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Panagiotis Stratos

Panagiotis Stratos

structural engineer, SNC Lavalin Atkins

Expertise

Design, Project Management

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

ICE President’s Future Leader 2021/22

Watching the first school I designed through to completion

Winning the Consultancy of the Year Award at the 2021 Insider Property Awards Wales

A day in my life

I wake up at around 7:30am to catch up with emails and plan my day accordingly. Following that, I try to catch up with the news, as I find it very important to be aware of the world.

My day usually constitutes several meetings and calls which are required to coordinate the different parties working on every project.

Once this is done, I focus on undertaking design calculations, getting design drawings ready for construction, and responding to queries from the site teams.

Occasionally, I go on site visits and conduct investigations on existing buildings and observe the construction progress on projects.

While other kids were going to the playground with their family, my playground was the construction site. Growing up in this environment, I couldn’t imagine myself deviating from this path as I ended up loving the buzzing environment of the construction sector.

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

My family played a great role in my decision to become a civil engineer. From a very young age I was introduced to the construction sector by my grandfather who was a master builder who created beautiful stone buildings.

In addition, my father and my uncles have worked as contractors for the past 35 years. While other kids were going to the playground with their family, my playground was the construction site. Growing up in this environment, I couldn’t imagine myself deviating from this path as I ended up loving the buzzing environment of the construction sector.

We asked Panagiotis

What is the most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego?

I’ve been enjoying working with my five-year-old nephew on several different Lego constructions, while increasing the complexity of the structures gradually. This has allowed me to walk him through how structures work. The last structure we made out of Lego was an approximately 600 pieces arch bridge.

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

The fact that civil engineering jobs are so diverse that you can practically pursue different avenues.

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

The fact that no one day is like another, also the feeling of satisfaction I get after solving a problem; this is more than enough to get me out of bed and keep me going.

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

The Rion – Antirion Bridge in Greece, which is considered a modern engineering marvel. Growing up, I witnessed its construction and have heard about the extremely difficult physical conditions that the engineers had to consider during the design period.

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

As a civil engineer you have a unique opportunity to witness the construction of your own project. The feeling of fulfilment you get when you see a project you’ve worked on being completed is remarkable.

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

Civil engineering is not only about technical knowledge. As an engineer, you need to sharpen your soft skills as much as your technical abilities.

You need to be an effective team player who can communicate and collaborate with several different stakeholders, inspire colleagues, and lead a team effectively.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

A basketball, tennis, and volleyball player. I love cooking, and solving complex puzzles.

Anything else?

As well as tennis, basketball and volleyball, I’m training in boxing. I’m also taking online courses in Python (programming language) and attempting to learn Arabic.

Panagiotis' career path

I completed a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a masters in structural engineering at Cardiff University. I also obtained a PhD in civil engineering on the behaviour of compacted bentonites (a type of clay) at elevated temperatures, which can be used for deep geological nuclear waste disposal.

I undertook site engineer placements every summer during my BEng and MSc studies at my family’s construction company in Greece. During these years, I worked on the construction of a high school and a new hospital wing in the city of Messolonghi.

During my PhD, I worked as a teaching assistant delivering lectures to undergraduate students.

In 2016, I joined Mann Williams as a graduate structural engineer and worked on an array of new builds and conservation projects.

In 2018, I joined SNC Lavalin Atkins as a structural engineer and had the opportunity to work on several different projects of varying scale, in sectors such as education, healthcare, and defence.