Role: Associate Director
Career Area: Research, Modelling and Analysis
My role at SYSTRA
My day-to-day work involves the management of the Data, Modelling and Analytics team in Ireland. We work on a variety of transport modelling and appraisal projects across Ireland and the UK.
My day-to-day role includes project management or Project Director responsibilities on transport strategy development, scheme design, appraisal and impact assessment for some of the highest profile transport projects in Ireland.
My career journey
After completing my Civil Engineering Degree, I spent almost 4 years at WSP in Ireland working on transport strategies, modelling and traffic engineering projects.
During the financial downturn and recession in Ireland, I moved to Australia and spent a couple of years with a local authority in Melbourne in their Traffic Engineering team. I joined SYSTRA (MVA at the time) in 2013 and have been here ever since (apart from a 2-year spell on the client side in the National Transport Authority).
We asked Paul…
When did you realise this was the career path for you?
I really enjoyed the transport modules that formed part of my Civil Engineering degree. I liked the fact that good transport system design could really influence a population’s quality of life and the enjoyment of a city.
Have you got any words of wisdom for someone starting out in a similar role?
Try and get a broad range of experience in the early stages of your career by getting involved in as many different types of projects and tasks from the start. You never know what you will learn and how it will shape your future career prospects!
How does SYSTRA stand out from the rest as a Great Place to Work?
The sector structure in SYSTRA means that we are not constrained by our geographical location. We get to work with teams all across the UK, Ireland and beyond.
With such power in diversity, what unique perspective do you bring to the table?
My unique perspective stems from the notion that diversity encompasses not only visible differences, but also the richness of varied life experiences, backgrounds and viewpoints. I like to think I personally bring to the table a blend of knowledge and insights derived from a wide range of experiences working with multi-disciplinary teams that all have different viewpoints.
Where is the place that has inspired you the most?
Barcelona or Paris. I love the permeability and connectivity in these cities. The grid structure in Barcelona is particularly inspiring as an approach to high density urban planning.
What does true sustainability really mean to you?
True sustainability for me should be a holistic approach that seeks to harmonise environmental, social and economic aspects, with the ultimate goal of leaving a better world for future generations.
What would a green future look like?
In a green future we’d see cities designed for people and nature, with green spaces, efficient public transportation and reduced pollution. It would involve a shift towards renewable and clean energy sources, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.
How do you look after your wellbeing outside of work?
For me, it’s essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I like to spend time with my family and friends, playing golf or going for a run or hike in the mountains.
If you could spend your lunchbreak with someone you really admire, who would you choose?
It’s a difficult choice, but I would probably choose Rory McIlroy. He is an exceptional golfer who has achieved remarkable success on the international golfing stage, and he is of course from Ireland! I would be eager to discuss Rory’s journey in golf, and the mental aspects of competing at the highest level in a sport as challenging as golf. I’d also love to hear about his experiences in major tournaments, his approach to handling pressure, and his perspectives on the future of golf and sports in general.
If you had to pick, which mode of transport would you use for the rest of your life?
I would probably choose an e-bike. E-bikes offer a perfect blend of efficiency, sustainability and personal mobility.