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Insights The best aspects of working in project controls at AtkinsRéalis

Meet Rod Whiting, Project Controls Director in the West Country (UK) at AtkinsRéalis. With nearly 40 years of experience in Project Controls, he has worked for many great clients across exciting sectors. For Rod, it's a career where he can make a lasting, positive impact on the planet and its people – like enabling clients to reach carbon zero or communities to lead fuller lives.

"It has been a passion and pleasure to be part of the wider Project Controls domain and to contribute to its development to the recognized profession it is today.

Please tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I forage for fungus – some to eat & some just for photos.

Road taking a photo of fungus

How do you describe what you do to people outside the industry?

My job is to help companies deliver their project successfully, on time and on budget.

What is the difference between a project controller and a project manager?

Project Controllers provide the information, data and advice to support Project Managers who make decisions as enablers of successful project delivery.

Please tell us about what you're working on.

I'm working with a global client to build a best in class fully integrated Project Controls function within their newly established centralised global project controls organisation. This involves the deployment of suitably qualified and experienced people, and improving procedures and process, along with introduction of suitable systems and tools.

How does your team at AtkinsRéalis use digital?

Digital is and will continue to be a major part of Project Controls. Project Controls has a vast quantity of data, which needs to be turned into meaningful information to be presented appropriately. In addition, data analytics can produce insights that would be very difficult and time-consuming to do manually.

What brought you back to AtkinsRéalis?

I have always enjoyed working with AtkinsRéalis, and when the right position became available, I was very happy to return. It felt like coming home – the friendly and people-orientated culture is still here. Settling back in was easy from the people side, as many "old" friends are still here – but there have been some new systems to learn.

What do you appreciate most about the organization's culture?

AtkinsRéalis' acceptance and promotion of being yourself at work are very important to me. The diverse and inclusive culture encourages me to express my Christian faith without fear of ridicule or discrimination. Also, the "dress for the day" approach means I can bring some colour to the office.

At your career stage, what are your goals, and how is AtkinsRéalis supporting you to reach them?

In addition to delivering my day-to-day work, I want to help people to grow and maximize their potential; to grow the Project Controls within the Region and wider afield within AtkinsRéalis and in the external Project Controls Professional community; and to pass on as much of my knowledge and experience as possible to others. AtkinsRéalis enables me to do this by making it part of my role and giving me the time to make it happen.

How are you supporting younger colleagues' career development?

Some of the barriers I see is they need to know what Professional Accreditation and Development is available to them. I will continue participating in forums and events to raise awareness and support them in their Professional Development. Seeing the people I work with grow gives me a real buzz.

What have been some of your proudest career moments?

I'm always proud to see the benefits of my work for our clients and, more so, wider society. For example, successful controls on a recent pharmaceutical project enabled a plant to be open longer. The company also expanded it, confident that the project would be managed well. This client and others have recognized my effort and thanked me personally for the impact I've made along with my AtkinsRéalis colleagues.

There have been many highlights in my career in addition to the contribution of the actual projects. The greatest is being part of the Development and lives of the people I work with.

And last November, my professional highlight was being nominated by AtkinsRéalis and winning the Global Project Controls Expo's Lifetime Achievement Award!

Road taking a photo of fungus

How do you use flexible working?

Flexible working has become very important to me and the people I work with. I work a nine-day/fortnight where I'm in the office at Aztec West, the client's office or at home. This enables me to balance work and personal needs. Working at home allows me to cook more creative evening meals and pop into the local coffee shop at lunchtime. Not driving to the office every day also helps reduce my carbon footprint and frees up the commute time for other uses.

Ready to expand your exposure to some of the most prestigious and innovative construction challenges? AtkinsRéalis is hiring – find out more.