What is your current job and where in the world are you working?
I have been employed as an Imagineer in Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) in Hong Kong for the past 13 years. WDI is the design house associated with Disney’s theme parks and resorts worldwide. I am tasked with blending creative imagination and technical knowhow for the design, development and construction of new projects at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. As the Principal Civil Engineer and Master Planner, I am specifically responsible for planning for future developments and for designing all new Civil Engineering works within the Resort. This not a small task as the Resort is continuously expanding, and currently covers 310 acres of reclaimed land on Lantau Island, with over 5,000 cast members.
Prior to this I worked for Hong Kong Airport Authority in Hong Kong, and before that as a consultant with Balfour Maunsell in Sheffield.
What is the best thing about being an engineer?
Being an Engineer, the work is interesting, varied and challenging – I have been lucky to work in many countries and on some landmark projects – this is especially the case at WDI where every project is different and highly creative. At WDI I have worked with some of the most creative and inventive minds to produce rides, attractions, hotels, and large scale themed area development projects.
Which of your projects are you are most proud of?
There aren’t too many projects that I am not proud of. I’m very proud of the Hong Kong Airport, I fly a lot and each time I pass through the airport I still class it as one of the best airports in the world. I am also very proud of the work I have done at Hong Kong Disneyland, which is highly creative and brings a lot of enjoyment to the guests – witnessing the guest reactions is still very rewarding.
What did you enjoy most about studying at Sheffield?
I enjoyed the people most of all – they were amazing! I found Sheffield to be one of the friendliest cities I have visited in the UK, and fell in love with the place. Sheffield is a great city for students, the University is central and it is so easy to get around & easy to escape to the beauty of the Peaks. The community embrace the students & actively welcomes them – an attribute that you embrace when it is your first time living away from home. I stayed in Sheffield after graduating and started work at a local consultancy, I married a fellow University graduate and we remained living in Sheffield until we left for opportunities in Hong Kong.
Do you have a funny story/anecdote about your time here?
I have a number of funny stories, but few I feel are suitable for broadcast. I do recall that in the first year I was placed as a boarder in a house because of a shortage of University accommodation that year. On arrival I discovered that this was a beautiful mansion at the edge of Walkey, owned by a doting retired couple who served me tea in the rose garden as I revised, and gave me endless amounts of Jaffa cakes. Those early student years were particularly tough! I loved the hikes into the Peak District, Mars Bar cocktails and the infamous Kitchen Sink desert at Hanrahan’s, Roger & Out at the Frog & Parrot….. and the list goes on.
What would you say to someone thinking of studying Civil & Structural Engineering here at Sheffield?
I do regularly encourage potential students to study at the University of Sheffield, and also to study Civil & Structural Engineering there. My experiences were very good and I cannot recommend it enough.