My Stantec Story: Building a career as a graduate civil engineer with Lewis Houghton
October 11, 2023
October 11, 2023
Lewis, a graduate civil engineer, shares insights into his responsibilities within the Cardiff Water team
In the My Stantec Story series, our designers, engineers, marketers, project managers, and leaders come together to share how their career journeys at Stantec have shaped their lives and moved them closer to their goals.
I joined the Cardiff water team in April 2022 as a graduate civil engineer. Since joining Stantec, I’ve worked within a framework of various design and investigation projects for one of our water clients. Most of the design work I’m involved in is related to combined sewer overflows and reducing spills to watercourses, along with sewage pumping stations, to alleviate foul sewer flooding in areas. I’m also involved in surface water flooding schemes, investigating causes, and producing solutions.
At university, I studied civil engineering for my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. I worked onsite as a civil engineer during and initially after my time at university. Throughout my time onsite I was part of the team constructing a variety of projects, however, I soon realised I wanted to be part of the design process—creating the solutions rather than constructing them. I’ve always wanted to be involved in schemes that have a positive impact on the communities around me, while striving for solutions that are environmentally conscious. As a company that endeavours to put people first and do what is right for employees and the people they serve, Stantec stood out to me as a company with a strong emphasis on having a positive impact socially and environmentally.
Stantec understands the importance of allowing their employees the ability to self-manage and make decisions. Since starting, my responsibility within the team has grown greatly. I’m the design engineer on multiple water projects within a framework for one of our water clients. I’m trusted to make my own design decisions and changes independently. I manage and ensure deliverable deadlines are met. This has allowed me to develop quickly and grow in confidence as an engineer.
My team supports me in stepping out of my comfort zone every day. They give me the confidence to follow through on my own ideas and make decisions—Stantec embraces change and encourages the development of new ideas. As well, I’m encouraged to regularly contribute to my professional chartership competencies with the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and receive feedback on how the tasks I complete can relate to each proficiency.
Being part of the Developing Professionals Group (DPG), which meets regularly to undertake development workshops, helps me improve my soft skills like presenting, communication, and leadership. The DPG also have presentations from senior colleagues covering specific skills sets and knowledge, along with broader general career advice.
Since starting, I’ve been involved in multiple projects for reducing spills from a combined sewer overflow—working within my team, I designed a solution that stores excess flow from an existing combined sewer in a storage shaft below ground. Excess flows are stored in the shaft before being pumped back up to the existing sewer once storm flows have reduced. This stops flows backing up and spilling over the combined sewer overflow to the watercourse.
This was a great project to work on, where I worked closely with the modelling team to develop an effective design. I learned a lot about hydraulics, especially how flow control units and weirs work. It’s great to be involved in a very topical challenge, where my designs really make a positive impact.
There’s a real supportive environment amongst colleagues, where you’re encouraged to develop and broaden your knowledge.
I plan to become chartered with the ICE in the future and know I’ll continue to develop as an engineer with Stantec. I’m excited by the range of projects I’m involved in and want to continue working on a variety of different schemes within a great team.
Outside of work, I enjoy climbing, mountain biking, and mountainboarding—an all-terrain board sport that’s an alternative to snowboarding. When I get a chance, I also enjoy exploring the Welsh countryside with my dog.
Since joining as a graduate civil engineer, I’ve found that Stantec is brilliant. The Cardiff office is a great place, full of friendly people where everyone feels welcome. I’m trusted within the team and was given opportunities to take responsibility early on. There’s a real supportive environment amongst colleagues, where you’re encouraged to develop and broaden your knowledge.
At Stantec, we put people first, and for Lewis that means being given opportunities to step out of his comfort zone to support his professional development. If you want to start your career at Stantec, visit Graduates & Apprentices to find out more.