A passion for exploring new cultures, a fluency in Spanish, and an outstanding experience in delivering complex global infrastructure programmes makes Oli Conde the ideal candidate to lead our growth aspirations in Latin America. Following his key role on the Lima 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games, Oli is an integral part of the UK Delivery Team working with the Authority for Reconstruction with Changes to provide critical infrastructure across Peru.
- How did you get into what you do?
- Sometimes I think my career has been a series of happy accidents. I worked for a restaurant investment company after leaving university but wanted to work abroad, so I joined the civil service with the aim of getting into the Foreign Office. My first job as a civil servant was for the Government Olympic Executive in 2008, from where I was seconded to establish what was then called the Olympic Park Legacy Company – now the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). It was initially a fixed-term secondment, but they asked me to carry on working in the legacy team, and six months turned into six years. During my time at LLDC I met a lot of Mace people who encouraged me to move back into the private sector, which I did in early 2015.
- How has your career progressed since joining Mace?
When I first joined Mace in 2015, I worked in the strategic pursuits team, which focuses on business development. That gave me valuable insight into the workings and perspectives across the different business sectors and units. Having developed my skills in the nuclear sector, as part of the Horizon Nuclear Power team, the opportunity to go to Lima came up and I was appointed Deputy Delivery Lead for Infrastructure on the Lima 2019 Games. This paved the way for further business development work in Latin America.
In the summer of 2020, Mace and our JV partners won a G2G agreement with the Government of Peru to support the reconstruction, construction and enhancement of infrastructure damaged by El Niño in 2017. As Mace’s regional manager for Latin America, I was thrilled to be appointed the UK Delivery Team Joint Venture Spokesperson on the project. I’m leading our business development across Latin America with a focus on Peru as our base.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
- The mix of project-based work and strategic business development is perfect. Being involved day-to-day in delivering complex projects, solving client challenges and seeing the legacy from the work we have done in Latin America is a huge incentive. We witness first-hand the difference our international best practice and local expertise brings to a region, and the value to society involved in projects such as the Lima 2019 games and the G2G reconstruction programme. But none of it would be as rewarding, interesting or exciting without the people. I’ve been fortunate to work with brilliant people at Mace; people at every level who support you, give you opportunities and who you can learn from.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
- Building the relationship with Horizon Nuclear Power and growing our team into one that was fully integrated with the client to provide some very valuable work was an important staging point in my Mace career. That said, I think my proudest moment so far was the opening ceremony of the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. Seeing all the hard work come to life was amazing for everyone involved in the project.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
- I’d say, find your niche and run with it. Most importantly, enjoy whatever you do! I took a non-traditional career route. I did a history degree and have never had what people might think of as a typical construction or infrastructure project role. But that’s because, at a company like Mace, there are so many opportunities across such a wide range of projects and services.
- What do you hope you will be doing in the next 5-10 years?
- I hope that we will continue to expand our business in Latin America. It’s a high-growth region that’s got so much potential, and a population hungry for improvements to the way cities and communities function. With our experience in delivering complex projects and global best practice from shaping cities and build sustainable communities, we’re perfectly placed to help transform infrastructure in developing parts of the world.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- I love travelling so much that I went from London to Japan without getting on a plane. My trip took me via Belgium, Russia, North Korea and China. It was a life-affirming, if rather long, way to get there.
“With our experience in delivering complex projects and global best practice from shaping cities and build sustainable communities, we’re perfectly placed to help transform infrastructure in developing parts of the world.”