Business Unit Director
Making the jump from Mace client, to Mace partner, and then to Mace business unit director, Andy Oldham’s evolving relationship with our business is symbolic of an industry that rewards ambition and thrives on change. Now pioneering new solutions across multiple sectors - defence, nuclear and utilities to name just a few - Andy brings global experience, passion for making a difference and thirst for diversity to his role, as Mace Consult continues to transform infrastructure delivery.
- How did you get into what you do?
When my mechanical engineering degree at Nottingham University came to an end, I was fortunate to gain a place on a graduate programme at British Nuclear Fuels Limited. This opened my eyes to so many different aspects of complex, technically challenging infrastructure projects. I made sure that I took every opportunity that came my way - from leading nuclear plant operations to building and commissioning new process plants and decommissioning old ones. It was an invaluable way to start my career and I knew even then that I wanted to make a difference.
From there I spent five years working in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and before joining Mace, spent seven years working in Abu Dhabi, on behalf of the consultancy company Atkins.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
One of the greatest things about Mace is the diversity of our work. No two days are the same. One day I will be working with my team to find new ways to embed sustainability into our work, the next I will be visiting one of our many client sites to see the impact our work is having on the ground. For me, having a diverse team that empowers and encourages each other is one of our biggest strengths, and means we can continually share knowledge and experience.
- How do you redefine the boundaries of ambition?
For two thirds of my career, I’ve actually been a Mace client. So, this has given me a first-hand view of how the company helps the people it works with to redefine the boundaries of ambition. It may sound obvious, but we have to start with service excellence, and doing the basics brilliantly. Once we’ve defined the scope of a project and laid out the approach, that’s when we stop, review, challenge and innovate. By implementing the basics well, we create more time and space to innovate where it adds most value.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace so far?
It’s a privilege to lead a business unit that covers so many significant sectors. Each one of them has the potential to help address the global challenges of our time, by taking a forward-looking approach – and that’s an approach that we live by at Mace.
For decades, Mace has been supporting clients across the infrastructure sector, so since joining the team I have taken the time to take a step back, review where we are and learn from my peers. This has been extremely valuable and has led to me delegate more to my talented team, giving them the autonomy to apply their creativity, in finding solutions to our clients’ challenges. I’m hugely proud of the team I work with on a daily basis.
- Why Mace?
The brand, the vision and the clarity of purpose. Mace is an incredible place to work. As a client I could see the culture and the talent within the teams and the impact the company was having as a purpose-led business. When the opportunity then came to join Mace, it was a chance I relished and I haven’t looked back.
- What motivates you every day?
Making a difference. Every day I challenge myself on the value I’ve added, both to my clients and to the company. It’s important to constantly look for ways to dream bigger and to leave a positive impact.
In a dynamic and fast-paced business, delivering successful outcomes for clients and constantly learning and evolving keeps me motivated.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
I’d start with leadership. I recently read a book about the two rules of leadership. Rule one – ‘it’s not about you’ and rule two – ‘it’s all about you!’ In short, being a good leader is about empowering people, putting others first while also taking the time to reflect on your own actions, skills and behaviours.
Good communication is also vital, both internally with colleagues, peers and leaders, as well as externally with clients and stakeholders. It also helps to be very organised, and in a data-driven world it’s important to be able to use data to support quick decision-making.
Finally, two behaviours that are very important to me are integrity (always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking – that’s my definition) and trust – both being trusting and trustworthy.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to do what you do?
If there’s a fork in the road, take the harder option. It might mean getting out of your comfort zone, but by taking the risk you might be surprised by what happens.
- If you hadn't got into this line of work, what do you think you might be doing?
I always wanted to be a fast jet pilot – and I still do! However, working with the defence sector has definitely softened that blow.
“Mace is an incredible place to work. As a client I could see the culture and the talent within the teams and the impact the company was having as a purpose-led business. When the opportunity then came to join Mace, it was a chance I relished and I haven’t looked back.”