Marcus Kay - Civil Engineer - AECOM
Issued: Wed, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:00 BST
Tell us a fun fact about yourself
I've always enjoyed both watching and playing several sports, and had a massive advantage playing basketball due to my height (6' 5"). I also probably have the most eclectic taste in music - my likes range from trance to heavy metal to jazz.
Tell us about your career journey so far
After graduating from Heriot-Watt University with a 1st class Master's Degree in Structural Engineering w/ Architectural Design in 2017, I joined AECOM roughly 1 month after my final exam. After being heavily involved in several railway transportation projects in the first few months, I was seconded to Network Rail where I worked in the Asset Management team - this gave me perspective on different engineering work as well as working for a main transportation client. Upon rejoining AECOM after a month on secondment, I again was involved in several different railway projects across Scotland, including the Aberdeen to Inverness line and Highland Mainline. I'm currently working on the renewal of the existing freight line in Northumberland which is being upgraded to allow for passenger traffic - this is probably the largest scale project I've worked on over the past 3 years and is considered one of the larger railway transportation projects in the UK after HS2.
What was your favourite subject in school and why?
I enjoyed the technical aspect of the subject and the problem solving aspect involved when showcasing a design via drawings.
What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?
English - report writing is crucial
Any subject which involves Applied Mathematics - Physics/Tech Studies etc. - will allow you to have a better understanding of why Maths is important
What is a normal day in your role like?
In a normal day, most of my time is spent at a desk working on designs of new railway structures to be constructed in the future. However, on rare occasions I would be on site inspecting and surveying structures to determine if the existing structure is suitable for withstanding loads from the railway. Once the inspection is completed, an assessment would be carried out, a report would be written and conclusions would be made - replacement structure required/repair of existing structure etc.
What's your favourite thing about your job?
Collaboratively designing structures, issuing the design documents to the client, being able to see the completed structure with my own eyes and being able to feel some sort of satisfaction that I had input in the final structure which is most likely to stand for the next 100 years.
Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?
Please share links to relevant resources.
As most of work is related to bridges, I would suggest attempting to design a bridge.
Use free open-source software - http://bridgedesigner.org/download/ - or even design a bridge to span between surfaces using household/classroom items - in university we created a bridge out of spaghetti and super glue - similar to this https://www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/wpi_spag_act_joy or http://wiki.dtonline.org/index.php/Spaghetti_Bridge_Challenge
It was a fun learning exercise, while also teaching us about the importance of support points and good use of materials.
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