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Gouseya Shanaaz

Gouseya Shanaaz

Projects lead, ATS Kuwait

Expertise

Project Management, Geotechnical, Structural

Location

United Kingdom
My highlights

Graduating from the National Institute of Technology Srinagar with flying colours

Moving to Kuwait and gaining experience of working on various oil and gas projects

Becoming a Chartered Engineer with the ICE (CEng MICE)

A day in my life

A usual day for me starts at 5am.

I start my day with early morning prayers and getting ready for the workday, including setting things up for my three-year-old daughter’s day. She goes to pre-school while I’m at work.

I usually arrive at my office at 8am.

I take a tour around my department and ask after the wellbeing of my colleagues as well as those working under my supervision.

After that I start with my official work. That includes checking emails, attending meetings, site visits, consultations, and work related calls.

I try to finish this in the first half of the day.

The second half of the day in the office is mostly dedicated to mentoring and training staff, as well as my CPD activities.

A usual office day finishes at 5.00pm.

Once I’m back home, I dedicate one hour to my fitness regime that includes cardio, pilates, etc. After that I cook dinner for my family.

I call my parents, siblings and in-laws.

During the day, I take my time for the obligatory five prayers. My day ends with the night prayers.

If not for the creativity and intellectual daring of engineers, there would be no feats such as the pyramids in Egypt, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Yokohama Bay Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Lincoln Tunnel or piloted spaceflight. 

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

I became a civil engineer by chance.

However, someone who inspired me to excel in the field was my former direct supervisor, who saw potential in me and motivated me to be proactive and take the lead in projects.

Soon after, I graduated and joined my first job as a junior engineer in the public works department in Kashmir, India.

Later on, my mentor and guide, Dr Umair Farooq, encouraged me to become professionally qualified and be part of the ICE.

We asked Gouseya…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

If you’re someone who’s passionate about an ever-changing field, travelling, using common sense and expert knowledge, then civil engineering is the field for you.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

A new day to learn, excitement to be out there in the field and solve problems for the client, bring about solutions. Each day is different from the previous one. 

What motivated you, or is motivating you, to become professionally qualified?

Obtaining professional qualification as a Chartered Engineer is an achievement in itself.

It’s an internationally recognised benchmark of quality.

It was one thing that I’d hoped to achieve early in my engineering career.

What does being professionally qualified with the ICE mean for your career?

Being chartered with the ICE isn’t only beneficial to me, but to my company as well.

Getting an ICE professional qualification gives engineering professionals more credibility for what they know, what they can do and how well they do it.

This gives employers a big advantage by helping to raise standards of the organisation and making it stand out to clients when bidding for work.

What’s the best thing about being professionally qualified with the ICE?

Being chartered isn’t just about becoming a member of the ICE. It’s a complete package.

From the support one gets from the ICE and having access to one of the biggest technological and virtual libraries in the world, to the opportunities to learn and improve.

No other institution comes close to the ICE.

What do you value most about being an ICE member?

The recognition of being chartered with the ICE.

How has being a member helped your career?

Being an ICE member means that I’m valued and trusted to get the work done in a thorough and ethical manner. 

How did the ICE and your employer support you to become professionally qualified?

Throughout my journey towards chartership, whenever I faced any doubts, my mentor and regional membership development officer would help and coach me to overcome them.

The workshops and webinars also helped me to progress smoothly.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

That civil engineering is all about muddy shoes and dusty clothes.

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

Civil engineering is a science based on imagination, creativity and common sense.

Some of humanity’s greatest achievements were made possible by the bold imagination of civil engineers.

If not for the creativity and intellectual daring of engineers, there would be no feats such as the pyramids in Egypt, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Yokohama Bay Bridge, the Taj Mahal, the Lincoln Tunnel or piloted spaceflight. 

Has civil engineering helped you overcome any personal hurdles/difficulties?

I have become more patient. My endurance and resilience have increased. I see opportunity in every weakness or shortcoming.

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

I have not, till now, laid my hands on Lego!

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

I would love to be part of any civil engineering project that touches the lives of people at grass roots level.

A project that helps to alleviate poverty and food shortages and that improves sanitation and transport connectivity in rural and remote areas.

A project that is in sync with nature and helps to fight climate change. 

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

I’m a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mommy, a passionate crocheter, a creative knitter, painter, and a fantastic cook.

Gouseya's career path

After I graduated from high school, I had to compete with more than 100,000 students to earn a spot in the topmost engineering school of our state: the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, Kashmir, India.

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering with flying colours, earning the second position among the whole batch.

While I was still studying, I passed the GATE examination, a pre-requisite for master’s degree in the best engineering colleges of India.

I also secured an on-campus placement offer with one of the biggest construction companies of India, but I chose to go ahead with a master’s in engineering with a specialisation in structures.

After graduation, I joined the public works department in my hometown, where I worked for six years in various capacities, across various projects.

In early 2016, I moved to Kuwait and started work as a project engineer in ATS.

I got the opportunity to work on specialised inspections of various oil and gas refineries in Kuwait.

Right now, I’m working as the technical manager and projects lead for third party inspections, assessments and material testing.

Major projects

  • Design and analysis of water retaining and soil retaining structures across Srinagar for PWD in Kashmir (2008-2014)
  • Implementation of pilot project of the government of India, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Total Sanitation Campaign (2014-2016)
  • Lower Fars Heavy Oil Development Project, Kuwait Oil Company, Kuwait (2016-2019)
  • Inspection and assessment of cracks in concrete pedestals in Shuaiba inter refinery transfer-lines (IRT), for the Clean Fuels Project in Kuwait (2017)
  • New refinery project, Al Zour Kuwait (2017-2021)
  • New Gathering Centre GC 32, Kuwait Oil Company, Kuwait (2018-2022)
  • Rehabilitation of Shuwaikh Port, berth 1 to 7, Kuwait Port Authority, Kuwait (2022—on going)
  • Soil remediation project, Kuwait Oil Company, Kuwait (2022—on going)