Staff Spotlight: Mike Bridgman
What is your role within Geotechnics?
I’m an Estimator and Senior Engineer at the Yorkshire office.
How long have you been working for Geotechnics?
It’s just over 3 years now - I started in June 2014.
How did you first get involved in the geotechnical industry?
Like a lot of people in the industry, I grew up liking dinosaurs and rocks and things. I took a geology course at college, and found that I quite enjoyed the subject. I did it at university, and once I graduated I was looking to find a job. There were various options open to me, but I liked the idea of going to see lots of new places and being involved early on with big civils projects.
How do you think Geotechnics has changed over the time you’ve been here?
All the offices have grown fairly significantly over the last three years. We’ve taken on lots of graduate staff and built the work levels up. Every office has grown by at least 3 or 4 staff in that time.
What is a typical day
like for you?
On a typical day I check through all my emails to see if any new tenders have come in, then prioritise my tasks to see what I need to do.
Let’s say we have a client asking for a quotation. I’d log that on our system and then I’d read through all the documentation carefully to determine what the job requires. I’d be looking to see how risky the job is, and how much we can do to reduce any risks. At that point, I’d send off for quotations on equipment, materials and anything else we’d need. I’d then work out how to price the work to make it the best value for the client.
It can be quite difficult sometimes, because some people are just focused on going for the cheapest supplier regardless of quality. But we bring a lot of added value to clients - you can see that in the quality of the work that we’ve done in the past.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
As an Estimator, it’s winning work for the company. Some people say that Estimators can be a bit of a strange breed because you put a lot of work into projects and you might not win them.
But it makes it all the more satisfying when you actually do win a job. It’s great to begin to build relationships with new clients. You find clients come back to you with queries about what they need to do on sites, or what they need to do in a certain instance. That leads to more work and it’s brilliant when you get that sort of relationship with your clients.
There’s also a certain satisfaction when you can come up with an alternative way of working that the client hasn’t necessarily considered. That can be more cost-effective or produce better results for them, and it’s great to see clients taking that advice and putting it into action.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into the industry?
The best thing to do is to try and experience as much as you can on site. Different techniques, different ground conditions, different areas of the country, different rigs, different types of instrumentation and installations… that experience is invaluable to you throughout your career. The more you see and the harder you work, the more experience you’ve got going forward. You should expect to be going on site in all weathers for a few years, and it’s worth it.
You don’t want to underestimate field experience. A lot of people coming into the industry want to go up the ladder as quick as possible, which means they’ll be behind a desk a lot quicker. But they might not get that site based experience that would be invaluable to them in their career.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to walk our dog, and take our children for a walk at the same time. I play with our kids in the back yard or down the park. I’m quite a keen gardener, and also a pretty handy bodger! I make useful things for the house and garden, which my wife despairs about quite a lot! I’m currently trying to make a water feature for the garden.
What is a surprising fact that people might not know about you?
I enjoy listening to 60s rock and 70s/80s hair metal, which people probably wouldn’t expect! I also enjoy growing chillies and I’ve got quite a few different plants on the go at the moment. I’ve been growing them for six or seven years now. I’ve had some growing on the window sill at work over the years as well. Anyone who has visited the office might have seen them!
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