Assistant Project Manager
Focused on supporting some of the UK’s most significant defence infrastructure projects, Joe Overfield is rising through the ranks of the Mace graduate programme, helping to redefine the boundaries of ambition across the sector.
- How did you get into what you do?
From as early as I can remember I wanted to join the Army. It was why I chose to study military history at the University of Kent. However, during my studies I was sadly involved in a training accident that left me with a number of injuries. Whilst disappointed, I knew a full-time career in the military was no longer the path for me and instead, I looked to a different industry that would offer me the same fulfilment.
My dad had worked in construction and consultancy and encouraged me to do the same. I set up as self-employed to gain first-hand experience and landed my first role working on a power station in the North East. This ignited my passion for the industry and from here, I applied to the Mace graduate scheme to join the defence business unit. Nearly two years later, I’m working as an Assistant Project Manager across our major defence projects.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
Regardless of your position within the company, Mace encourages you to contribute ideas to help tackle some of the greatest challenges the world is facing. By doing so, you build trust with your clients and are empowered to deliver innovative solutions that have an impact. Knowing you're making a difference, no matter what stage you are in your career, is really fulfilling.
- How do you redefine the boundaries of ambition?
The Mace mindset is to continuously exceed client expectations. We're known for going above and beyond in leaving a lasting legacy and this is embedded in every team and every individual. Rather than making snap decisions, I take the time to pause, consider and share ideas with my colleagues about how we can work smarter and more sustainably to create better outcomes. It’s this care and attention to detail that helps us apply fresh thinking to address obstacles on projects and look beyond the boundaries of today.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace so far?
- It has to be the completion of the first project I worked on when I joined Mace, the new headquarters of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation at the Defence Medical Services Whittington in Lichfield, Staffordshire. As a new modular build, it was a pioneer project for the MOD and I supported the transformation from a shell to a fully-fitted office. Seeing the team’s hard work and effort praised by the Chief of the Defence Staff at the opening ceremony was a real career highlight.
- Why Mace?
Mace is a company that embraces military service leavers and the incredible talent and skills they bring. The Mace Military Network is very active within the business, empowering and supporting ex-forces personnel as they transition into civilian work. This shines through in the recruitment process and the culture across the business, and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to join the company.
Mace also has a really strong defence business unit, which is working on some of the most significant projects in the sector. So as part of both the graduate scheme and the defence business unit, I’m not only able to learn from the very best in the industry, but also afforded infinite opportunities to progress and grow.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Time management is absolutely essential. If you say you're going to do something, you have to respect deadlines and understand your time doesn’t just impact you, but your colleagues and clients too.
Being in a client-facing role means you have to be personable, with good communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively. My military training has really helped with this as it teaches you how to quickly form effective teams and respect others, no matter the situation.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
Understand what you are passionate about and keep an open mind about where this may lead you. Whilst I started off with the intention to join the military, I’m using the skills I continue to learn in the reserves and bringing these to a career in the defence sector. For me, this is the best of both worlds.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
No surprise but the military is my greatest passion. As a reservist, I spend most weekends on training exercises around the country. I also love a challenge and have recently completed a 20-mile march across the North York Moors with 40kg on my back in under eight hours, to raise money for the Royal British Legion. I'm now on the lookout for my next challenge.
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
- My military training and experiences at Mace have taught me the value of learning and development and if I hadn’t joined the graduate scheme, I would have pursued a career in teaching. However, it would’ve been a teaching career with some kind of outdoor capacity - as I can’t stay indoors for too long!
“As part of both the graduate scheme and the defence business unit, I’m not only able to learn from the very best in the industry, but also afforded infinite opportunities to progress and grow. ”