05 June 2024

AECOM highlights how engineering impacts on everyday life. This is Part 3 of a three-part series.

Xanthe Adams, Associate Engineer, AECOM

Xanthe joined AECOM a few years ago, with 20 years of industry experience under her belt. She adds it is not difficult to remain passionate about engineering. “It gets better because you see more and more of the overall picture. You are not just stuck in the details; you get to see the overall effect.”

She adds: “The main thing about engineering is how it contributes to society, while a related aspect is simply how much I enjoy it all, from the software to the maths and problem solving.” In addition, there is plenty of scope for exposure to international projects and different cultures and ways of working.

“That is the cherry on the cake and a major focus for AECOM,” stresses Xanthe. “You also see the youngsters come in as well under you, and you are able to pass some of your learning onto them. Mentoring is crucial, especially as so many engineering fields are highly specialised.”

Xanthe says the INWED 2024 theme of #EnhancedByEngineering reflects how engineering “is absolutely critical to keeping the wheels running of everything. It is ubiquitous to the point of being unnoticeable. There is so much that you do in your daily life that is affected by engineering.”

A side effect is that it sometimes tends to get taken for granted, including the engineers who toil behind the scenes. “This is why events like INWED are actually quite important to promote engineers and their contribution.”

Xanthe’s message to young girls is simple: “Do not be intimidated. There will be great people who will support you and mentor you. The odds are in your favour. I have been on-site as the only woman among 800 men, and it was actually fine. Most of the men were absolutely lovely.”

It also speaks to the ethos of AECOM because the company is deeply invested in diversity and inclusivity and assisting young graduates. “As an industry, you obviously have to have a future pipeline of skilled engineers. You must start somewhere by nurturing talent,” concludes Xanthe.

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