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Hameed Jehanfo

Hameed Jehanfo

director, Deep Spark Ltd

Expertise

Design, Project Management

Location

United Kingdom
My highlights

Working on the M42 Smart Motorway Schemes Pilot Scheme

Working on tender designs for the Thames Tideway Tunnel (‘the supersewer’)

Working on the High Speed Two (HS2) schemes

A day in my life

A day in my life ranges from:

  • working on hand-sketches to illustrate and understand practical solutions
  • analysing traffic forecasts and loadings to inform pavement designs
  • reviewing client requirements to produce bidding packages and commercial aspects
  • ensuring the right information is passed on to the right people so they know about other designs

I could also be holding meetings with clients to discuss progress on projects in the morning, and then be out onsite in the afternoon to collect data on existing site conditions.

Working alongside architects, urban planners, environmental scientists, and other engineers has shown me the importance of combining diverse expertise to achieve thorough and innovative solutions.

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

My father.

He had a civil engineering construction company when I was growing up.

So, from a young age, I was immersed in the world of construction, witnessing firsthand the intricacies of building and infrastructure projects.

Visiting job sites, observing the coordination of heavy machinery, and seeing blueprints come to life sparked a deep interest in how things are built and how they work.

My father’s passion for his work and his dedication to quality and precision left a lasting impression on me.

I developed a deep interest in engineering principles behind various projects, from foundation laying to structural integrity.

This provided me with practical insights and a strong foundation in construction principles, motivating me to pursue formal education and training in civil engineering.

We asked Hameed…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because …

It’s such a varied discipline, allowing mathematical ideas such as geometry and spatial analysis, to combine with more practical concepts such as aesthetics and structural forms.

When one works on a civil engineering project, be it a road, a bridge, nuclear plant and the like, you create something tangible that touches the lives of people.

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

I often build model Lego towns or cities with my children, and this would normally take about a couple of days to a week.

These model towns or cities would have highways, overbridges/underbridges, ramps, parapets and junctions.

The building process requires attention to detail and problem-solving, just like the engineering challenges faced in the real world.

I hope these projects not only fuel my children’s passion for highway systems but also sharpened their skills in design, planning, and execution.

These will all be essential in their professional roles should they choose to become civil engineers.

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

A keen footballer. I used to play in the Basingstoke Sunday league for Chineham Athletic. These days I play in a number of five-a-side football clubs and groups.

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

It’s the opportunity to make such a direct public impact through the projects I work on.

We are in such a privileged position to make a real difference in people’s lives.

For example, by improving junctions and massively reducing journey times or completing safety schemes that benefit public health.

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

I didn’t fully appreciate the extent of collaboration across disciplines involved in civil engineering.

Working alongside architects, urban planners, environmental scientists, and other engineers has shown me the importance of combining diverse expertise to achieve thorough and innovative solutions.

This diversity of perspectives is enriching.

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

The Lower Thames Crossing being carried out by National Highways. I used this project as part of my doctoral research, where I quantified whole-life cost implications for making the designs suitable for self-driving vehicles.

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

There's a viral internet meme that surfaces every now and then suggesting that the Romans built longer-lasting roads without any academic qualifications, yet degree-qualified engineers are not able to design roads that lasts beyond a few years. They point to those Roman roads that still exist today.

Clearly, this ignores the fact that the loading from horse-drawn carts is substantially less than that from a 40-ton articulated truck, which means the stress-strain regimes can't be compared.

Also, this myth assumes that the survival of some of the Roman roads to this day means they must all have been so robust, when in fact there were much weaker roads that have now been washed away.

Another aspect this misconception ignores is that sustainability is much more important in modern road pavement design, with emphasis on balancing material use against design life of infrastructure.

The Romans didn't apply this principle, and probably over-designed in certain cases.

What are you doing to help fight against climate change?

I was a research fellow under the RENKEI programme, a Japan-UK education network that fosters collaboration on climate adaptation for infrastructure. I presented on this theme to various departments at the University of Kyoto, Japan.

Any hobbies or personal causes?

I'm a career mentor at the University of Southampton, supporting students by addressing their questions regarding engineering career choices.

I was a also STEM Ambassador in south-east England, where I sought to encourage interest in engineering as a career to year 10s and 11s.

Has civil engineering helped you overcome any personal or professional challenges/difficulties?

Being a member of the ICE has made it possible to meet and make connections with people outside of my work, providing social networks and interactions.

Hameed's career path

I studied my civil engineering degree at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Ghana from 2002 to 2006.

During this time, I did an internship at the Ghana Highway Authority, working in the road maintenance and soils laboratory.

I then relocated to the UK a year after graduation, joining the then Mouchel Parkman (later Mouchel, and now WSP) as a graduate engineer in 2007.

In 2013, I joined Rendel (then High-Point Rendel) as a highway engineer.

Between 2017 and 2023, I completed a PhD in transportation engineering with a sustainable infrastructure systems theme at the University of Southampton.

During my PhD studies, I lectured on highway and traffic engineering modules.

I also founded Deep Spark Ltd, a civil engineering consultancy that provides highway design and transportation engineering services to clients.

The company also provides highway engineering and construction training to government bodies.