Work & Grow – Interview with Rahul Prasad, a Site Engineer at Fulton Hogan in Auckland, New Zealand
Today, as part of our campaign Work & Grow, we are chatting with Rahul Prasad, who fulfilled his dream of working on large infrastructure projects with the help of ConsultANZ Recruitment.
With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Auckland, Rahul started his career in residential construction but realised he wanted to be involved in projects that were more challenging and complex and which would allow him to develop professionally.
With the help of our Recruiters, he joined Fulton Hogan as a Site Engineer to help manage Auckland’s water infrastructure.
Where did your career start, and what is your journey to date?
I studied my Bachelor in Engineering (Mechanical) at AUT University in Auckland.
Coming closer to completing my degree, I worked part-time at a construction company as a site engineer for residential housing. I had worked and got my work experience hours for my degree at this company.
Upon completion, I worked for just over a year at the same company but slowly realised that the residential housing game was not for me. I was not utilising my degree to its full potential.
I always wanted to work in the infrastructure field. Not only on projects that are challenging, complex and interesting but projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives and the environment.
Joining the water industry does just that. Being able to help upgrade Auckland’s water infrastructure by providing clean drinking water to the residents, treating to a high quality and disposing of all wastewater.
What drew you to choose engineering as a career?
Engineering, to me by definition, is problem-solving.
Whether you are a civil, mechanical, aerospace, marine, computer engineer, it is all problem-solving. The respective engineers come up with ideas and designs for a solution to the problem, create a prototype, test that solution, and then implement that solution for the problem to achieve success. This is what attracted me to engineering. As an engineer, we can come up with solutions to life’s everyday problems.
What have you found to be the main difference between working for a smaller specialist sub-contractor company versus the main contractor environment?
The major difference is that help is around every corner. Having a mechanical background and joining a civil dominant company, I have had my challenges with the civil side. However, there are so many people with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that can guide and help me in my growth within the company, knowledge I can pass on to the next person.
With a degree and experience in mechanical engineering, how has the switch to a civil engineering-focused role helped grow your career?
The switch has had its challenges, but like all challenges, once you can overcome them, you can grow from them. From just the first few months, I learnt so much. I have found a new form of respect for all civil engineers and the everyday challenges/problems they overcome.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to take on a new job opportunity is no easy feat. What was the biggest challenge/s when making the transition, and how did you overcome them?
Taking a new opportunity and leaving something you have been part of for years is always hard. The hardest part is the change.
Change in your entire routine.
Change in the time you wake up.
Change in the route you drive to work
Change in different faces you see every day.
Change in the type of work you do.
Change in the time you get home.
The hardest part is always the change, but I was able to easily adjust to this. I know this is not always the case for everyone, and it does take time for some people to make that adjustment.
Was the switch into a civil engineering-focused role something you had been thinking about, or was it a decision you made once the opportunity presented itself? What was your feeling/ thought process?
It was something I was thinking about for a very long time. I knew if I could make the move to a civil dominant company with my mechanical background, I would be able to grow and excel in my career exponentially. Being able to master the mechanical and civil engineering world and having that under my belt would be absolutely priceless.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Working on projects that help Aucklanders through its drought is definitely something I am most proud of. Even though I played a small role in the mix of hundreds of other amazing people, I’d like to think my small part as a site engineer makes a difference.
What are some of your long-term goals?
I would ultimately want to stay in the water industry and become a project manager in the near future. I know that will not be an easy task, but goals are always meant to be challenging. Working on larger projects that again help people and the environment.
How did working with ConsultANZ Recruitment assist you in getting where you are today?
From the start, ConsultANZ aided and guided me in submitting my CV to briefing me for the interview process. They helped me prepare and kept me up to date in the process after the interview. Even after signing the contract, they stayed in touch and checked in on how I was finding the new role, which is something very rare.
They made everything very smooth and easy for me, and I can’t thank them enough.
What civil infrastructure projects have you worked on to date, and what have been your biggest learning from these projects?
I have worked on the Papakura WTP & the Waikato Fast 50 WTP. These are the two major plants that were built in response to Auckland’s drought. I can definitely say working on projects like these that hundreds of amazing people working in the background to make these projects a reality.
It is about teamwork, communication and the ability to work together as a client, consultant, main contractor, subcontractor and vendor that brings a high level of quality to executing projects of that magnitude.
If you could impart wisdom/ knowledge to others looking to leap into something new, what would it be?
I would say, do not be afraid of change. Do not be afraid of a challenge, and do not be afraid to ask for help.
Leaping into something new should be an exciting part of your life. As you will gain new experiences and knowledge you will grow not just in your career but as a person and in life. Speaking from experience, once you have made that change, once you have made that adjustment, you will never look back!
If you are ready to grow in your engineering career, we would like to hear from you. Simply register your CV on our website and we will be in touch shortly.
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