Our Asia-Pacific (AP) Human Resources team has launched the MWH Young Professional (YP) Exchange Programme to help our young engineers experience working in our various offices around the world. The programme is designed to give young professionals a chance to travel the world, learn about different parts of the business, while also experiencing a different culture without putting their career on hold.
Today we catch up with Brisbane engineer, Alastair Carrigan, about his time in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He tells us about what motivated him to make the jump and much more.
Could you tell us a little about your journey at MWH, to date?
I have been working for MWH, now part of Stantec, since 2011 when I was an undergraduate mechanical engineer. For most of my career, I have either been based on-site in rural Queensland for construction/commissioning or in the office doing the design for a number of wastewater, dairy, and oil & gas projects across Australia and New Zealand. I have been fortunate enough to work in our office in Pune, India, for a project, and now I find myself working on a number of wastewater jobs here in the Cleveland office.
You’re participating in the YP Exchange at the moment, what made you want to take a leap of faith and travel halfway around the globe?
One of my goals when I first started with MWH was to move overseas with the company. I was able to do that for a short time in 2015/2016 when I worked in Dunedin, New Zealand, but I also wanted to go farther from home! I am at the perfect age where I can “drop everything” and go travel. Doing it through the company means that my professional development doesn’t suffer as a consequence. I have absolutely no regrets with my decision and doubt that I ever will!
Tell us about what you may be wanting to get out of this exchange from a personal and professional perspective?
The three main professional goals are: to develop an understanding of the intricacies of how we as a company deliver projects in different regions, to become a Professional Engineer, and to develop a larger MWH/Stantec network.
On a personal note, I have always wanted to live abroad for a few years and I enjoyed my time studying here in the USA so much that I had to come back.
What has been the funniest (or strangest) thing you’ve seen/experienced since you’ve started working in the new country?
Australian’s have adapted a peculiar version of the Queen’s English. It has been quite funny seeing the reactions of my American colleagues as they struggle to understand some of the words I use in day-to-day conversation.
Innovation is really important to us. What one thing will you take back from your experience that will help you in your current role and for your clients?
The American business has developed a very good set of standard details and specifications that would eliminate a lot of rework for new projects. Obviously a lot of these may be client or project specific, but there are still plenty of opportunities to streamline many designs. I look forward to being able to adopt some of these details and specifications in the future when I am working elsewhere in the world in order to avoid “reinventing the wheel”.
Using a six word story – how would you describe your experience?
Americans struggle to understand my name.
And finally, is there something on the bucket list that you want to see or do while you’re in the United States?
I was able to see plenty of the east coast of the United States in 2012/2013, but I never got around to seeing much of the Midwest outside of Chicago. I really want to check out some of the areas surrounding Cleveland, like Toronto, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cincinnati as well as venturing further to Milwaukee, Madison and Quebec. All I need is my licence…