Hi! My name is Panos Zafeiropoulos and I am a Civil Engineer with 12+ years of experience.
Describe your profession to a 6-year-old child.
I help build things to make life easier.
What is the most common thing people say when they find out what you do?
“That’s sounds like a lot of work”.
What is the one thing they don’t ask but you would like them to?
What is like to do this job? Many people don’t understand the nature of this job.
What is the biggest misconception you/others have had about your profession?
Most people think that I do an architect’s job and I can design their future house.
What is the one thing you are most proud of about your job?
Getting involved with projects not many people have the opportunity to do so. Being part of delivering projects that will impact positively future generations.
Name the three things that require most of your attention each week.
Health and Safety: to make sure that everyone is working as they should in a safe environment, minimising any risks.
Quality: to make sure that all work is done according to the procedures and that we are delivering what has been contractually agreed.
Programming: to identify the sequence of works, investigate if there are any blockages, coordinate materials deliveries, coordinate the teams, identify delays, plan ahead for the next phase of works.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be successful in your profession?
Be curious, be open-minded, take risks. Always invest in your knowledge and education around the profession and keep up to date with the new technology in the industry. Don’t ever stop learning and pay attention to the smallest detail. And the most important, keep proper records.
What are the key leadership skills required to do your job well?
Be strategic, communicate clearly, develop people, listen actively, think critically.
I would also include: building relationships, creating accountability, managing time and priorities. The reason I chose these is because of the multicultural background of the construction industry. There are many different people with diverse characters, backgrounds, and knowledge, all of which make day-to-day operations difficult.
Applying the above skills, from what I have seen in practice, makes the job of a Civil Engineer easier; not just for the leader but for the whole team and the surrounding teams that you might need to work with. Personally, I support the method of observation and listening. Observe the people you work with, how they work, what they find hard to carry out on a daily basis. Then one should listen to these people, listen to their problems, ideas, provide solutions, allow them to be accountable for a number of activities, make them feel involved and invested in your team, and develop the members of the team.
If you think of successful leaders in your space, what are their leadership qualities you admire?
Curiosity, decisiveness, humility, open-mindedness, willingness to listen.
How would you like your profession to look in 10 years?
The construction/engineering industry after many years of being in stasis (when it comes to development) has entered the digital world with great potential. Research is done on the use of AI in the industry which will make the work more efficient. With regards to management, new systems have been introduced slowly with positive results. A change in the management system will bring a positive change to how the work is done and this is why I believe the next decade will bring big changes to many sectors of the construction industry.
Describe how your job can contribute to making the world a better place.
I was involved in the construction of a new Nuclear Energy power plant, which is considered one of the cleanest types of energy on this planet. The project is still ongoing but, once completed, it will provide electricity to millions of houses for the next 60-70 years with minimal impact to the environment. This new project has provided the green light for the construction of similar power plants around the country, which will environmentally minimise the carbon footprint. It is the answer to climate change as of right now.
I am a dedicated and creative person with a Civil Engineering Surveyor degree, and strong practical and technical skills, and range of experience within the construction industry of high value projects. In every role and project I have been involved as a Civil Engineer, I had the opportunity to improve standards, processes and procedures, adding value to each business, department and team I have worked with.
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