Michael Newbery CEng MICE

I've lived in Chicago since 1985 and am currently Vice President with MWH Global and Executive Director for the design of the Panama Canal expansion. This is the project to build a third set of channel entrances (locks) to the canal on both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.

Micheal Newberry
Micheal Newberry

I’ve been privileged to work in several roles on the canal and have seen the project grow from concepts in 1999 to being 80% complete last year (2014). It’s taken a huge effort to get where we are – assembling a team of over 300 engineers working in six plus offices over three continents. Sometimes we forget our accomplishments when we're caught up in day-to-day challenges. But seeing what our team has been able to deliver has been a truly rewarding experience.

I became MICE qualified in 1985. Professional qualification was a fundamental step for me to move up the career ladder. Also, the learning required to do this has served me well in understanding how civil engineers contribute to society. For instance, balancing infrastructure development with environmental protection. It's also encouraged me to keep working on my continuing professional development.

My advice to students and graduates is to work on the softer skills you need to get ahead (e.g. languages, relationship building, networking and presenting). These will marry well with a solid grounding in technical disciplines. Stay up-to-date with what's happening in the industry too. Most of what you'll learn comes from on-the-job experience, so learn from the best.

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