Meet Our People: Brendon Oram Technical Consultant (Monitoring)
I've spent almost fifteen years working in the Geotechnical and Structural Instrumentation and Monitoring industry, both in the UK and overseas. Highlights include working on a steelworks in Brazil, a headquarters for a well-known internet search engine provider, Olympic Park and a memorable stint on Crossrail!
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- So, what exactly do you do, and how has your career evolved with Plowman Craven?
Good question! Since joining Plowman Craven in 2016 I've had a number of roles, largely in the technical side of the business. This has seen me lead some extremely interesting R&D projects, working with some of the finest technical specialists in the industry and has helped me develop my skills as a manager.
I have always worked closely with the PC Monitoring team. My time is typically spent talking to our customers, preparing bids, consulting with suppliers, researching new technologies and managing the processes we have in place to provide reliable, high quality data to our customers.
- What does a typical day look like?
"Typical" is probably hard to define, particularly as this interview is taking place during COVID-19 circumstances, but the majority of my time is spent speaking to our clients to understand what they need from our instrumentation and monitoring systems. Essentially, my role is to understand their requirements and to try and join this up by offering the right and most appropriate monitoring solution.
- What do you like most about your job?
Undoubtedly the variety that goes with monitoring. I’ve been involved in monitoring railways, stadiums, buildings, bridges, underground tunnels and numerous other unique structures that all require a bespoke solution. Whilst technology has undoubtedly made things more straightforward, it is always interesting planning a new scheme.
The industry is also a very close-knit community and I have always enjoyed the fact that everybody seems to know each other and genuinely wants to raise the profile of Instrumentation & Monitoring.
- Tell us your favourite projects, and why
In terms of projects I've been involved in, the Highbury Stadium redevelopment has to be a highlight. As a lifelong Arsenal fan the opportunity to sift through the rubble was one that I couldn’t turn down! My time in Brazil, working on the Sepetiba Bay Steel Works, will also live long in my memory - there are certainly worse places to work! More recently, PC Monitoring’s work at King's Cross has been very satisfying. We took a complex set of requirements, then designed and delivered a really great solution for a very high-profile client.
- What's your proudest achievement?
In many ways, assisting in establishing PC Monitoring back in 2016. There were many unknowns when we started the team and to see it flourishing now feels hugely rewarding. My time on Crossrail is also worthy of a mention as I&M projects don’t come much bigger and we certainly solved some very challenging problems!
- Why did you choose this field of work?
Well my degree is in Physical Geography and like most graduates, I was keen to try and use some of my new-found knowledge. Whilst monitoring wasn’t my first thought, many of the geotechnical principles I learnt during my studies are still just as useful today.
- What are the most important attributes for your role?
I often think being a bit of a ‘tech lover’ is quite an important factor! You need a natural curiosity for understanding how things work and a broad understanding of a number of different technologies. Creative thinking and a degree of flexibility are also important factors as no two problems ever seem to be the same!
- Best thing about working for Plowman Craven?
There are many great things about working for Plowman Craven but the biggest for me is our approach to innovation. You always get the sense that that the business is looking further into the future to ensure that what we are doing is always on the cutting edge of the industries we are involved in. As a Technical Consultant, that is always where you want to be.
- What advice would you give somebody wanting to do the same job?
Be curious and ask a lot of questions. I find it is far easier to be good at something if you understand not just how to do something, but also why? This is particularly true in monitoring where often things differ hugely from one job to the next and you need to be able to adapt your methodology.
- What are you like to work with?
Surely is is a better question for somebody else? 😊 I like to think I’m a good colleague to work with and I certainly try to bring a level of enthusiasm into anything I am involved in. I guess detail matters to me and I take great pride in leading and being part of a successful team.
- What are you passions outside work?
I guess my big three would have to be running, spending time in the mountains and more recently a slight addiction to road cycling. I am also at the stage of my life where my family is growing and it is great to spend quality time with my wife and son (soon to be wife and two sons!).
- Do you have a favourite quote or saying?
I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever had a favourite quote! I’m quite fond of my colleague Vitor’s favourite expression of "it is what it is"…a good state of mind and sometimes the only way to make progress!
I try to bring a level of enthusiasm into anything I am involved in. I guess detail matters to me and I take great pride when leading and being part of a successful team.Brendon Oram, Technical Consultant (Monitoring) - Plowman Craven
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Notes. Contents of the article were correct at the time of publication.