Julian didn't get into programme management through the traditional university route. Instead he climbed the career ladder by building his experience across a number of industries, giving him a broad view of project delivery and enabling him to challenge the norms in construction.
- What did you do before you joined Mace?
I had a really varied career before I joined Mace, including growing my own small business in southern England, holding commercial positions in London and even working in Gibraltar as a client rep.
I made a connection with Mace while working on an international banking headquarters project and eventually they got in touch about working in the Middle East. After just one phone call with Mace I found myself on a plane to Dubai.
- How has your career progressed since joining Mace?
I started at Mace as a senior project manager working on a residential towers project and now I’m an operations director managing delivery teams across a number of projects for Expo 2020 in Dubai. In between, I programme managed a huge portfolio of projects for a local authority, from mosques to offices to schools to abattoirs, project managed the construction of a five star hotel and been responsible for the delivery of several major master plans for the Ashghal programme in Qatar. It’s been quite a journey.
- What do you like most about your job at Mace?
I really enjoy the diversity of projects at Expo 2020 but the best part is the excitement and passion of the client teams working towards this incredible event. Being part of creating a world expo is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
- What has been your favourite project so far?
The Dubai World Trade Centre Phase 1 where I was the project director. The team we had was first class, the team spirit was infectious, the client was pro-active and the job was set up for success. It was such a shame when the 2008 financial crash impacted its delivery. But during that period I learnt a tremendous amount about how projects were set up, managed and delivered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- What's your best advice for someone wanting to get into what you do?
You need to have passion for what you do and make sure you take the time to learn new skills along the way. There is no hard and fast route into this line of work. I came into programme management from a quantity surveying and commercial background. That previous experience has proved invaluable in my current role.
- What do you hope you will be doing in the next 5-10 years?
My goal is to continue to be part of the Expo 2020 success story and to help take the UAE business forward within the next five years. Then hopefully in 10 years time I will be thinking about implementing my retirement plan!
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I was once a keyboard player in a 90's pop band called Paragraph 5. We won battle of the bands in Portsmouth and got the chance to record a few songs which got some airplay. We ended up auditioning on a TV programme called Opportunity Knocks which I guess was the '80s version of X Factor. We even toured around the UK playing at various venues including aboard naval ships and in submarine bases. I did this all while studying to be a quantity surveyor!
“Being part of creating a world expo is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”