I have always wanted to work in an industry where I could make the world a safer, better, and more sustainable place. During my degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and master's in Mechanical Engineering, I learned that engineering is an industry with unlimited opportunities for positive change. Just because something has worked in the past, does not mean that we cannot find a better way of doing it in the future. That, to me, is exciting.
Showing clients the path to a sustainable future
Now, as an Assistant Engineer and the Future Ready Lead for the Industry Discipline, I show clients the path to a better future, one that is sustainable, performance-driven, and cost and time-efficient. Our projects are like puzzles with missing pieces for us to find. However, the difference is that these pieces can be any shape we envision.
To bring clients along the journey, we help them understand the “why.” We are honest about where they are on the road to net zero by 2050 and show the steps to get them where they want to be. We are all human. So, it can be reassuring to see examples of how other clients benefited from our work in the past.
Often the most sustainable option is optimising the equipment that businesses already have. By addressing inefficiencies, we saved a pharmaceutical client time, money, and resources, helping them achieve their net-zero goal for 2030. We also worked with a beauty product manufacturer who was set to install steam boilers (outdated systems) into a new extension. Through our collaborative approach, they swapped the steam boilers for ‘hydrogen-ready’ boilers and installed solar panels on the roof.
Mindset is the biggest opportunity for significant change
Mindset is the biggest challenge to overcome, but the biggest opportunity for significant change. Mindset is particularly important with clients who may have had the same processes for years. You can have all the latest innovations in technology, but these will only make a difference if the team is driven to improve their sustainability performance.
Education and technology are other key factors. Developing the skills in existing teams and bringing in younger generations can create cycles of innovation. We should also look to bring on people from fossil fuel sectors like oil, gas, and mining – people with transferable skills that you can apply to sustainable initiatives. Utilising technology for autonomations will also drive efficiency with the tasks we do not need to do, giving us more time to do the important tasks.
Nurturing a sense of belonging at work
I believe that if you invest in people, they will invest in everything else. I am part of the WSP National Professional Growth Network committee, which focuses on facilitating personal and professional growth within the business. I am also the acting chair of the W,E&I People Forum, a group that nurtures a sense of belonging and ensures everyone feels like they can be themselves at work. Although we are a global company, a family feel has helped drive many things we do as a business.
I am not perfect, and I still have so much to learn – even if that is learning from someone else in the business regardless of who they are, how old they are, and what football team they support. I believe that fun and enjoyment are equally important as the work itself. You have to enjoy what you do; otherwise, it will show. People, in my opinion, are at the forefront of the most significant part of any business.
Contributing to the industry
Daniel has been recognised for his accomplishments to date by being shortlisted for the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) Young Ambassador Award (2022). This Award recognises an outstanding young person demonstrating communication skills and leadership associated with the chemical industry and contributing to its success. He has also been shortlisted and highly commended for the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Graduate of the Year Award (2022). This award looks for nominees who have made significant contributions to the engineering construction industry and their own organisation; demonstrating commitment to their own personal development and progression; and displaying true inspirational qualities.