Amey has today announced it has appointed Richard Egan as business director for its Scottish consulting business. Responsible for circa 350 consultants across its Motherwell and Edinburgh offices, Richard will lead the full life-cycle engineering firm as it sustainably drives improvements across some of Scotland’s most critical infrastructure. On the announcement of his appointment, the Scotland native shares his view on the importance of decarbonising Scotland’s transport network.
What is the biggest challenge facing infrastructure in Scotland?
Cleary the biggest challenge facing infrastructure is the need to reach Net Zero. We are very proud of our ambitious target here in Scotland - 2045 as opposed to the UK-wide 2050 target, with some of our local authorities working towards 2030. It is absolutely essential consultants such as Amey provide the decarbonisation capabilities necessary to protect our people and our planet.
Where do the opportunities lie to make progress?
Design can be the catalyst for change. We are consuming natural resources at an unsuitable level and as an industry, need to be better in how we design things. If we are smarter with our design, we can influence the carbon footprint of a scheme across its build, operation, maintenance and, in some cases, decommissioning. I think we need to get far greater looking at alternatives such as recycling, reusing, repurposing. We’ve got to be better at upgrading existing infrastructure rather than always wanting to build new infrastructure. Active travel is also huge priority area for us, having designed Scotland’s largest scheme in Levenmouth. Crucial to this understanding the outcomes clients and the people of Scotland want from their infrastructure.
But how do we better understand infrastructure?
Fundamentally, the answer lies in the use of data. We have a world leading data capability across Amey. We have recently employed a dedicated digital director in Scotland and our role is to work with clients on how they use their data to understand their assets and drive better decision making. If you look at Amey’s new mobile network data capability, having the power to assist local authorities in understanding who uses their network and why, is incredibly powerful. That way we can connect services in the most environmentally friendly way possible, while also targeting and predicting the best use of maintenance resource. Data is absolutely fundamental and sits at the core of what excites me about our business.
What else excites you about the business in Scotland?
What really excites me is the strategic, long-term relationships that we've got on the Network Management Contract (NMC) contracts with Transport Scotland, manging thousands of miles of highway and countless civil structures across Scotland. Those contracts afford us an opportunity that not many consultants have. They are long term, up to 12-year contracts and being consistently focused on delivering on those networks to the people of Scotland is hugely important.
I am also incredibly excited about the potential to bring Amey’s rail capability to Scotland. We have a unique offer combining design, data, operations and maintenance. When you see some of the achievements in Wales on the upgrade and electrification of the Core Valley Lines, it gets you thinking what might be possible for Scotland.
Finally, where do you see the business in 5 years’ time?
I want to see a diversified portfolio, including an expansion of our active travel capability along with climate resilience including flooding and drainage design. As mentioned, we want to grow our rail portfolio and I am very excited about bringing our data capabilities into new markets other than highways and rail. To enable this, we have to put EDI right at the top of our agenda. Recruiting diverse groups of people into unique, challenging and varied roles. I am a strong believer that diversity gives you diversity of thought and ideas and that’s exactly what we need to innovate and solve an increasingly diverse set of challenges.
Having joined Amey in 2015, Richard most recently worked across the Transport Infrastructure business unit on a number of complex projects and accounts. He takes up his role with immediate effect.