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Immigrating to a new country is a big decision for a family, even more so during a global pandemic. Andy shares how his family made the move to New Zealand and why the kiwi culture, Beca team and outdoor opportunities have made it all the worthwhile. 

What is your role at Beca?

I joined Beca as Technical Director in the Auckland Ports and Coastal team in early 2021. 

What do you remember about your first day? 

I arrived in Auckland when the borders were closed because of Covid-19 and was very fortunate to have Beca’s support through a very difficult and challenging year of trying to re-arrange visas. My first day in the office I remember being welcomed into an open plan and busy office. After having taken a year off to look after the kids I was a little nervous but the people in the office were so welcoming that I soon felt part of the team.

How did you decide what country to move to?

As a family we have travelled to some amazing places and had the opportunity to live and work in India, Australia, Malaysia and the UK.  We had been back in the UK for about four years when the opportunity came up in New Zealand and as we had holidayed and had friends there, the opportunity seemed like a good one. We thought, what better place for our kids to grow up and have adventures.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about relocating to New Zealand? 

With closed borders it can feel a long way from home, however there is so much to do here, the people are so friendly, the food is excellent and eventually the borders will become softer.  

We’ve really enjoying exploring Maori culture, history and values too. New Zealand shouldn’t be seen as a westernised island, it has an amazing story and the Maori culture is something really worth learning about and gaining a better understanding of.

How does it feel to be a part of our Transport & Infrastructure team?

The T&I team is a big part of Beca and the projects that we deal with are often nation shaping. It really does feel like you are part of one big team that is working on projects that make everyone’s lives a little better.

Do you work as part of a virtual team? What do you enjoy about connecting with other regions/countries?

Beca has some great systems in place to make the virtual workplace work. There is nothing like being part of a physical team but the technology that we have to work with colleagues and clients all over the country and our market areas is very good and saves a huge amount of time wasted travelling!

How do you leverage flexibility at Beca?

The thing I have noticed most about the Beca culture is that people are respected. There is a level of trust in the organisation that we are all pulling our weight and working towards a common goal, this allows people to take a flexible approach to their work and importantly in how they fit things in around social lives and family. 

How does the work you do ‘make everyday better’?

We are not a company of tens of thousands where anonymity can lead to lower levels of project ownership. Our work really matters to people that we know and live alongside.

What is the most interesting client problem you have solved?

There are some great engineering challenges coming up in the Coastal and Ports spaces in NZ and the South Pacific. These challenges are going to need some pretty big solutions and we hope to support communities when it comes to planning for the future and the managing the impact of climate change. Every day we are looking at issues around sea level rise and storm event frequencies that require complex and affordable solutions.

What’s an issue facing our business that important to you and why?  

How do we decarbonise the construction industry? We rely on concrete and steel for most of our projects and when it comes to the Ports and Coastal structures, we are talking large structures and large forces. We need materials that can meet our requirements, but we are a long way off finding zero carbon options to replace our standard materials; reducing the quantities through refined design is important but not the long-term answer.

I believe it’s the next generations of engineers who will be the ones to find these solutions and the digital tools that we use for the designs will be far more advanced than we envisage at the moment.

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

Family.  Last year the Border Closures forced me to take a year off and home school my two kids who are 10 and 11.  It was a brilliant opportunity to spend time together and despite the lockdowns we had some cool adventures together as a family.  And I am a big fan of cycling and have in the past cycled the length of England and I would love to do the same in New Zealand.    

We are not a company of tens of thousands where anonymity can lead to lower levels of project ownership. Our work really matters to people that we know and live alongside.

Andy Harvey

Technical Director - Ports and Marine