Richard was born and raised in the small town of Wokingham, about 40 miles south west of London. His extensive career was established through his broad education, where he first attended Reading Technical Collage obtaining his HNC (a four-year qualification). He then attained a first class honors degree in Civil Engineering from Swansea University in Wales. He is also a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Richard's career is also as broad and rich as his education. Initially starting at Tilbury Construction straight out of school, he began working for Halcrow in London upon completing his Civil Engineering degree within the special structures department. There he worked on many major projects including the Second Severn Crossing, Jubilee Line Extension and the North Sea oil rigs.
"This gave me an excellent grounding in the industry being involved in all aspects of construction from estimating, quantity surveying, setting out and managing construction activities. I spent four years with the contractor and this experience was a great foundation to build upon."
It was during this period Richard got his first taste for the Middle East, working on projects such as the Das Island seawater intakes and the original relocation of heavy industry from Sadiyaat Island in Abu Dhabi. Relocating to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 1994 as a Resident Engineer allowed him to oversee the delivery of the key infrastructure to the ADDCAP offshore supply base in Mussafah. During his time in the UAE, Richard was exposed to multiple areas of work and was able to learn from different disciplines, clients, and developments specific to the construction industry in the Middle East.
"On completion of the construction, I moved to the Halcrow design office in Dubai and worked on a variety of projects across the region before moving to the maritime department where I become department manager."
The recession led to the restructuring of the Halcrow business prior to acquisition by CH2M HILL. During this period Richard became the Managing Director for the UAE, a market that continued to be strong, before eventually being appointed as the Regional Director for Infrastructure for the Middle East and India.
Richard has faced many challenges throughout his career both at a project and at a management level, but working in the Middle East has been a challenge on its own. The development boom that has happened over the past decade has allowed many engineers the chance to work on the most unique and diverse projects found anywhere in the world.
"Multi-cultural and multi-disciple teams have to come together quickly to deliver and meet the clients expectations. This makes the region an exciting and dynamic place to work. I remember being told early in my career that a year in the Middle East was worth five years’ experience in Europe! "
The potential for the Middle East is also great. Richard mentioned how population growth and urbanization are the driving forces for the development of new communities in which the region is seeing an increase in the need of the levels of public transportation, particularly for rail, and the need to build or rebuild key infrastructure to support the growth. "Cities are growing at an increasingly fast pace in the region and the infrastructure is not keeping up."
This is most prominent in our core countries Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. "There are similar opportunities in other GCC countries such as Kuwait and Oman, but at the present time we do not have operational businesses in these locations."
The intrigue for joining Ramboll in the Middle East was based on the number of interesting and eclectic projects that many in the industry, including Richard, are not aware of. In addition to Ramboll's core values, many of which emphasize sustainability, Richard saw a lot of potential in the growth and expansion of the consultancy.
"Ramboll is a company with some unique offerings and great people, and the potential to grow and expand the business across the region was clear."
The challenges faced by Ramboll are all too common to those in the engineering industry in general, particularly within the very competitive Middle East market. Therefore, Richard outlined his hopes for improving Ramboll's standing in the region by focusing on project management, team work, and providing unique service to clients.
"In translating this to specific challenges key to me is making sure that we operate seamlessly as one company in the market and that we are all aware of, and leverage the combined capability of Ramboll."
With the promising growth of the Transportation sector, coupled with the impressive list of projects won both recently and in the past, Richard is confident that Ramboll will achieve its goals and expand its business within the next coming years.
"This is going to take great team work and taking a corporate approach to the market rather than just looking at this from a discipline, business line or geographic perspective."
In his free time, Richard enjoys spending time with his family, with two teenage boys who keep him active. "We have all taken to cycling as a hobby and you can often find us using the great tracks at Al Quodra or Nad Al Sheba. I am the one trying to stay ahead of my two boys which is becoming harder!"