I am a lead design engineer with 4site, the providers of innovative engineering solutions for major infrastructural developments in telecommunications. The 4site team adapt technology, tools and processes to deliver reliable and future-proofed turnkey services for clients across Ireland, the UK and further afield. In my role, I cover all aspects of the initial design phase from determining and developing the most suitable construction and engineering methods of a project, to the detailed design of all components used to complete it.
The majority of employees are based in Limerick, apart from the survey and build teams that work throughout Ireland, the UK and across Europe. The team are a highly skilled and educated workforce that love to keep up with technology and staying at the forefront of trends and developments.
We have an internal Innovation Forum at 4site and, as the Chair, I am responsible for the innovation successes including the implementation of new programs and procedures that will increase team engagement, cohesiveness and overall productivity. These range from introducing new software and development tools, to new ways of working, to overseeing the company wide diversification strategy.
Has your opinion of STEM changed since you were a teenager?
Very much so! The experience I have picked up along the way has been invaluable as it has not only opened my eyes to see that my problem-solving skills are highly matched and suited to STEM but it has also provided a new lens to understand the world that I didn’t experience while studying engineering.
Regular tasks in work are now easier to navigate: requesting budgets, managing expenses on construction projects, using data to drive decision making, and communicating with co-workers. Engineering fundamentals helped me contribute more to my organisation, during meetings, and in general communications—it helped me do better work and stand out in my field.
In your opinion, what is the biggest myth about STEM careers?
The biggest myth is that STEM careers are dull and boring alongside the misconception that they are too difficult. Three years ago, I knew very little about the telecommunications industry and this particular branch of engineering – several design and development projects later, I’ve been promoted and I am a trusted adviser overseeing the design of multiple towns/cities at the same time.
Describe an interesting day in your current position.
What’s interesting about my job is that every day is different. A new challenge can present itself almost daily, which means I am constantly learning something new. I thrive on this and it keeps me highly interested in the work I do.
What do you love about your current role?
I love that I can see a physical, tangible product created in a very short space of time, which improves the lives of so many people and organisations. In my view, broadband will soon be as important to householders and business owners as electricity. I also love the variation of my role, that I am constantly learning, while also seeing so many innovative approaches to solve problems and improve ways of working.
Do you get to work with any new technologies?
We are among the first to get to grips with the latest emerging telecom technologies. As the chair of the Innovation Forum, I look at the new trends and emerging technologies to see how they can be adopted and implemented into our company.
What kind of other experts do you work with on a day to day basis?
Throughout a standard working day, I will engage with electrical experts from ESB, who have taught me a thing or two in the past. As well as being experts in their own field, they also have expertise in map/illustration design and data collection.
Is your current job, and the work of the wider team, making a difference in the world?
I like to think it does. As mentioned earlier, broadband and the appetite for data is comparable to electricity and its introduction.
What do you hope to achieve in the next year in your current position?
More and more automation and reducing time consuming manual tasks.
Do you feel that you fit the stereotypical description of a person in your role?
I see myself as the opposite! Before I got into this profession, my work experience involved retail and working as a sales and cafe manager. I see this as a real positive as it allows me to bring different skills and thinking to the role.
If a young person told you that they would like to get into your role, what advice would you give them?
Learn and stay up to date with the latest technologies in the market as this is a highly dynamic and competitive environment.
What do you want to see change in the industry in the next 10 years?
That everyone has access to Fibre.
What are your priorities for the year ahead in your role?
We have introduced some new workstreams via our Innovation Forum in recent months, so I plan to give that a lot of focus along with my day-to-day tasks.
Name one thing on your bucket list.
Win a contract to design and install a fibre network in Bora Bora, and being on site!
(it could potentially happen, as there was a major fibre contract in Caribbean).
What television series are you currently watching?
Game of Thrones.
What living person do you most admire, and why?
I have many, but I like to make people my role models who have done a lot for society and constantly are in pursuit of that.