One of our trainee project control managers, Oliver Proud, was shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year Award at the Project Controls Expo Awards 2021 – a celebration of the individuals, teams and companies who have made a remarkable contribution to the industry.
Here, Ollie talks through his experience so far at Tetra Tech, and what he looks forward to most in project controls.
How did you get into this job and what is your previous history?
My father works in interior design so I’ve always had some level of awareness of construction and engineering, but I never planned to work within this industry. I actually left university with a marketing degree, but after working in that field for a while, I realised I wanted something different.
I came upon the opportunity to develop a listed building in Devon and really enjoyed seeing a physical project develop from start to finish. After that, I set up my own property development company specifically for listed buildings, but the pipeline of suitable properties wasn’t enough to make it a full time career.
I knew I still wanted to work in construction though and found a trainee project manager position at Tetra Tech. I joined in 2019 and since then have converted to a project control role.
What does your job role involve?
My role encompasses a broad spectrum of duties. Working within project control means I work a lot within schedule and risk management, quantifying potential obstacles, and presenting a plan of mitigation to clients.
My previous experience developing helped a lot when I started and it’s been particularly interesting working within project management during the Covid pandemic. Keeping sites open and people safe presented a huge logistical challenge for the entire supply chain, particularly in the first few months. You’d like to hope that kind of situation is a once in a lifetime event, but the lessons learnt from it I think will make our entire industry much stronger, more collaborative, and has accelerated things like technology adoption.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
The variety of projects and the different challenges and risks each brings to the table. Tetra Tech has a huge spectrum of clients – from nuclear to residential – and as a multidisciplinary organisation, you get exposure to so many facets of the industry. On each project I work on, I’m developing transferable skills and in-depth knowledge of different sectors which will ultimately make me a more well-rounded consultant.
I also love that my job helps make something tangible – you can see an entire building be created from the ground up and know you’ve played a part in its physical creation. Working within project controls as well is fascinating as it’s what keeps things running on time, on budget, and to the client’s requirements.
What has been your most interesting project to work on throughout your career with Tetra Tech?
I have always been interested in listed buildings and the specific challenges they pose, so the opportunity to work within project control on improvements to the Houses of Parliament has been a clear stand out for me. It’s such an iconic building with so much history and intrigue, and I get to say I’ve helped work on it!
How has Tetra Tech supported you in your career?
It doesn’t matter what level they are, everyone who I have worked with in Tetra Tech has been so supportive. Managers and Directors take developing junior team members seriously, and everyone is willing to help and provide guidance. My project control team in particular, but also further afield – support is something that is baked into the company’s ethos.
Why would you recommend Tetra Tech to others?
The variety of clients and disciplines is pretty much unmatched. We already work on top tier UK clients like the Ministry of Defence and being owned by such a huge American firm brings the potential to work on huge global clients and projects, not just those in the UK.
What is the most exciting thing about the future of your industry?
We’ve seen so many industries go through a technological revolution already and the potential it can bring. Within construction and engineering, we’re still very much in the middle of ours. From developments in technological tools and modern methods of construction, to even the way we approach management and reporting, our industry is radically different to what it was 10 years’ ago and, is likely to be transformed once again within the next decade too.