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David Waboso

David Waboso

Former managing director of digital railway, Network Rail

Expertise

Project management, Water, Rail

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

Receiving a CBE in 2014

Working on water projects in Africa

Working on the DLR, Jubilee Line extension, tube upgrades and the digital railway

A day in my life

This could involve lots of pre-reading and preparation/phone calls, prior to attending or chairing meetings.

I find the greatest value we can give is by spending time with my teams and talking through challenges and sorting out issues and mentoring/supporting younger engineers and project managers through sharing experience.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also  ... a project manager, a digital champion, a mentor, and most importantly a husband and father.

My career inspiration 

As a schoolboy, I was inspired by a lifelong family friend and civil engineer to pursue a career in civil engineering.

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

How much it relies on teamwork and lots of different companies collaborating.

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

It’s male-dominated and family-unfriendly.

Now, civil engineering is inclusive and supports flexible working.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

You’ll make a huge, positive difference to the world.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

 The first tube construction in the 1850s.

what about being a civil engineer inspires you?

Challenges! Challenges! 

Education and career

Studied civil engineering at Coventry University then Imperial College London.

My engineering degree meant I had an aptitude for mathematics, so I initially became a maths teacher at a school in East London.

I have some incredible memories that helped build my confidence in addressing large and challenging audiences.

I then joined Arup, which was constructing the Essex section of the M25, followed by other engineering firms including Nichols Group, and Bechtel.

In 2003, I was asked to join the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) as its technical director.

Representing the UK at the European Rail Agency proved useful in understanding the thought processes elsewhere.

Work on the London Underground

I joined London Underground (LU) as the director of engineering, a first job being to manage the replacement of the ‘temporary’ signalling on the Jubilee line.

Another challenge was ‘cooling the Tube’ as more trains result in more energy dissipated and rising temperatures.

I also had responsibility for other line upgrades including the Victoria line and station upgrades, which involved Victoria, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Bank, all of which used innovative procurement that incentivised value not just cost.

For all this work on LU, I was awarded a CBE in 2014.

Hobbies

I have a passion for training and education, having served on committees focusing on the teaching of STEM subjects in schools.

Promoting opportunities for people of all backgrounds to realise their full potential in engineering and other professions.

I'm an avid rugby fan (previously a player), and enjoy gardening, walking, and music (I play guitar).