Taking an active part in the interview with the professional Engineer from one of the developing companies can encourage the personal desire to further studies of the students who study technology and engineering. That is why Maohamed Basma, a civil Engineer who workers as the Vice – President at Hatch Mott McDonald was interviewed. This person was selected for the Question / Answer interview because he has the considerable working experience. Moreover, he had the time and desire to contact and discuss his work with students. This company is a full-service consulting engineering organization that offers various services, like planning, development of projects, analyses and inspection, project and construction management, and etc.
It should be noted, that I got to know Mr. Basma in a social gathering about a year ago. This person was very complaisant and suave. During our conversation we exchanged the information concerning technological engineering, and he gave me his business card. This year I contacted him regarding to this interview. This person found the time for conversation with me and my friend in his working schedule. The interview was held at home of Mr. Basma on June 20th, 2015. Before the beginning of the interview, I and my friend clearly stated the major purpose and task of the interviews. They were reflected in the obtaining of the understanding of the real world of engineering and daily activities of professionals who work in this sphere. The discussion of the topic of technology and engineering with the person who has the considerable experience in this field is very relevant experience for students. Knowing the general information concerning the sphere of the engineering construction is the one thing, but open communication with the employee of the company that shares personal understandings concerning the ethical and environmental concerns is more useful for me. Also, I should thank to Mohamed Basma that he was very kind and allowed us to record this session. The transcription of the recorded conversation is provided below.
Antar: Please kindly describe your working experience as the professional Engineer?
Mr. Basma: I started by career as the civil Engineer in 1984. That means that I have already worked for 31 year on this position.
Miss Gatt: Please state the official name of your profession and your responsibilities?
Mr. Basma: The official title of my profession is a program manager. I am required to perform the financial management of various projects of Hatch Mott McDonald. Usually I work with designing, engineering and construction of the objects of transportation.
Miss Gatt: Can you please describe your previous working experience?
Mr. Basma: Surely, I can. Prior to my work at Hatch Mott McDonald, I was employed at the Valley Transportation Authority Agency. I was engaged in the analysis of the capability of funding of different projects. Some of these projects were closely connected with the human safety, and rail transportation. My obligations lied in adding the company in the management of these projects. The major purpose of my work was providing of the efficient results and assurance of the safety of these facilities.
Antar: Please describe the average working day of such professional like you.
Mr. Basma: Well (he smiled). The average mine working day consists of the negotiation with various parties which concern to the development and construction of the projects with which I work. In the majority of cases, I am in the close contact with project managers. These people are responsible for the management of unusual orders. Also, much time I spend with people who work with the financial matters. However, my work is not limited by these negotiations. My working activities contain the negotiation with the construction project inspectors, development and presentation of memos concerning various environmental issues, and helping people to obtain grants on the realization of their projects. In general, two thirds of my working time I spend in conversation with representatives of various professions which are closely connected with the engineering and construction. The rest of the time I make the official work
Antar: Can you remember the time when you clearly understand that the work of the civil engineer is your destiny?
Mr. Basma: Yes, surely. When I was a teenager, my favorite classes were Science and Math. You know, I always knew that I would become an engineer. However, I had some doubts concerning the field of engineering that I would like to study. Initially, I paid my attention to Aerospace Engineering. However, unfortunately, the university where I have studies did not have the courses on this field. That is why, I have decided to start my career in civil engineering, and then to change my professional orientation to field that would be more attracting for me. But, when I was the student, I found civil Engineering very interesting. So, I proceed working in this field.
Miss Gatt: Are there any discrepancies between the tasks which you perform in the current moment and the activities that you anticipated to do being the professional engineer?
Mr. Basma: Yes, of course. Before starting to work as the professional engineer, I thought that I would be more engaged in technical details of projects. However, real life working experience is not limited by the designation of projects and technical matters.
Miss Gatt: What is the main discrepancy?
Mr. Basma: I think, the main discrepancy is communication. In the work connected with the engineering construction, you have to deal with various people.
Antar: Please describe your working responsibilities ate the beginning of your career as the civil engineer.
Mr. Basma: My working responsibilities were not rather complicated when I started to work. The major part of the work was based on the calculation and counting of various items in pans of the projects. For example, I was asked to calculate the amount of signs on some street, or visualize something simple. Also, I performed observation of the construction process and wrote the feedback concerning it in the form of a memo. Sometimes, I was requested to perform some simple projects, like development of the plan and construction of lite rail station. It should be noted, that my performance was observed and controlled by more experienced engineer.
Miss Gatt: Please describe the major communication skills which are useful to you in your profession.
Mr. Basma: As I have mentioned above, the main part of my work is closely connected with the interaction with various people in an oral and written form. Notwithstanding the fact, that a lot of matters are resolved in oral form, my personal written skills are also thoroughly examined and analyzed by my people with whom I cooperate. The oral skills refer to the constant interaction concerning various matters and defending of personal ideas, when the written skills are reflected in the creation of various reports concerning construction of projects, and interaction via e-mails regarding some details. Hence, in order to avoid any misunderstanding with counterparties, I should know how to present my ideas to people in the coherent and understandable manner.
Antar: Can you provide any advice for us as engineers?
Mr. Basma: Of course, I can.One of the major advices to you is concentration on both technical and non-technical aspects of your career. Much attention should be paid to the development of the communication skills with various people. For example, for career promotion you will require not only developed skills, knowledge and the experience in construction or designing. You will not be successful without the ability to interact with people, present your ideas and defend them. You should always remember that the work of engineer is closely connected with talking to people.
Miss Gatt: And, as per your opinion, what is the major characteristic of the successful civil engineer?
Mr. Basma: I think, that successful engineer should be good communicator and organization. This person should have such skills as self-confidence, respect, and perception.
Antar: Is there any environmental protocol in the company where you work?
Mr. Basma: Unfortunately, Hatch Mott McDonald has no any environmental protocol. However, at the current moment I closely cooperate with the Valley Transportation Authority Agency. This organization has environmental protocol. I am not closely in touch with environmental matters and issues. It is the work of the special sustainability department of this company, that performs constant assessment of the projects. The major aim of their work is the assurance that the developed and realized projects are ecologically friendly and safe. Also, Valley Transportation Authority Agency has special environmental department. Employees of this division fill in brochures concerning environmental characteristics of every project.
Antar: Do you deal with any environmental issues in your profession?
Mr. Basma: No, I don’t. To say true, any project should pass the examination of the special environmental authorization. The project should contain different precautions concerning water pollution, environmental pollution and the negative impact on flora and fauna, and noise effect. These consequences are thoroughly studied and necessary precautions are implemented into the project before its undergoing.
Miss Gatt: Are there any environmental issues in your area of civil engineering?
Mr. Basma: As I have already mentioned above, the main part of my work is connected with transportation projects. The maingoal od my work is assurance of the efficiency, time saving and minimization of the environmental impact from these projects. The elimination of the environmental pollution represents the objective of my company. I will describe the method of lowering of traffic congestion and air pollution on the example of one of my projects. It is connected with the utilization of lite rail of use of VTA buses for transportation of groups of people for the replacement of private transportation.
Miss Gatt: Is there any code of ethics in your profession?
Mr. Basma: Yes, of course.
Antar: What code of ethics you were requested to study before obtaining your position?
Mr. Basma: I was not requested to read or to sign any particular code of ethics in the form of the separate document, because this document was not formed when I was hired. However, at the current moment, I know its content.
Miss Gatt: Were there any ethical dilemmas during your work as an engineer?
Mr. Basma: Of course. For example, during my work for Hatch Mott MacDonald, I was obliged to cooperate with the Valley Transportation Authority Agency. That means that I have transmitted from the work on private company to the work on public organization. During that time period I expect the raise of my salary. However, for paying me more money, Hatch Mott MacDonald were obliged to negotiate with the Valley Transportation Authority Agency concerning payment for my work. The processing of the document concerning this matter took about a month. Then this document lied on someone’s desk for several months. When the agreement between two companies was changed, everyone realized that the document concerning the increasing of my salary was not signed yet. After the new agreement between two companies came into effect, I received my payment. But it was considerably higher than I have expected. The employees of the Contract Department explained me the reason of the increasing of my salary.I did not feel comfortable when I obtained more money than were agreed. I took the issue too boss. He just advised me to rectify the situation by myself. Some of my colleagues recommended me not to raise the problem, and just obtain more money. However, I do not accept their position, because it is unethical.
Antar: Mr. Basma, than you very much for the conversation.
Mr. Basma: Any time. I enjoyed talking with you.
Mr. Brasma was gracious enough to find the time in his working schedule for the interview with us. He provided us with a lot of information concerning the work of the civil engineer. His working experience will help me in my career path. Mr. Brasma discussed with us many aspects of our future career which we did not know prior to this interview. He paid our attention to the importance on the development of skills of oral and written communication. These skills will be very useful for us during the interaction with different people and negotiation of details concerning the future projects. Also, he discussed the importance of studying of both technical and non-technical matters. I was very impressed that such a big and developed company as Hatch Mott MacDonald does not have environmental policy. After the completion of this interview, I and my friend were very inspired in the further improvement of my professional knowledge and communication skills. This experience was very useful for us, because it shows unique aspects of our future career.