Fledgling engineer meets industry giants

Budding engineer Marcus Rodin enjoyed the opportunity to meet and interview two of the key engineers behind London’s iconic Shard building – the unusual prize in a national competition.

Marcus, a Year 13 student, had to write a short letter detailing why he thought he should be given the chance to meet Kamran Moazami and Ron Slade – the Project Director and Design Director for the 87-storey skyscraper respectively. The competition was run as part of STEM education, a government-backed initiative to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in schools and in Higher Education.

He was one of 11 winners given the opportunity to meet Mr Moazami and Mr Slade. All 11 students contributed to the interview and asked a number of searching questions, both about The Shard and about engineering as a career.

When asked why they had chosen structural engineering as a profession, Mr Slade said that his father had been a carpenter, which had sparked an interest in doing something “along those lines”, although he was unsure of his choices up to university level. Mr Moazami thought of becoming a doctor but his father discouraged him, telling him: “You know what, just think of yourself as a doctor for buildings and you’ll be good to go.” Kamran said he was thankful he had listened to his father.

""Speaking about The Shard, they revealed the challenge of fulfilling the architect’s vision. “Every building must have something iconic,” said Mr Moazami.

Marcus, who took part in a structural engineering summer school at Coventry University, said: “I enjoyed the opportunity to meet two leading figures in an industry in which I hope to work. It was an inspirational experience to hear at first hand the challenges and successes they face in every project they undertake.