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Member of the Month
Richard Harman IEng FIHE
- Tuesday April 21, 2020
Richard (pictured right) is the engineering services lead for Berrys – a land, property and planning consultancy. His work involves supporting the delivery of developments, both through the planning process and for the back-end design of new highway and drainage infrastructure.
What inspired you to become an engineer?
My father is a mechanical engineer and during my childhood I always took interest in his job designing and building car production lines; I always remember thinking how cool it was that my dad worked with robots. I originally wanted to go into automotive or motorsport engineering, but it was my father who encouraged me to pursue a career in civil engineering due to the stability of the industry. Seventeen years on I still have no regrets and am thankful for his good advice.
Can you describe a typical working day?
The day will normally start off with dealing with a few emails and updating clients on project progress, as well as talking through the workload priorities with the team. I’ll then focus on my own project work, which could be anything from writing a transport statement, designing a new access road, through to carrying out flood risk assessments and designing SuDS and foul drainage schemes. Our workload is very varied, so we have to be adaptable.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Given we’re a smaller consultancy, we have to carry out many roles. As the service lead I am responsible for managing the team finances and invoicing, writing project scopes, meeting potential clients as well as looking after our existing clients, managing compliance and welfare and finding the time to actually deliver projects.
Tell us about a professional achievement
I previously worked at WSP on the Shropshire Council term contract and during that time I was the design lead for a large package of public realm enhancement schemes in Shrewsbury town centre, including the main pedestrianised shopping street, Pride Hill. We’d completed the design of the package prior to my move to Berrys and the schemes are still being built today. It’s satisfying to see my previous work coming to fruition in my home town.
Why did you join the IHE?
I’ve spent much of my career working in road safety and traffic engineering, which I feel are very well represented by the IHE. Previously I’d been a member of both the ICE and the CIHT, but I didn’t feel our area of the industry was as well represented by the other organisations. So I joined the IHE in 2008 with a view to working towards Incorporated Engineer status via the individual route, which I eventually completed in 2018.
In what ways has registration benefited your career?
I’ve been able to move from a senior engineer position to where I am now – responsible for starting and growing a new engineering service. My move to Berrys would not have been possible without being registered.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
It’s easy to get in the mindset that you have a mountain to climb when starting out, but it’s not as much work as you think. I’d urge people to get in touch with their local IHE branch and/or the main IHE team for advice, as there’s a lot of help out there. Once you start work on your submission, it really does start to feel much more straightforward.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I spend a lot of time out walking with my wife, Hannah, and our dog, Betty. Music plays a big part in my life and I’ve been a DJ since my teenage years. I play a number of venues around Shrewsbury. The biggest draw on my time is probably my involvement in motor racing, as my childhood best friend James and I race together with the Classic Sports Car Club. We both have cars we’ve self-prepared and we do a handful events each year and have even raced at SpaFrancorchamps, which was a huge ‘pinch me’ moment for both of us.
Do you participate in any other careerrelated activities, such as mentoring or volunteering?
I’m presently the chair of the IHE Mercia Branch so I’m actively involved with arranging CPD events and our annual awards evening in the West Midlands. I also mentor a number of people for IEng. I’ve previously been a STEM Ambassador and have worked with quite a few schools around Shropshire to offer careers advice and to inspire our next generation of young engineers, but unfortunately, I struggle to find the time for this at present. I also enjoy speaking at conferences to deliver training to other professionals