Tell us about your background?
I’m a civil engineer from Sicily.
I completed my bachelor degree in Catania then I moved to Torino in Italy, where I studied for my Master Degree, after which I worked in Torino for 1 year where I completed my Chartership after graduating.
When I was at school in Sicily I was always interested in Maths and Creative Arts. I had considered becoming a lawyer, but then decided to push my studies towards Architecture and Engineering as they combined my two interests.
My first year at University was focused on Engineering and it was at this point that I realised that engineering is what I wanted to be doing, so I focused on this and took it forward.
I moved to the UK in May 2016 after completing my Chartership in Italy and within the first 6 months I took my engineering role here at Farrat.
This was an exciting time for me.
I speak four languages, with Italian being my native and English, French and German being secondary, but I was nervous about taking a technical role in English as my second language. However, I have found it a great learning experience – especially as Farrat is so multi-cultural, there are a lot of people in our team from different countries, so we get to practice together. Farrat also provided a weekly session with an English tutor that was very beneficial in my first year.
Engineers on Ice – Adriana pictured with Oliver Farrell (CEO Farrat) and Joe Flores (Atkins SNC-Lavalin) at the 2018 ICE Annual Event
I saw something good for me at Farrat.
It is a family run company where you are continually faced with technical problems and challenged to solve them. That means you are always pushed to learn, as it is your responsibility to solve this problem.
In larger companies, you are not pushed to learn in this way. You are not pushed to challenge yourself and go beyond your limits.
I like that my role challenges me each and every day, I am always learning and looking to discover the best answer for my client.
Do any projects that you’ve worked on at Farrat stand out?
The first big profile acoustic isolation project I worked on was the Royal Academy of Music in London.
When I was reviewing the steel assemblies I was excited because it was more challenging than just standard rubber acoustic isolators and it meant that I was going to be working closely with Ryan our Technical Director to develop this solution.
Working with Ryan is brilliant because he is very calm and experienced. He is always reassuring ‘do not worry, we have the solution, we can do this’. I like this style. He also has great rapport with the clients and is respected amongst his peers such as the structural engineers, acoustic consultants and the contractors. You can learn a lot by working with him.
The first big project that I worked on in structural / building vibration isolation was Regents Crescent in London.
I also started working on 60 Curzon Street at a similar time, which is still ongoing (it is a big project!). So this was another step up for me because I was juggling the two projects at the same time, working with our Technical Director Oliver, who is also our CEO.
St Giles Circus in London is currently being constructed around a number of complex site constraints caused by underground rail.
One that I am very proud of is St Giles in London. I knew about the project early on and basically kept asking the client if there is any solution that they need until they finally said yes! They would asked me “why are you asking so early” and my response was always “because I know that at least if we start now and prepare the proposal early it gives us a lot of time to adapt to any challenges quickly”.
This actually was the best thing because the site did turn out to be very challenging. We definitely prepared the proposal at the right time because we spent almost a year adapting around unforeseen constraints and have avoided any major delays due to being well prepared.
We actually delivered everything for that project last week, so I felt very proud to see them being dispatched from the yard.
What were the key challenges for you on this project?
This was something new in a sense of managing the relationship with the client.
My role evolved to act as the connection between our engineering team and the client, making sure everyone is happy within two very big project teams.
I realised how difficult it is to communicate and prioritise everyone’s needs on large projects. I always work to make sure that the client receives the best possible customer service, but I also have to ensure that the team working for me receives that same level of service and respect.
So learning how to be a bridge between teams was a great skill I learnt on this project.