Oliver Hawes

Oliver Hawes

Commercial Manager

Country: UK

Specialisms: Design, construction, project management, water

Career highlights

How I became a civil engineer

As a consultant I tend to spend more time in the office so when I get onsite that’s exciting. When I was preparing for my professional review (the exam you take to become a chartered engineer) I spent nine months on a Thames Water site helping manage the construction of a new £60m sludge treatment centre.

This was a fantastic time as I gained experience managing sub-contractors, health and safety, construction coordination and much more. The design I had been working on for the previous year came to life before my eyes.

Working at Mott MacDonald I’ve helped with projects all over the UK and across the world – in the Middle East, North America and a short trip to Africa. It’s broadened my horizons and taught me a great deal about different ways of working.

A big career highlight was my recent trip to New York City to share with US colleagues and clients the benefits available from using the modern approach of ‘design for manufacture and assembly’ and taking a design and build approach – where the whole project is delivered by one organisation (usually two types of organisation work together in civil engineering, a consultant who designs and a contractor who builds).

Over the past 11 years with Mott MacDonald I have worked on so many interesting projects, providing many benefits for millions of people either through the provision of safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater treatment or energy generation from sewage sludge.

As an example, we are currently redesigning an existing sewage treatment works at Davyhulme, Manchester. This project will help protect the environment by treating huge quantities of waste water (from the toilets and drains of hundreds of thousands of homes) and it’ll also produce energy from sewage the sludge. It will benefit over a million people of the rapidly growing population in Manchester.

Oliver is pictured on one a number of water treatment plants he's worked on during his career

Oliver is pictured on one a number of water treatment plants he's worked on during his career

My working day

A typical day for me now, that’s hard… a typical day would nearly always be very different to the last.

My job is basically about helping our teams with tricky engineering or commercial problems to make sure projects stay on track and are delivered successfully.

My tasks frequently include reviewing project plans and designs, talking to the client, getting approval for the final structure and managing budgets and contracts. And much more besides.


Civil engineering is different every day, whatever your role, so it’s difficult to get bored…It’s a truly exciting career where your work will change the world.

Oliver Hawes

Commercial Manager

My favourite projects

Riverside Sewage Treatment Works
Find out more about Riverside STW

Woodmansterne Water Treatment Works
Find out more about Woodmansterne WTW

Davyhulme Waste Water Treatment Works
Find out more about Davyhulme WwTW

Wing Water Supply Programme
Find out more about Wing Water Supply Programme

Education & career highlights

  • MEng University of Bristol
  • CEng MICE
  • Graduate Civil Engineer 2006 – 2008
  • Civil Engineer 2008 – 2012
  • Senior Civil Engineer 2013 – 2015
  • Principal Civil Engineer 2015 – 2016
  • Commercial Manager 2017 – Present
I want to become a civil engineer.

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