Megan Smyth – Mackenzie Construction

Megan Smyth – Mackenzie Construction

We spoke to Megan Smyth, a Senior Contracts Engineer at Mackenzie Construction, about how her decision to go into civil engineering has allowed her to work on exciting projects all around the world.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

I am 29 years old and I live with my partner in Central Scotland. I really enjoy my work, it’s extremely fast paced and pretty exhausting so at the weekends and after work I like to meet up with friends, go to the gym, dinner etc.

I keep myself pretty active and I love to go on adventures whether it be local or around the UK. I am also a pretty keen baker having grown up with my mum.

I have a bucket list of things I want to tick off before I’m 30 which has not went to plan as I was in for an emergency op a few weeks ago and then dislocated my ankle a few weeks after I was discharged. So the bucket list may need to wait till I am 40.

Can you tell us about the route you took into civil engineering?

In 2009 I joined Glasgow Caledonian University where I graduated in 2014 with a 2:1 Bsc Environmental Civil Engineering.

I joined Mott Macdonald in September 2014 as a graduate engineer, in June 2020 I became IEng qualified. I knew that after I was qualified I wanted to try my hand at something different, this is where I joined Mackenzie construction Ltd in January 2021.

I have been pretty lucky in my career so far as I have worked on projects throughout the UK and also abroad. I was heavily involved in MOD projects preparing Faslane for the arrival of the new submarines, new run way at Lossiemouth, Engineering Manager for a HS2 station as well as designing foul networks for new hospitals in Oman.

To be honest, I can’t really tell you why I went into engineering, but I have always liked to solve puzzles and understand how things work. Even to this day I get frustrated if I can’t figure out how something works.

What would your message be to young women and girls thinking about going into the industry?

I can completely understand why young woman are possibly put off by engineering especially civils. I have been lucky enough to work in a design office and in construction and honestly there is more of a challenge working in the construction industry due to the environment.

However it is a very satisfying job knowing that you are helping promote health and wellbeing within your communities that you live in.

My message to anyone wanting to get into engineering would be to follow your dreams, do not let society dictate to you what you should be doing, be bold, encourage others and most importantly be you.

What steps do you think we need to take as an industry to attract more women and build a more diverse workforce?

This is pretty difficult, in consultancy the working environment is more suitable to life changes like children as there is a more stable work pattern etc where as in construction your day never goes to plan and it’s usually longer days.

I think promoting diversity within nursery/schools and high school is a great way to do this. Whether that be fun days where kids get to build things or are taken on sites where they can get a first hand look at what happens. Opening the opportunity for summer placements or maybe engineering days in high school where businesses like Mott MacDonald or Mackenzie can present what they do.