Experienced People

Ian Parker

Director of Highways

Consultancy, UK

From a young age Ian was clear what he wanted to do and he has achieved his ambitions. From watching the construction of a new motorway as a teenager, Ian is now leading Mace’s highways business. He has big plans for his specialism and is on the right road to drive innovation in this sector.

How did you get in to what you do?

I studied civil engineering at uni and began my career on nuclear power and highway projects in the north west and London. I then joined an engineering consultant to gain the design experience needed to become a chartered engineer, and spent several years designing roads and bridges.

About eight years after graduating I began a master’s degree in business administration, studying part time while also running a highways consultancy business in the west Midlands. Using knowledge gained from my MBA, I moved into marketing and eventually became marketing director for a company providing technical assistance and management systems to road organisations and government departments in Slovakia, Macedonia and the Russian Republics. I then moved to an engineering consultancy business as their marketing director.

How has your career progressed since joining Mace?

I joined Mace in 2003 as marketing and communications director. During that time we won the Olympics bid and grew the infrastructure business in a number of new sectors. I was quite busy really! I left in 2006 to do a similar role for another company and re-joined Mace in 2011 as global services director. When we identified an opportunity in UK highways, I agreed to a secondment into the Highways Agency to act as project director for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme in 2012.

Since then I’ve acted as programme director for Highways England’s £3.5bn smart motorways programme, and more recently for its £6.5bn regional investment programme.

What is your proudest achievement at Mace?

From my earlier days at Mace it would be leading the bid for the London 2012 Delivery Partner contract, which has to be Mace’s best job ever in my opinion. It was fantastic to win something so big that would go on to have such an impact on so many lives.

More recently, it has to be the A14 improvement programme. It was Highways England’s flagship project and was being delivered to a very challenging timeline in which funding demanded that the scheme would be on site by 2016 - which it is. We got the project through the development consent phase faster than it’d ever been done before, despite it being the biggest Highways England project.

What do you hope you will be doing in the next five years?
We’ve grown Mace’s highways business from nothing in four years. We’ve been really successful but I want us to be the best in the business so that’s what I hope I’ll be doing in the next five years. I think we could deliver highways capital projects better. The future is exciting because the government has recognised that to aid economic growth, there is a need for better highways infrastructure and it is prepared to invest in it.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I have four kids and they range from seven to 22 years of age. We do a lot as a family and we’re all pretty active. We spend a lot of time in the Alps – skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer - and one of my sons is in the Welsh gymnastics squad so I do what I can to support him – he’s fantastic at it.

“We’ve grown Mace’s highways business from nothing in four years. We’ve been really successful but I want us to be the best in the business.”