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Member of the Month
Katherine Moynihan ICTTech MIHE
- Monday October 18, 2021
Transport Planner – Jacobs
What inspired you to become an engineer?
It was by complete chance that I discovered this position – I was working as a waitress at a local hotel where Jacobs was having a Christmas party, and after some research into what they did I decided it sounded like an opportunity for me! Before graduating with my town planning degree, I undertook a summer placement with the Transport Planning and Traffic Engineering Team at Jacobs in Shrewsbury, which I very much enjoyed.
Why did you choose highways and is there anything you would change about the industry?
The highway industry provides a fast-paced environment that offers a variety of challenges and opportunities to develop my career. There is a variety of career opportunities within the industry. I would like to see more diversity in senior positions and more opportunities to learn directly from senior management.
What made you join the IHE?
I joined the IHE as an Affiliate Member in 2018. I found it best reflected my professional interests, and with most of my team being members of the IHE and active members of the Merica Branch (West Midlands), it felt like a natural progression.
Has professional registration benefited your career and your employer?
Registration has allowed me to meet highways professionals from a variety of different companies and make new friends. I was also able to attend the IHE Merica Branch 2019 Awards in Birmingham, which was a fun evening, and myself and a colleague won a highly commended Safety and Innovation Project of the Year Safety Week 2018. Professional registration also broadens the type of work I am eligible to undertake and has increased my confidence to approach new tasks. It provides me with resources to work towards my goal of chartership.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Make sure you maintain logs of all your CPD activity and particularly interesting or challenging projects you have worked on. This will allow you to save a lot of time when it comes to finalising your submission.
Please describe your role.
I’m a transport planner in Jacobs’ Shrewsbury office. My role involves using a variety of modelling software and currently I’m focusing on development control work for Worcestershire County Council. I enjoy the variety my role provides and the people I work with day to day are great.
Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical working day starts with a morning briefing call. This provides a great opportunity to continue catching up virtually with my team, where pre-COVID-19 I would have been sat next to them. For the last 18 months, I have been working on a local authority framework contract. My role requires me to respond to all major planning applications, acting as the highway authority. This involves reviewing all planning documents, modelling and associated drawings (site plans, visibility splays, vehicle tracking), and attending client and developer meetings. I then provide my comments acting as the local authority client. I really enjoy working alongside the local authority, and the different transport professionals in my team at Jacobs and beyond.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your work?
Transport planning is a broad discipline that requires a variety of skills and involves staying up to date with policy, technical standards, software and different scales of modelling. This ensures the job never gets boring.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I most enjoy the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects in different regions. My team are particularly great people so that’s also a bonus.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
I gained ICTTech professional registration in July. I was the first person in my company to achieve ICTTech with the IHE, which I am very proud of. I currently sit on the inaugural Junior Leadership Team at Jacobs, representing my team. This has allowed me to directly interact with senior management and provides a unique opportunity to both learn from them and reverse mentor them.
What do you consider the biggest challenges facing the highways and transportation industry?
As a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador I believe that one of the main challenges facing our industry is ensuring our industry makes STEM more appealing to young students. I particularly believe this is critical for females, as less than 13% of the current STEM workforce in the UK is female. Likewise, with around 55% of the world’s population living in
cities, it is crucial to rethink how cities look and work. Jacobs is well placed to be at the forefront of this, adapting to new markets as clients face new challenges. However, with the increasing focus on digital solutions the challenge of maintaining cyber security is critical. One of the greatest challenges facing the industry right now is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. With shifting work
patterns, restricted data collection on site and decreased face-to-face contact, it is critical to respond in innovative and pragmatic ways.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years or what are your future ambitions?
Within the next five years I hope to have completed my IEng and have been promoted to a senior transport planner.
Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I’m a STEM Ambassador, Positive Mental Health Champion at work, and sit on the Junior Leadership Team within my business unit in Jacobs. In addition to this, I have assisted graduates with completingtheir Graduate Development Programme at Jacobs.
Is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy any opportunity to be outdoors and exploring new places. I’m a keen traveller and hope to resume my international travels once restrictions allow. I am an animal lover as well. I spend a lot of my time walking my friend’s golden retriever, Chester, who I think is the best dog in the world.