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David Puller

Age: 40, Area Design Manager, Bachy Soletanche, UK

Route to the job
After a first degree in civil engineering at Imperial College, London, I stayed on for a masters in soil mechanics. My first job was for Bauer Spezialtiefbau in Germany for whom I spent five years in the Middle East involved with specialist foundation contracting and plant. On site and in the office, I gained experience in estimating, designing and project managing. I then spent nine years with Atkins and Arup in geotechnical consultancy in the UK and Germany either side of a four-year spell in Hong Kong with Paul Y Foundation as general manager of the piling and diaphragm walling business. I joined Bachy Soletanche in August 2002 as area design manager in its southern office in Godalming.

Typical day
In the morning it might be a meeting in London to discuss a potential new project or a site visit to one of our live jobs perhaps to sort out some design issues. In the afternoon it could be back to base to catch up on progress on running tender designs and/or the production of construction information. Alternatively someone comes up with a great idea to win the next tender and we get into a huddle and someone in the design group ends up working the late shift again.

Highs and lows
It's all down to the last tender we lost, or the last tender we won.

Ambitions
In life - to own about two hectares of Gewurztraminer vines on the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand and live there. In work - to develop the design group in Godalming such that we continue to deliver safe and yet economical foundation solutions to our clients as well as clear and accurate construction information to our colleagues.

Advice
Get a decent civil engineering degree; work for both contracting and consulting companies - and travel as far and wide as you can.