Andrew Davidson is Work Group Manager – Structures for WSP in Christchurch and a previous finalist for the Engineering New Zealand Young Engineer of the Year. He's the new ACE New Zealand Regional Chair for the Canterbury/West Coast region and is keen to hear from local members. We talk to Andrew about his career and what he brings to the role.
Tell us about your career so far?
I have worked in the consulting industry as a structural engineer since graduating from the University of Canterbury in 2010 with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons).
Now I manage the Buildings Structures team for WSP in Christchurch, so I interact with clients and colleagues from a variety of organisations and backgrounds. I am also a Chartered Professional Engineer and hold a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University.
At WSP I’ve worked on projects ranging from transport related infrastructure and water retaining infrastructure through to building projects for numerous clients. I also spent 14 months on secondment to a contractor for a $100m building project as the Contractors Site Engineer where I gained first-hand experience of how our advice is implemented by the industry.
I’ve seen substantial change across the industry during my career to date with the Canterbury and Kaikōura earthquakes, and see there are many challenges facing our society that we as consultants must play an integral part in solving through our advice.
In 2018 I was a finalist for Engineering New Zealand Young Engineer of the Year, I have co-authored and presented papers for New Zealand industry conferences, and been involved in award-winning projects such as the recent Cathedral College new classroom and administration block, which won the Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand Commercial Building Award this year.
I believe we must always look to do better and challenge the status quo in everything we do.
What are the consulting and engineering strengths of your region?
To say that I fully understand the consulting and engineering strengths of this region would most likely be doing a disservice to the many dimensions of our industry here that I don’t yet fully understand.
In saying that, I think the Canterbury earthquakes and more recently the Kaikōura earthquake have had a significant impact on shaping the industry in our region and as a result we have a much better understanding of how to advise clients on risk and the associated trade-offs between spending extra on mitigations versus accepting an elevated level of exposure.
However, as an engineer from a civil and structural background I must acknowledge my bias - I look forward to hearing what our members think in this regard.
What do you bring to the Regional Chair role?
Having worked for a broad range of clients interacting with various disciplines, I feel I understand enough to know that there are many different drivers and perspectives across organisations that need to be heard, understood and considered in advocating for our industry to achieve the best outcomes.
I enjoy talking with people about their business and understanding what matters to them and I look forward to interacting with our membership as regional chair and presenting areas for consideration to our board.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I enjoy getting outdoors and making the most of this fantastic country we are so blessed to live in. Earlier this year I completed The Longest Day event in the Kathmandu Coast to Coast for the second time, something that I hope to do again in future, but for now, I’m happy with the reduced training load and just doing the odd smaller event here and there.
What’s the best way for members to get in touch with you?
I look forward to speaking with members and understanding more about the wider industry and what matters most. All my details are on the ACE New Zealand people page.