Director of Major Programmes and Rail
Davendra has spent much of his time at Mace helping to transform the Olympic Park in east London - first the venues for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and then working with the London Legacy Development Company (LLDC) to ensure the Park becomes a thriving space for the local community. He is now spearheading Mace's work in Major Programmes and Rail.
- How did you get into what you do?
- I've been interested in the construction industry from a young age as I grew up working in the summer on building sites in my family business. While I was working at another construction company I learned about the works being undertaken for the London 2012 Games and wanted to be part of this unique project. My interview was 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?
- You are completely accountable and you can be an entrepreneur. Mace gives young people the opportunity to establish a career. You get dropped in at the deep end but with plenty of support and every day is different. Mace is always striving to see how it can be different and how it can do things in a better way - it's a very inspiring company to work for.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
Personally, I would have to say that it's the Lee Valley VeloPark for the London 2012 Games, which we delivered ahead of time and under budget. Working on such an iconic structure was a big milestone in my career and probably the best project that I have ever worked on.
Team-wise it would be the transformation of the Olympic Stadium. This project has been the most complex to date on the Olympic Park and the most rewarding. There were a host of stakeholders, from West Ham Football Club and the Greater London Authority to the LLDC and the local boroughs. We also had to reschedule works around the variety of music and sporting events that are now held in the stadium. What we achieved is extraordinary.
I'm also proud of how we have grown our rail sector into one of the largest in the country – a huge achievement. It's been a lot of hard work, but really rewarding and it has given me a great opportunity to work on some really exciting projects with very different stakeholders.
“Mace is always striving to see how it can be different and how it can do things in a better way - it’s a very inspiring company to work for.”
- 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 this. There will always be challenges, but you should turn those challenges into opportunities. Look at the end goal and always push to better this.
- What do you see as the big trend for your specialism in the next five years?
- I believe the industry is moving towards a more collaborative way of working. 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. This avoids wasting unnecessary energy on contractual matters where teams are completely misaligned.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
I work closely with the local community and we recently developed a large new temple and community hall. Outside of this I enjoy playing sports and regularly travel to new places, preferably near a beach!
Davendra's profile features in our Northern Powerhouse section.