Five minutes with Rob Reid, Aviation Director
Celebrating 14 years with BakerHicks, home-grown talent and Director of Aviation, Rob Reid, reflects on his journey through the company and what it’s really like working at some of the country’s busiest airports.
What does your typical working day involve?
I’m often based at one of the airports, so my typical Monday mornings start very early. Whether I’m going to Gatwick, Heathrow, or any other airport I tend to arrive around 7am. This means I’m on site when the client needs me, as well as being on hand for the design teams by the time the sun comes up!
I’m responsible for both the operational management and business development function of the aviation business so I divide my time depending on the type of project we’re working on. My days can vary from carrying out project up start meetings in site cabins to presenting to potential clients to tender for new work. Turnaround deadlines are often tight, it’s a fast-paced demanding environment that can take some people by surprise.
What motivates you?
I really enjoy the interaction with the client and their teams. I often work closely with the client’s Project Manager and between us we drive the implementation of the design. From smaller projects such as compliance projects in baggage environments to some of the more complex developments like detailed design stages for a complex airside building, it’s our job to get under the skin of the brief and deliver on time and to budget with complete transparency.
Building trust and keeping an open dialogue is key. I work hard to develop these relationships so it’s important that we’re responsive to get the whole integration piece working better. We really pride ourselves on our ability to form partnerships on projects.
What are the challenges of working in aviation?
As engineers and designers, we’re operating in a highly regulated and competitive environment with lots of factors affecting what we deliver. The safe and efficient movement of people is a key driver for most designs; we also need to be sustainable, implementing modern construction approaches into the designs where possible for both a cost and environmental perspective but most importantly safe delivery. This can add pressure to budgets, but we love a challenge!
We have a good team here with some real specialist experience and, having worked in the industry my entire career, I can help them prepare for most challenges that come our way.
What’s been your biggest achievement so far?
Without doubt, taking strategic and budgetary responsibility for the aviation sector has been a massive achievement, as well as a challenge, but it’s one I’ve worked hard for. I started out in the commercial team, which gave me a good understanding of all aspects of the financial management of a project. That’s stood me in good stead as my career has progressed into project management. I’ve come a long way since I first started at BakerHicks and am lucky enough to have received fantastic support here throughout my career.
What’s the priority from here?
There’s a lot of investment in the sector at the minute which is bringing real and exciting changes to the passenger journey. Most airports across the country are undertaking improvement works so it’s important for us to be in the right place at the right time to show clients what we can do.
We’ve had a successful year so far, delivering some really complex works which has enabled us to really showcase the skill and passion we bring to our work. For me, the priority remains simple; keep our customer focused approach, be visible to the airports we want to be working at, and continue our unrivalled relationship management, with ownership and risk measured decision making.
When I look at the team I can see a real buzz and sense of pride in what we do. This has been enhanced by a number of talented additions in the sector. I’m massively proud of the team’s dedication and the way this is presented to our clients, providing them with practical solutions that are right for the individual project. Without doubt the end objective remains to be the consultant of choice at all the UK’s major airports – and I believe we will achieve this.