Behind the job - Ryan Curtis, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer

  • 2nd March 2022

Tell us about you and your job

I first started looking into Mechanical Design Engineering when I finished school. I loved anything to do with engineering and I knew that's what I wanted to do. At college, I studied both electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. 

As a Mechanical Design Engineer, I get stuck into the inner workings of a building. Schools, hospitals and offices. Every building has a hidden network of pipes, wires and systems to manage everything from the heating, ventilation to the water and gas. I create detailed designs for each element to hand over to the team onsite to install them. 

I thoroughly enjoy working with the team at CAD21. It’s dynamic, fast paced and the projects are thoroughly absorbing. It’s a great place to work and I continue to develop my knowledge here. Making the move here has been great for me and my experience so far has been nothing but positive. 

What key skills do you need as a Mechanical Design Engineer? 

Communication is an essential skill. You need to liaise effectively with clients, talk to suppliers, coordinate with colleagues as well as build trusted relationships onsite with other engineers and specialists. Confidence goes hand-in-hand with communication. Often you will be required to present during large project meetings to provide updates and solutions.

Personally, listening is also vital. Learning on the job means actively listening to other engineers’ suggestions, approaches and solutions. There’s always something to learn no matter how long you’ve been in the job. 

What does your typical day look like?

I catch up with my team every morning to review the daily tasks and updates. My close-knit team of junior engineers is great. A big part of my job is reviewing their work. I enjoy seeing their progress, helping them to problem solve and watching their projects come to fruition. 

A typical day also consists of several client and supplier meetings as well as site visits. The rest of my time is dedicated to creating detailed specs for the installation of heating, ventilation or water and gas systems for a range of buildings. Every day is varied which I love. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career such as yours?

Studying engineering at college is a great starting point. It’s on the job where you start to understand the job and learn. In real-life things change, you have to problem-solve issues as they come up, manage your time, liaise with clients and work with other professionals to deliver projects. 

While working on the job, you can learn from colleagues as well as other engineers and specialists during projects. The key is to actively listen to what they advise, how they approach the project and to ask questions to expand your knowledge. 

What is life like at CAD21 and which project are you most proud of? 

The team structure at CAD21 and the support I have received is fantastic. This has really helped me to develop and fit into my role as Senior Engineer. I have been working closely within the full CAD21 delivery team including Building Physics and BiM. 

Although our offices and teams are split across various parts of the UK, CAD21 has a really good team ethos and all share the same work ethic which is really refreshing. Everyone is always there to assist with any queries which is always helpful.

We are very focused on sustainability and decarbonisation and are involved with this on several schemes which is amazing to be part of, getting involved with new technologies and ways to design and help the environment. 

One particular project I am very proud to be part of is a complex, multi phased Acute Health scheme at Stepping Hill Hospital. This has significant enabling and temporary works requirements and infrastructure upgrade elements requiring close collaboration between clinicians, estates, and the design/construct team. This will end up being a great facility for the future.

How did you find working with the team at Coleman James?

I had the pleasure of working with Alex Fahy, Coleman James’ Building Services Consultant. She spoke highly of CAD21, was able to talk about other candidates she has placed there and answer all my questions. 

Feeling confident thanks to her insight and support I agreed to apply for the role. I’m so glad I did. It’s been a fantastic experience so far. Throughout the application process, Alex had my best interests at heart. Still today she rings me to ensure I’m happy and enjoying the job. Thanks, Alex.