John Jo Hammill
Consultancy, Middle East
From Italy to Singapore, Canada to Qatar, John Jo has represented Mace in nearly every corner of the globe. He's currently heading the team based in Doha, working with our top clients in the Middle East on a range of high-profile projects.
- How did you get in to what you do?
- After school, I spent a year working as a trainee for a large engineering consultancy company. I then specialised in structural engineering at university and went back to the same firm after graduation. With that company I spent time living and working in various countries including Germany, Australia and the UK, before finally heading over to Italy. It was there that the opportunity to work for Mace in the Milan office arose in 2004.
- How has your career progressed during your time at Mace?
- I spent my first two years with Mace in Milan before heading back to London, though my job was always very internationally focused. A lot of my time was spent managing the construction of embassies across the world, before I headed out to Asia in 2012 to refocus our efforts across the region. I certainly spent a lot of time on planes between 2006 and 2013! In 2013, I headed for Qatar and I've been here ever since.
- What do you most enjoy about your current role?
- Delivering projects to happy clients. Working to define plans and then utilising the team, who often come from around the world with a wide range of cultural backgrounds and specialisms, to push a project forward is very rewarding.
“Working to define plans and then utilising the team, who often come from around the world with a wide range of cultural backgrounds and specialisms, to push a project forward is very rewarding.”
- What has been your favourite piece of work at Mace?
- I led the team working on the new British Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. It was a great team and a fantastic architecturally designed building by Tony Fretton that won awards, and achieved a BREEAM status of 'Excellent'. The project really showed what we could achieve and led to the same team delivering more work together.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to do what you do?
- Take the opportunities you're given, focus on doing the best you can, and come in everyday with a smile.
- What trends do you see in the construction industry in the Middle East at the moment?
- Since arriving here in 2013 I've seen the oil price go from around US$100 a barrel to less than half that. When oil prices were high, there was less consideration to the actual end usage of many of the projects during design, there was a 'build it and they will come' mentality. Now, our projects and clients must have strong business cases and as a company, it's even more important that we clearly show our clients how and where we are delivering value for them. The days of shipping in numerous expats without international experience are gone, our team needs to be established, have local knowledge and understand the market so that we can deliver successful projects for our clients.
- If you hadn't gone into this line of work, what might you have done instead?
- I would have designed and built sets for rock concerts. Of course, had my clients been rock stars I'm sure I would have grown tired of their unreasonable demands quickly!