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Meshi Taka

Meshi Taka

Associate Director, Waterman Aspen


Design, Construction, Water


United Kingdom
My highlights

Being a Chartered Civil Engineer.

Featured in the 2019 FT Top 100 Influential Women in Engineering

ICE North East Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) lead

A day in my life

A career in civil engineering is so varied – every day presents different opportunities and challenges! My day usually starts by setting out the team delivery plan.

Throughout the day, I’ll also have several stakeholder meetings. While technology can’t beat in-person interaction, it’s incredible that we have technologies in the first place that help us continue to do our jobs to the best of our abilities.

I dedicate much of my time to reviewing the most innovative ideas in the industry. I’m also involved in delivering one-to-one coaching to my junior team members. It’s a great opportunity to share knowledge while helping us all be the best engineers we can be – I’m always learning from them!

Finally, I’ll be engaged in reviewing and feeding into ongoing design projects, ensuring that we can reach our deadlines while delivering the best quality infrastructure projects possible.

My career inspiration

My dad, he was a civil and structural engineer.

We asked Meshi…

The most complex thing I’ve made out of Lego

A space shuttle, this was part of a “bring your kids to work day” – it took me 15 minutes or so! It’s a record that will take some beating, but I’m always up for a challenge.

What I didn’t know about civil engineering before I joined the industry

It’s an industry that’s constantly changing.

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

A mum, a big sister, a daughter, and a massive karaoke fan.

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

Having a plan of action to tackle the latest engineering challenges. As civil engineers, we have the privilege of solving problems every single day. We’re quite literally ‘engineering’ society’s problems and finding solutions that make the world a better place.

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

It hasn’t happened yet.

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

It has provided an escape, yes.

Work training/education and career

I completed a full-time university degree at the University of Bradford, with a year’s placement in the industry, followed by a workplace development programme.

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because...

It helps solve real-world problems. Until you embark on a career in civil engineering, you probably never think about how our work shapes society.

Everything from the little things that we take for granted – the water that we use to make our morning cup of coffee, to huge projects, like the Boston Barrier scheme, which helps protect more than 14,000 homes and businesses from tidal surges, are made possible through civil engineering.

I’m incredibly proud to call myself a civil engineer, knowing that what the industry is doing will positively impact our next generation – and hopefully inspire some people along the way.

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

We’re quite fun. There’s a massive misconception that civil engineers are incredibly studious individuals, conducting site work all day long in our hard-hats.

Of course, this is true to an extent – as an industry, we’re very hard working and dedicated to our profession.

But to be a successful engineer you also need to be a creative thinker and a great communicator – our success relies on our ability to communicate ideas and concepts to our team and the wider public. I’d say that’s far from boring.

Ultimately, we’re just people – with hobbies, families, and favourite television shows. Plus, some of us love karaoke!

Anything else?

I’m an avid and undiscriminating reader. I love singing and was even part of an acapella group in my teens. These days I stick to karaoke.