Name: John Walker
Role: Director & Electrical Design Engineer
How did you become a building services engineer?
I was interested in architecture, interiors, physics, engineering and Sound. I didn’t think I had the artistic ability for architecture and because I really enjoyed problem solving I chose engineering. I almost got a job as a sound engineer with the BBC which would have taken my life on a really different path. I started as a trainee electrical building services engineer after leaving school and studied part time eventually getting my degree with the open university.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The variety in construction keeps you interested. Every project is different and the environment keeps changing. Low carbon buildings have made our role more interesting. Buildings have also become much more technically advanced over the years. One of my other early ambitions was to have my own business and I have achieved that at Hannan Associates. I like being in medium size company because everyone has a real influence rather than being part of a large corporate machine.
Out of all the projects you’ve been involved with have you got a favourite and why?
I don’t really have any favourite projects it’s more about enjoying working in good teams. I have been fortunate to work in situations where the same team has worked together on projects spanning a number of years. The trust and understanding you build with everyone makes the challenges more enjoyable.
How has the industry changed since you first started your career?
When I first started in the industry we were drawing with pens, producing document on typewriters and communicating with the design team using letters in the post. Response times were around 1-2 weeks to get a reply to your letter. The photocopier took up an entire room in the basement and there was no internet, email or mobile phones. MS windows didn’t exist so when you switched on a computer it was just blank screen. I used write software programs for some the calculations we were doing for lighting.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Getting together with friends and family and having a laugh. Food – at home and in restaurants. Outdoor activities – walking, cycling, skiing, open water swimming. Travel – exploring the world and other cultures. Music, Cinema and Art.
If you weren’t an engineer, what would you be?
Working in a cool little bar on a beach somewhere