Australian native Kate Flint’s passion for construction has taken her on a journey from Melbourne, to London, to Lima. Captivated by the complexity of big infrastructure schemes, Kate fine-tuned her skills on prominent projects, including the Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games, and is now leading the Mace team on the vital reconstruction of infrastructure in Peru.
- How did you get into what you do?
When I moved to London in 2004 I had grand plans for a career in film and television, building on my background as a production manager. But, when I first arrived, I had to take up temp jobs so I could pay the bills, and ended up working on the electrical fit out of the American Express headquarters in Victoria. I enjoyed the construction environment so much that I started to actively seek roles in the sector.
In 2006 I joined the fit out team on the HS1 works at St Pancras Station, and in 2008 I joined the CLM joint venture responsible for delivering the London 2012 venues. Among many benefits on that project, I got to know Mace’s people and values. Clearly, the positive impression made an impact as I joined Mace in 2012.
- How has your career progressed since joining Mace?
My first role at Mace was as an embedded member of the EDF client team at Hinkley Point C. The scale of that project, combined with the number of stakeholders and the national interest, meant that there was plenty to sink my teeth into and learn from as I developed my career.
After five years at Hinkley I took a career break, which Mace was incredibly supportive of, and, upon returning to work, I jumped at the chance to join the team in Peru, to help deliver the Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games venues. Once the project came to an end, I continued to support on the Games’ legacy plans, before becoming the programme director on Peru’s Reconstruction Programme – a collection of projects aimed at addressing some of the damage caused by the El Niño storms of 2017.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
- I genuinely look forward to going to work each and every day; the Reconstruction Programme is incredibly rewarding. The thing I enjoy most is being the person responsible for leading Mace’s fantastic team out in Peru and bringing everyone together as we work to deliver a challenging and complex programme that will have long lasting benefits for the country.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
In Peru, we’re very aware of the legacy our work will leave. It’s a high profile project, in a country where people doubted whether we could deliver what was needed in the challenging timescales. I’m pleased to say we’ve overcome that scepticism.
Through the example we set on the Lima 2019 project, in terms of procurement, contracting and delivery, and our continued efforts in this space now, we’re driving what will be long-lasting change to the way business is done in the public sector. The legacy of what we’re doing will help to unlock essential spending on infrastructure in Peru, and that feels great.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
Put your head above the parapet, don’t be concerned about taking on additional responsibilities for the greater good, and be sure to communicate what you are doing, as well as what you expect from others. You should never assume that anyone understands what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. No matter how time-pressured you feel, it’s always worth taking the time to explain.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I have a PhD in the history of Australian cinema. I wrote my Master’s thesis on buddy cop films, like Tango and Cash and Lethal Weapon, and my honours thesis was on teen films – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was an important film for me. I’m of two minds as to whether this study has been useful in my career, but it was certainly enjoyable, and the academic training has probably been useful in the long term.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
Community outreach is close to my heart and a crucial part of leaving a meaningful legacy. Unfortunately, the economic impact of Covid-19 means that charity initiatives are more important than ever. Our team is supporting community kitchens with food donations in the Villa María del Triunfo neighbourhood of Lima. I love that my job allows me to roll up my sleeves and make a difference.
“Put your head above the parapet, don't be concerned about taking on additional responsibilities for the greater good, and be sure to communicate what you are doing as well as what you expect from others”