Director of Sub Saharan Africa and New Business
Having been an integral part of the Mace team responsible for delivering the London 2012 Games venues and the subsequent legacy development of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Davendra has continued to expand Mace’s offering, spearheading growth in East Africa and South America, and supporting development across Asia and India.
- How did you get into what you do?
I became interested in the construction industry at a young age, as I grew up working on building sites for my family business during my summer holidays.
Years later, having established a clear career path in the sector, I was working at another construction company when I learned about the works being carried out for the London 2012 Games and I immediately knew that I wanted to be part of that unique project. I decided to make the move and had an interview with Mace's Chief Executive at the ridiculously early hour of 6am. I got a job, initially as programme manager, and two years later I was working on the Velodrome for the London 2012 Games.
- What do you enjoy most about your role at Mace?
- I’m heavily involved in the sectors that underpin our international growth aspirations, such as aviation, sports and events, and housing. It means I have the opportunity to travel across the world to meet with our international teams and clients. I’m in a privileged position to witness different cultures and ways of working and be able to share them across our global property and infrastructure business. It’s really rewarding to be able to take best practice ideas from one place, implement them in another, and see the positive influence they have. It’s what good business growth is all about.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
I spent a lot of time working on the London 2012 Olympics and the subsequent legacy development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, so everything Mace achieved – and still continues to achieve – at that site will always have a special place in my heart.
I think now, a number of years later, I’m most proud of the lessons I’ve learned from that period of my career and how I’ve transferred them to other major programmes and projects across the world.
The experience I took from London 2012 has helped me to generate new business across the globe, including in East Africa, India, East Asia and new markets such as South America. In fact, our work on the Lima 2019 Games was strongly influenced by London 2012 experience, both in terms of venue delivery and also the post-Games legacy vision.
“I’m in a privileged position to witness different cultures and ways of working and be able to share them across our global property and infrastructure business.”
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
- Remember that anything is achievable. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you never lose sight of your ambitions and have the right attitude. There will always be challenges, but you should turn those challenges into opportunities - look at the end goal and always push to better yourself.
- What do you see as the big trend for your specialism in the next five years?
I think we’ll continue to see the move towards a more collaborative way of working. Increasingly, I’m seeing clients look to us as partners in recognition of the greater value we can add through genuine joint working. And we want to sit side by side with our supply chain and clients to ensure we can influence and drive the right outcomes on all phases of the project. It avoids wasting unnecessary energy on contractual matters where teams are misaligned.
I’m looking forward to seeing what new and innovative funding mechanisms emerge over the next couple of years. Unlocking funds for major programmes and projects will continue to be one of the most significant barriers to delivering the infrastructure needed across the globe and so there will undoubtedly be substantial efforts in finding effective and sustainable funding models.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- I enjoy working closely with my local community and getting involved with charitable initiatives. A couple of years ago I was involved with an initiative to develop a large new temple and community hall and I’ve continued to support them since. I’ve played a part in some other really exciting schemes as well, including transforming an old London Underground carriage into a school library and completely revitalising a community playground in east London. Outside of this, I enjoy playing sports and regularly travel to new places, preferably near a beach!