Career Area: Engineering Design
My role at SYSTRA
As an Associate in the Development and Infrastructure team at SYSTRA, I contribute significantly to the growth of our Design work in Ireland.
My role is quite varied – I can be doing anything from project work (designing or checking) and project management, to tendering for future projects, resourcing, and undertaking the role of Line Manager.
My career journey
When I finished my Engineering Degree in Valencia, I began working for a local consultancy firm. I was involved in residential and industrial development projects, from feasibility to detailed design and site supervision.
In 2008, I decided to move to Ireland. I found a job with WSP in Dublin until the economic crisis hit us all. After that, I worked part-time for two years in a small consultancy company.
My journey at SYSTRA began in 2014, when I joined as a Senior Consultant. My role was as a Transport Planner, working on various types of projects such as development planning, local area plans, masterplans and small design projects. Our Dublin office has developed a robust Design team in the last two years, and I am very proud of our infrastructure and active travel projects.
We asked Arantxa…
When did you realise this was the career path for you?
When I was a child I wanted to be an Architect. I enjoyed drawing houses, buildings, villages, parks and streets, amongst other things. I had no idea that an Engineer could also work on the urban environment.
I changed my mind after I attended talks in secondary school about prospective jobs. I realised what a Civil Engineer might do, and I knew that was the path I wanted to follow!
Have you got any words of wisdom for someone starting out in a similar role?
I think it is important to be confident in what you know and to believe that you are capable of completing any assignment, no matter how challenging it is.
It is, however, necessary to remain modest. Listen to others, learn from them and accept your limitations. When in need, ask for assistance and provide it to others too – cooperation and team work are essential.
How does SYSTRA stand out from the rest as a Great Place to Work?
I love the variety of backgrounds here. Working with colleagues outside of Engineering has shown me different perspectives and allowed me to grow in many ways. The people at SYSTRA are its best asset. It is a pleasure for me to work with all my colleagues.
I think SYSTRA offers a broad range of projects; opportunities for junior staff to decide on their career path; training; wellbeing support; and most importantly, flexibility for parents and carers. Family conciliation is very important in reducing stress and anxiety.
With such power in diversity, what unique perspective do you bring to the table?
I have more than 20 years of experience working on projects in Spain, Ireland and the UK. I have been working on transport strategy projects and detailed design projects for many years. I am capable of demonstrating international experience, sharing skills gained from working on a large variety of projects, and offering a female perspective.
Where is the place that has inspired you the most?
I lived in Valencia for 12 years. I enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle, its parks and the cycle infrastructure (off-road!) there. In recent years, Valencia has improved even more with, for example, the pedestrianisation of a section of La Plaça de l’Ajuntament – something that 15 years ago was totally off the table!
What does true sustainability really mean to you?
On an individual level, it seems very obvious to me that we need to follow the three R’s: reduce consumption, reuse what we already have produced and recycle. We should make an effort to leave the smallest trace we can, if that’s even possible.
What would a green future look like?
When I think about a green future, I envisage living simply as our grandparents did. This transformation would require giving up our current way of life. Most essentially, we must re-establish our connection with nature.
How do you look after your wellbeing outside of work?
I cook at home as much as possible. I think fresh food cooked with olive oil is absolutely necessary for good health! I also try to get my 8 hours of sleep and make sure to exercise every day if I can.
If you could spend your lunchbreak with someone you really admire, who would you choose?
That is a difficult question to answer. Any of my family, friends or colleagues would make excellent company. Maybe I’d pick one of my old friends I haven’t seen in years, but it would take a lengthy lunch break to catch up!
If you had to pick, which mode of transport would you use for the rest of your life?
I would choose the train. It’s comfortable and you can read, relax or gaze out of the window throughout your journey!