Neil Ogilvie

Country: Australia, United Kingdom
Sector: Utilities and Renewable Energy
Job title: DWMP Strategic Manager
Subject of study: Civil Engineering
Year of graduation: 2007
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

South West Water

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I spent the first few years of my career in Outback Australia working in Construction/Project Management and Disaster Response, followed by a few years backpacking and working odd jobs in Humanitarian Aid, Sailing, Blacksmithing, etc. After a year in the Energy Sector in Canada and a little more travelling, I returned to Australia for 7 years working at a senior level in Local Government, focusing on Infrastructure. This year I have returned to the UK with my family and have commenced a role with South West Water to forecast strategic impacts of Climate Change on Wastewater and Drainage.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

Civil Engineering is a broad sector and has given me the opportunity to see the world and live a particularly less-ordinary life. Having grown a little older and more mature now, I appreciate that I am able to be a part of the response to the Climate Emergency.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

I was President of CampusBands 2005-2007 and the University Sound Technology Scholar 2006-2007. I am passionate about music and spent much of my free time being involved with that.

What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

I’m not particularly academic, so the highlight for me was our time spent on Dartmoor undertaking some practical ‘real engineering’ exercises.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

I love Exeter and the South West and enjoyed the extra curricular activities across the campus. My final project, A System Dynamics approach to Coastal Zone Management, allowed me to delve into solutions for a problem I care about.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

Exeter is a great university with a strong reputation within the Engineering industry, so I knew that attending Exeter would support my career. I also had a brother at Exeter and the city itself was a place I enjoyed.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

On leaving University and striking out into workplace I learned an enormous amount of Project Management, Contract Management and Construction skills & knowledge. This has underpinned my career and provided enormous opportunity for me to flourish.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Your final grade makes getting a good role easier, but your performance in the workplace is what will allow you to grow as an Engineer. Enjoy University and take what you can from the course but don’t be worried that your performance in it will define your future.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to develop into my career, becoming Chartered and to support my growing family. Ultimately, I see my Disaster Response/Management as putting me in a position to provide support as the Climate Emergency becomes more immediate.


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