Five minutes with Mark Igbavboa, Aviation Project Manager
We talk to Mark Igbavboa to find out what it’s like delivering projects at some of the UK’s busiest airports and how he got into project management as a career.
What does your role involve?
As a Project Manager specialising in the aviation sector, I deliver a range of different projects from baggage infrastructure upgrades to building control compliance designs. This involves managing resources, project spend, and the design programme. Throughout any project I’m constantly liaising with the client and design team to make sure the design meets the client’s requirements and that any issues that crop up are resolved quickly, keeping the project on track. Other key daily tasks for me are managing change control and quality assurance to ensure the project delivers what the client wants as well as meeting all industry standards.
How did you get into Project Management?
I have a background in civil engineering and began my professional life working at Gatwick Airport as part of their graduate scheme. After three years, during which I’d worked on a range of projects, including the world’s largest self-service bag drop, I then moved on to work for a principal contractor based at Heathrow delivering big civil projects such as airfields and taxiways. It was here I gained valuable experience in managing people and resources, which tipped me in the direction of project management as my next career move.
For anyone wanting to work in the industry, my advice would be to take advantage of any training being offered by your company and try align yourself with a professional body to enhance your skills and focus your career development.
What are the challenges of working on aviation projects?
Aviation is a very niche industry; it’s fast paced and we’re often working in live environments. You regularly find skills that are only found in this industry – although that in itself is very rewarding once you’ve mastered these! On top of this each airport has its own technical standards and project requirements which we have to adhere to as well as mandatory processes and sign-offs by stakeholders. Another challenge that often crops up as a project manager is adjusting to the personality and individual requirements of each client, as no two are the same and it’s important to adapt to the needs of each. However, once you’ve adjusted to the environment and its particularities it’s incredibly rewarding and for me the best bit is forging good working relationships with the team that last beyond the end of the project.
Finally, what do you enjoy most about your role?
I count myself being a people person so having that daily contact with the client is what I enjoy above all else. I love the fact that I’m continually liaising with the client and stakeholders and through this really getting underneath what it is they want and need from a project. It’s then up to me to feed this back to the design team to make sure we provide the best possible solutions – if I get it right, they get it right and that is so rewarding. I think I’d also add seeing people using the facilities I’ve helped deliver to this – I fly quite frequently from Gatwick and to see the end result of my projects in action is something that makes me feel really proud.