After celebrating his 14th anniversary at Howard Civil Engineering in April, Steve Dakin was recently promoted to Contracts Manager – a testament to his dedication to the construction field. To recognise these significant milestones, we spoke to Steve to discuss his career journey, the experiences that shaped his path, the challenges he has overcome, and more…

Firstly, could you walk us through your career in the construction industry; where did you begin, and how did you get involved with HCE?

I first started working in the construction industry at the age of 19. I had just completed an engineering course at a local college that gave me exposure to electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering – when I completed the course, I was sure that I wanted to go down the civil engineering route, so a family member who was a machine operator/groundworker offered me a position as a labourer.

Your journey from Labourer to Contracts Manager is undoubtedly impressive – could you give us some insight into your 14-year career at HCE?

I first joined HCE when the team I was with was offered work at York University. Before starting with HCE, I had previously worked for much smaller companies, so I was immediately impressed with the structure and ethos that HCE possessed. From there, our team progressed within the company, visiting various projects along the way until we were offered work elsewhere by another company. While my team made the decision to move on. I decided to stay with HCE.

In 2015, I was asked If I would like to become a site supervisor, and after some deliberation, I decided to take the plunge. Over the next few years, I was progressively given training, support, and guidance by the wider HCE management team. This allowed me to move into site management, project management, and contract management in a relatively short amount of time. 

What is it about your job that you’re most passionate about?

I’m passionate about helping our younger colleagues achieve their goals by assisting them as much as possible in learning their trade. If it wasn’t for the help and assistance I was offered during my career, there would be no way I could have progressed to the position I now hold. It’s really rewarding to do the same for others; seeing them apply the knowledge that you have helped them develop, and watching them progress and improve in their own career paths.

What kind of challenges have you faced throughout your career, and how have you overcome these?

I think all the progress you make comes with its own specific challenges and responsibilities. But if you commit yourself to what you are doing, and you have a real drive and determination to learn and improve, you will undoubtedly do well. I have also never been afraid to ask questions; if you don’t ask the questions, you will never get the answers.

How do you think the overall industry has changed since you began? Do you think things have progressed in the right direction?

The industry has improved massively during my career. The fact that we are now utilising systems such as Field View, My Training Passport, as well as HAVS watches as part of our day-to-day routine, are all huge steps in the right direction. I’m also proud of the fact that, as a company, we are driven to seek out the latest innovations and improvements, in addition to putting so much consideration into social values and environmental sustainability. 

Is there any advice you’d give to those looking for a career in this industry?

The construction industry is an extremely interesting and rewarding sector to work in – one that is full of knowledgeable people. Listen as much as you can, ask as many questions as you can, and push yourself to do the very best you can with every task you are given. If you have the right attitude, self-motivation, and a willingness to learn, there is no end to how far you could progress.

A huge thanks to Steve for taking the time to answer these questions for us – this kind of insight is invaluable, and we take great pride in being able to share it. If you’re interested in a career here at Howard’s, be sure to visit our careers page today by clicking here.