Joanna Orr

Company: Mott MacDonald
Role: Principal Project Manager

Joanna OrrAbout Joanna

Joanna is a Chartered Engineer (CEng MICE) with a broad range of experience across the engineering industry including design, construction and consultation.

Whakapapa pepeha

Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Sleve Donard tōku maunga
Ko River Lagan tōku awa
Ko Ōtautahi tōku kainga
Ko Orr tōku whānau
Ko Jo tōku ingoa

I was born in Northern Ireland, studied in Scotland, have travelled all over the world and have now worked and lived in New Zealand for nearly nine of the last 14 years. My whānau are spread between Ireland and New Zealand.

Strategic vision

To be the visionaries of the industry’s path to net zero in New Zealand, and to provide support for ACE New Zealand members on that path. To work together with the wider industry to look at the whole supply chain and ways in which to change how we are currently delivering.

We need to strive to find ways to work better and smarter together to drive that change. To do so, we should consider stronger strategic links both within New Zealand and to global organisations with similar visions.

Digital ways of working are advancing at an incredible rate. We need to ensure ACE New Zealand members are ready and have the resources to optimise their journey. We should be be leading the way into our digital future by providing the framework and scaffolding members need to achieve their goals. 


I am a Chartered Civil Engineer and work as a principal project manager focusing on major projects. I have a deep understanding of the engineering consultancy industry both within New Zealand and internationally.

With my project management background, I bring a number of skills that would benefit and support the Board's role and purpose.

These include:

  • Leadership of large diverse teams to drive everyone to a clear goal and output
  • Risk management - I support my clients daily to recognise and manage their risk portfolio, as well as reviewing and managing the risks internally to the business from the projects I work on
  • Financial management - I work predominantly on large-scale engineering projects, and I administer the finances for the work we undertake. It is key as a business that we remain profitable and so I must manage our workload and invoicing to the client
  • Contractual management - A significant focus of my role is making sure we deliver to our contract by fully understanding the clauses and requirements, and I have experience in several different engineering contract forms

I studied civil and environmental engineering and I am passionate about the role we engineers have on the environment, particularly around climate impact and sustainable design and construction. My work on several flood defence projects for the UK Environment Agency really highlighted to me the critical importance of our built assets and working with the environment, not against it.

I am a mother of two young girls, and I believe this has added a wealth of skills to my portfolio, including organisation, patience, delegation, clear communication, teamwork and amazing negotiation skills. They also inspire me to be a better version of myself every day.

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

I believe all people deserve the same respect and opportunities to progress in life without the fear of judgement for the way they look, their upbringing, or the choices they have made. I believe a team in any situation works better when there are people from all walks of life, because they will each bring their unique perspective and experience. I believe New Zealand and our industry has a way to go and that ACE New Zealand should lead the way for its members.

I am a champion for the Inclusive Network for Women at Mott Mcdonald, to help break down barriers and open up opportunities for women at all levels in the business. We hold events and presentations to highlight issues, discuss challenging situations and create a supportive network. Our purpose is to encourage more support, collaboration and promotion of women in our business. We want to influence and champion opportunities for change and improvement, while profiling the amazing work women are doing at Mott MacDonald.

Meet the ACE New Zealand Board candidates