Angus MacGregor - Business Development Manager and Geotechnical Engineer - BAM Ritchies

Issued: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 09:11:00 BST

Tell us a fun fact about yourself

I have been over six foot tall since I was in Primary 6

Tell us about your career journey so far

I stayed at school to S6 taking Highers and O Level subjects which I enjoyed most.

I applied to university to study Civil Engineering, and also applied to be an apprentice draughtsperson (Civil Engineering Technician).  I was accepted for both and then had to choose;  a university degree was a bit of a stretch for me at the time as my Higher exam results were not quite good enough.  University route involved moving 180 miles to Glasgow; the apprentice route involved staying at home.

After much deliberation I chose to go to university and changed degree slightly after 1st year to study Civil Engineering with Geology.  I stayed on at university for five years to attain a Masters Degree.  Part of my final year was spent studying in Newfoundland, Canada.

Throughout university study I took on holiday jobs.  In the long summer holidays (18 weeks or so) I worked in roles in civil engineering as a trainee civil engineer.  In the short term holidays I worked as fencer (building farm fences) and a joiner’s mate building timber kit houses.

Before graduation I applied for around 40 graduate civil engineer jobs.  I had three interviews and all resulted in a job offer.  I’m employed by one of the companies who interviewed me and we work for the other two too, so I still see the people who interviewed me 22 years later.

I have worked across Scotland, the rest of UK, Europe and Internationally.  Highlights include Shetland, Isle of Lewis, Isle of Eigg, Isle of Muck, Bangladesh, Netherlands, and Poland.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Technical Drawing (now called Graphic Communication); at the time this subject involved working with paper and pencil to draw exact scaled drawings of engineering objects in different views.

I liked the peace and quiet of the drawing class and the precision required to get the drawing looking right.

What subjects/qualifications are useful for your role?

From School : any subject that promotes communication and team working.  I use English every day and expressive skills nurtured in Art, Music and Graphics; I always need my foundation in Maths, Physics, Geography, Technological Studies, Technical Drawing/Graphic Communication, Technological Studies for problem solving, reporting and understanding/measuring the physical world.

I continue to attend training across the professional spectrum as we live in the era of life long learning.

What is a normal day in your role like?

0600 Wake up

0610 to 0800 personal exercise or travelling to place of work (I enjoy cycling) and breakfast

0820 Switch on computer

0830 to 1000 Meetings, telephone calls or working on digital media/spreadsheet/concept design

1000 to 1010 Cup of tea time

1010 to 1230 Meetings, telephone calls or working on digital media/spreadsheet/concept design

1230 to 1300 lunchtime

1300 to 1600 Meetings, telephone calls or working on digital media/spreadsheet/concept design

1600 to 1610 Cup of tea time

1610 to 1730 Meetings, telephone calls or working on digital media/spreadsheet/concept design

1730 t0 1800 personal exercise or travelling home from place of work

1800 to 1945 dinner time

1945 to 2200 personal time

2230 bed time

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I enjoy being helpful.

Variety in working locations.

Meeting new people.

Teaching others what I have learned during my career.

Constantly learning from others to widen my understanding of the world

Problem solving using the skills I have learned.

Building teams of people and nurturing them through the project challenges they face.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work? 

Go outside with a small trowel and a bucket.  Wearing gloves dig a hole in the ground to just below the topsoil.  Dig a wee bit further putting this material (which is a different type of soil) in your bucket (two scoops will do).  Take the sample you have and spread it out on a flat surface.  Then squish it between your fingers and write down what you see and feel.  Things to record are strength (squishyness), colour and what different things you can see in this material.  This is one on the jobs that geotechnical engineers do.

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