Colin McRae -Overhead Lines Project Engineer - Balfour Beatty Power Transmission

Issued: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 00:00:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I passed my Association of Project Managers Exam with the highest mark in the class despite being one of the youngest and the most junior member of my cohort.

Tell us about your career journey so far

I spent the first 8 years of my career working in general construction working on housing, retail, stadia and other infrastructure projects before transitioning into the Overhead lines Industry.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Physics was my favourite subject in School, as I loved seeing the practical applications of the maths, which I usually found challenging. I discovered a love for learning formulae that a hadn’t previously experienced and found the answers to the questions about space and time that I had been seeking for years. My teacher was a woman who had 2 PhD’s from Oxford and had been employed by the MOD before transitioning to teaching and she was a particular inspiration to me.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

Maths, Physics and IT skills are the ones I use most in my role. My Civil Engineering qualifications have provided my with a fundamental understanding of engineering principles I use every day.

What is a normal day in your role like?

In the morning I usually set people to work maintaining the overhead line network. Typically, my teams might be changing conductor wire, tower fittings or upgrading a foundation. I ensure they have all required tools, plant and equipment and ensure any upcoming deliveries are on schedule. We have a chat about safety, and we ensure that current topics are communicated to our teams. I then spend the morning answering emails and reporting on deliverable information to our clients and senior management. In the afternoon, I typically attend meetings about upcoming work and plan for future work. If I have time, I will visit the teams on site and check how they are getting on. I will usually conduct an audit of how they are working to ensure the quality of work and the safety practices are up to standard.

What's your favourite thing about your job?

The scenery is the best thing about my job. Regularly I work in remote and picturesque landscapes throughout Scotland. The freedom given to me by my manager is also a great thing about my job. I have proven over time that I can be trusted and left to my own devices and I love the empowering feeling this gives me.

If you're a STEM Ambassador in Scotland and want to share your story you can download the form here.