Understanding the needs of clients from their perspective is Stephen’s specialty - having worked for both developers and contractors. With insider knowledge, a mechanical engineering background and experience from working across the globe, Stephen tackles some of Mace's most complex projects in MENA.
- How did you get into what you do?
I left university with a Higher Diploma in mechanical engineering and went straight to work at a semiconductor factory in Dublin. It wasn’t until five years later, during a career break in Australia, that I got into project management with a small developer. There was a real need for this type of expertise with the country getting ready for the Sydney Olympics so I jumped at the chance. Since then I’ve worked in Ireland on the client-side and then moved to Dubai to manage high-rise tower schemes and a fascinating museum project.
Working for a developer really opened my eyes to the way things work on the other side. Knowing how client organisations work definitely gives you an advantage – you understand their business models, challenges and learn how to work well with government entities.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Building, maintaining and harnessing relationships, without a doubt, is the most important skill. Success is built on strong relationships - they are absolutely vital. Personality-wise you need to have a good character, assertiveness and stamina.
You also need to continually challenge yourself to keep learning and developing your skills further. When I moved to Dubai I went back to university part time to complete my Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management which has been invaluable.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role?
The complexity of the project I’m working on right now - One Za’abeel. Building two towers over an active six lane carriageway is extremely challenging and really pushes us to innovate. It’s a really interesting, ground-breaking project.
- What do you like about working and living in the UAE?
Dubai is known for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to construction. It’s a really forward-thinking city that embraces technology and innovation. There are endless opportunities to work on incredible projects here.
I also love the diversity. Going to dinner parties you’re surrounded by people from all around the world - you get to experience such a range of different cultures. It’s also a fantastic place to raise kids, with lots of opportunities and it’s an incredibly safe environment.
- What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Outside of work hours my family is my number one focus; my weekends are all about spending time with them. And if I’m lucky, a couple of times a year I’ll get to play a round of golf or two.
“Dubai is known for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible when it comes to construction. There are endless opportunities to work on incredible projects here.”