ExpertiseDesign, Project management, Structural, Project Management
Becoming a chartered civil engineer
Being on the executive board at the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers
A day in my life
Dealing with a few clients in the morning, site visits or design consultations in the afternoon on active projects, and design and calculations in the early evening.
My civil engineering career highlights
Working internationally and being able to walk past structures that I have been part of their delivery. Also being able to contribute to the built environment and using that as a platform for sustainability. Getting chartered by the Institution was great in validating the work I have been doing so that was a major highlight. Being able to work along side some amazing people in the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers and being asked to be part of the Conversions with the Engineers Without Borders UK.
We asked Jonathan…
Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?
My grandfather was a civil engineer who was involved in much of the urban design of parts of his home state in Nigeria.
The most complex thing I’ve made out of Lego
I’ve done a lot of that recently with my four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. We built a robot made out of Lego attached to a Botley. A Botley is a coding robot that introduces the concept of coding for little kids.
Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…
A father, husband, colleague, and a citizen.
What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?
Solving problems. I usually wake up with ideas from the problems I go to sleep with.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
One of my favourite projects is the Lego Museum built in Denmark. Lego has been an icon for creativity and the exploration of solutions. Sustainability was a key driver for the project and it was built around those principles.
Has civil engineering helped you overcome any personal hurdles/difficulties?
I’m an introvert and I’ve struggled to work in very busy workspaces. Being an engineer has helped me find a way to carry on doing what I love while needing to have some alone time to finalise the calculations I carry out.
Work training/education and career
I went to Newcastle University for my BEng in civil and structural engineering.
I received the ICE’s Patrick Parsons Award and went to the University of Edinburgh for my master’s in structural engineering and mechanics.
I worked internationally for a number of years on large infrastructure projects, before coming back to London to set up an engineering company with a view on sustainability. I'm currently learning to design low-energy homes through passive house principles.
I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because...
It’s a role that puts you at the forefront of designing better buildings and infrastructure, which has a part to play in the current climate emergency.
What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?
The element of creativity in solutions that’s required. We don’t just follow codes, we genuinely contribute to the aesthetics of the building and how the building functions.
Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.
You must be good at maths to contribute to civil engineering. There are many roles in and around engineering that call for a range of skills, so don’t let that put you off.
I play football and am very passionate about sustainability and racial equity.