Education and qualifications:
PhD Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University, UK
BEng (Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University, UK
Chief Service Owner Integrated Project Solutions
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I was good at Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics at school and I was told by my parents and tutors that these are the subject combinations required to pursue a career in engineering. Shortages in energy and power supply which I experienced growing up in Nigeria inspired me to specialise in electronic and electrical engineering so that I could contribute towards fixing the problem.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
Hilti employs 30,000 people around the world, in more than 120 countries, who contribute to making construction better. Through our products, system solutions, software and services, we are our customers' best partner for productivity, safety and sustainability. Within this multinational performance-oriented work environment, I develop and continuously improve the global end-to-end (E2E) service blueprint for Integrated Project Solutions; delivering value to our customers like Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Design Optimization, Integrated Design Solutions, Support Systems, Prefabrication, Advanced Logistics, Digital to Field, Validation of Installation Data, and Digital Twining.
Can you describe a typical working day?
I have a unique and picturesque cross border commute from Switzerland where I live, to Liechtenstein, where I work. My commute mode depends on the weather forecast. On sunny days, it’s a 20-minute cycle to work, and on rainy days, it’s a 12-minute bus journey, or five minute train ride to the office.
I start at 8am with a café latte and a croissant, planning my day and responding to emails. I oversee multiple projects and I often have progress update meetings and presentations from 08:30am with stakeholders, depending on time zones. Most of my day is spent on exploring opportunities to bring innovations into our services, to create added-value for our customers. I pause for my hour-long lunch break at noon, and throughout the day I have a couple of tea/coffee/ice-cream breaks to recharge. I typically end my day at 5.30pm with a rough schedule for my next day.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Predicting the future and keeping pace with technological advancements is a challenging and thrilling aspect of my role.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The most enjoyable attributes of my job are that it is fun, collaborative, multifaceted, and market-facing. The service I am responsible for is leading the transformation of the construction and built environment industry. I work in collaboration with multidisciplinary and very diverse teams. I am continuously learning, developing and adapting as I go along which is great!
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
Thriving in a new country following my move from Nigeria to the UK at 17, graduating with First Class Honours in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, advancing straight to my PhD at 20 on a Loughborough University scholarship and achieving doctoral success at 25 while maintaining a full-time graduate engineering position in a different engineering discipline is my greatest professional achievement. Being elected to the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Council and winning awards in recognition of my contributions to engineering including the IET’s Mike Sargent Career Achievement Medal for Young Professionals and the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award in 2017 are two of the high-profile accomplishments I am very proud of.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
I was inspired by my undergraduate tutor and academic mentor, Dr James Flint who is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Fellow of the IET, to pursue professional registration. The standout benefits that also contributed to my decision are the global recognition of the status (including in my home country, Nigeria) and potential international opportunities. Remuneration benefits and the prestige of being professionally recognised by my peers were also contributory factors in my decision.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
As with most professional achievements, it feels great to have accomplished this significant career milestone. I was awarded “Chartered Engineer of the Year 2020” by the Engineering Talent Awards for excelling in my career, achieving professional registration, supporting colleagues with their own professional registration ambitions, and for inspiring others to consider a career in engineering.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
Registration demonstrates my competence and sound judgement to potential clients and project collaborators. Through my experience, I have supported colleagues to achieve professional registration.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Take it at your own pace. People have differing opinions on timescales. Take their opinions on board but ultimately, it is important that you dictate your pace, as the final decision on preparedness rests with you. Be proactive in recording experiences and gathering your evidence of professional competence. There are useful resources on the Engineering Council website to guide you through the process. Seek guidance from your peers, mentors, line managers and professional engineering institutions.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In five years I see myself returning to work following a career break to start a family, and upskilling in a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Professionally, I aspire to have delivered innovative and patented superior products; created industry leading value-adding services to our customers; and to have contributed to the personal and professional development of my colleagues.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
In my spare time, I create content for engineering engagement including presentations/talks, and educational demonstrator videos on topics in science and engineering. I am a video host at Climate Now (https://climatenow.com/), a multimedia resource on the science and economics of climate change, covering the key scientific theories underpinning our understanding of how and why the climate is changing, clean energy technologies, important research, and policies relevant to the climate crisis and the energy transition.
I am passionate about advancing society through education and the practical application of sustainable engineering. In May 2019, I participated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Build Malawi, a volunteer Women’s Engineering Expedition that involved fundraising, designing and building a new STEM Education centre for 124 students in Mangochi, Malawi in partnership with the local community. I aspire to undertake more challenging voluntary projects that promote engineering for international development.
I am an IET Volunteer, responsible for communicating my passion for and contributions to engineering to schoolchildren, teachers, parents, politicians, journalists and the general public, with a view to inform and inspire their engagement within the profession. In October 2022, I was appointed Chair of the IET’s Communities Committee for Europe, Middle East and Africa (CCEMEA) for a three year term, following the conclusion of my tenure on the IET Council.