but as they were only involved in the surveying aspect of a project lifecycle, I soon found myself wanting to learn about wider aspect of multi-disciplinary projects and how Geospatial surveying fits into this.

I was keen to work for a multidisciplinary organisation and once the opportunity arose to join Tetra Tech, then WYG, in 2018 as part of the geospatial team, I jumped at it.

  • What does your job role involve?

I get to work across the entire geospatial project lifecycle in my current role. From networking to support new business, submitting tenders for bids, working closely with clients to find the best solutions for them, going out on site to do the physical works, and analysing the data, there’s so many different facets. And working for a firm which has such a wide spectrum of clients and sector specialisms keeps the type of projects varied, such as nuclear, water, highways and defence.

This approach has certainly helped me become more well-rounded as a consultant – I’m able to understand the whole lifecycle of a project rather than just the geospatial aspect, and I work closely with a lot of other teams and disciplines who rely on us to provide them with data.

  • What is your favourite thing about your job?

Technology was a big reason I went into this career, and we get to use a broad range of cutting-edge tools on a daily basis, including mobile/static/handheld laser scanning equipment, and GIS tools to easily access and display data. The team ethos also really sets it apart – we’re close-knit and make sure we have some time in the office or on site together so no one feels alone, and we can share knowledge on projects.

Finally, the reason I joined the team in the first place – the variety – is fantastic. No day is the same, and there’s so many opportunities to develop and work on different types of project, both in the UK and internationally. Everyone has autonomy and is given certain projects or tasks to own and manage, but working with so many other teams and disciplines means you get to see how your work supports the entire project and wider business.

  • What has been your most interesting project to work on throughout your career with Tetra Tech?

As Tetra Tech is an international consultancy, we’re fortunate enough to work on projects all over the world.

My personal favourite was carrying out survey work in Anguilla, where Tetra Tech is completing a number of projects following Post Hurricane Irma. Several key infrastructure buildings were destroyed in the hurricane and we were involved in the design and rebuild of buildings such as the ferry terminal and health centres. Getting to work in the Caribbean obviously made my friends and family very jealous, but it was much more than just the beautiful surroundings.

We worked alongside a mix of US contractors and a local supply chain, so it was an interesting challenge to learn and adopt different operating styles and building standards. But most of all, it gave me the opportunity to understand and embrace a different culture, particularly around attitudes to work, in a way I’d never be able to experience through just a holiday.

  • How has Tetra Tech supported you in your career?

I’ve been able to gain a breadth of experience at Tetra Tech that I’d never have been able to gain at a single disciplinary firm. The company also supports everyone through charterships and pays for subscriptions too. There’s lots of structured training available, should you want to take it, and we’re encouraged to upskill ourselves wherever possible.

And throughout the pandemic and afterwards, the company’s adoption of a truly flexible approach of ‘work anywhere, anytime’ has made it easy to fit my work around my family life, instead of the other way around.

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