Newsletter: November 2013

A Message from Nigel Rees | Training Courses | New Releases | An Interview with Zeena Farook | Our Events Schedule | Pozzoni Case Study | Pearl Hotel Case Study

Q: Briefly describe your work history.

A: My work history has taken me through a range of geotechnical projects. I began with a General Engineering degree at the University of Oxford. This gave me exposure to many disciplines and computational theory, which I am still using today. I was also able to look into Finite Element design of Offshore Wind Turbines and the work I carried out went on to be published. This project enabled me to win an ICE Graduates and Student Institution papers prize and medal.

As an engineer, I had worked with Arup in my gap year and through University, exposing me to the civil engineering disciplines of structural, geotechnical and water engineering.

Early on in my career as a graduate engineer, I was given the opportunity to work in geotechnical design and analysis, as well as working on site investigations to better understand the practical aspects of soil. I had an interest in the analysis methods from an early stage and looked at devising better methods for berm analysis. My range of experience and responsibility enabled me to win the NCE Graduate of the Year (2006).

As well as recognition, the prize enabled me to work on prestigious projects in major roles, such as designing foundations and advising on settlement issues for the London 2012 Olympics. This experience enabled me to understand the understanding the analysis methods and presenting these results clearly to the client. 

Q: When did you start working for Oasys, and what does your role entail?

A: I transferred to the Oasys group in 2009, with a focus on developing the geotechnical business and promoting the relationship with geotechnical engineers amongst our external clients and within Arup. By doing so, I would be able to promote and support the most reliable product, whilst ensuring that our software met the future needs of our demanding geotechnical clients.

My day to day role also covered presentations to clients and interested parties, speaking at conferences, software support, running training courses, writing articles, and feeding into the software development process.

Q: Describe a typical day.

A: My job is very varied and I am often challenged. Consequently, there is no typical day as such. I am also heavily involved in Arup Geotechnics and still carry out roles as a Geotechnical Engineer.

When I am in the office, I am often dealing with support calls from around the world, whether by phone, email, or the website. These support calls are usually in the form of either asking why their model does not work as expected or how to do certain analyses. I am often talking with the developers to feedback the customer’s experiences and to see how we can change the software to make it even better. The rest of the time I am writing articles for magazines, creating FAQs, and giving webinars or online presentations.

When I am out of the office, I am visiting customers or universities to talk about how the software works and how they can use it, or at conferences presenting papers. This can be very varied: last week I was giving training on Frew and next week I am due to present in a Slope conference about the benefits of different slope analysis and the difficulties involved in modelling water.

I am also heavily involved in the ICE and am in the Editorial Panel for the ICE Proceedings of Computational Engineering. This has given me a deeper knowledge of what is at the cusp of this industry in terms of computational analysis and marries very well with my current role.

Q: What do you like most about working at Oasys?

A: I love the excitement of being at the cutting edge of engineering and helping our customers to use the tools to do some amazing things. For example, I have been heavily involved in adapting our code and practice to Eurocode 7, which has been challenging but has deepened my understanding of Ultimate Limit State and how it is best applied, an area which can confuse even the most experienced geotechnical engineer!