Engineering around the world: Mariano Serrano talks about his international career

22 Jan 2024

Celebrating an impressive milestone, we sit down with Mariano Serrano, our Senior Construction Engineer, as he marks 20 years of a dedicated international career. Having contributed significantly to iconic projects such as the West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne and the Queensferry Crossing in Scotland, Mariano's journey is a testament to resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to excellence.

1 - When and how did you join CaSE?

I joined CaSE in August 2021. I moved to Melbourne from the UK in January 2020 and resumed my contact with Jonathan Davies, whom I have known since our time at the Queensferry Crossing Project in Scotland. I learnt about CaSE from Jonathan, and we stayed in touch. Once CaSE opened an office in Melbourne, an opportunity to join the team became available.

2 - What do you like working at CaSE and what sets us apart in your opinion? 

I value that most of us have worked with somebody from the team before joining CaSE, which makes onboarding and adapting to the team’s culture much easier. I love that we can work with different teams based in different countries around the world. We aren't geographically constrained which means there is an opportunity to work on challenging and exciting projects around the globe. 

A lot of experience has been gathered over the years by the staff members at CaSE and we have a wide network of contacts between us all which again means we have access to some of the world's most interesting infrastructure projects.

A lot of my CaSE colleagues come from a variety of different types of construction project backgrounds. So, we bring on-the-ground experience to all the different services we offer.

3 - Your journey with our team has taken you from Australia to the UK. It seems like there's a great deal of flexibility for team members to work on projects around the world. Could you speak to the opportunities and advantages of being part of a team that operates internationally?

The first obvious advantage is that I had the chance to move from one country to another keeping continuity within the same company, and getting involved in different projects no matter if they were in Australia, the UK, or any other country.

Despite the distance and the time difference, our connected strategy means that the projects we work on are delivered with a combined effort from members from various teams around the globe. This provides a more diverse approach to the delivery of the scopes allowing each of us to learn something new through the process.

4 - How has the flexibility to work on projects in different countries contributed to your professional growth and what do you value most about the global nature of our organisation?

The possibility of working in different countries has allowed me to grow professionally as each change of country has brought new challenges in different social contexts, a new way of working, new collaboration methods as well as problem resolution techniques.

I believe the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone has helped me to grow personally and professionally.

5 - Having worked as an engineer in many countries, you've gained a range of international experiences. How do you think working in different cultural and professional environments has influenced your approach to engineering, problem-solving, and collaboration?

My international experience has given me the chance to appreciate different cultures, ways of life and work. I have become more adaptable and receptive to ideas and proposals from others. It has been a great experience in terms of making new relationships and connections and learning new languages, although my Spanish accent will always be there in all of them.

Having to deal with new circumstances in each country, I have developed a better approach to facing problems and how to try to solve them, both on a personal and professional front. The fact that I had to deal with completely new issues for me and had no choice but to seek help and advice from local people has helped me to apply that need for collaboration while working with others.

6 - Recently, you were engaged on the West Gate Tunnel Project. How did you manage the complexities of coordinating with various stakeholders while ensuring effective project delivery?

The West Gate Tunnel is a complex project with many technical challenges, and it has been my first experience working on a major project within a busy urban environment.

My strategy to deal with the multiple stakeholders involved has been to always maintain open and transparent communication and to view the stakeholders as part of the team and the solution, rather than ‘the ones to be disrupted’. The success of the project is as important to the construction joint venture as it is for the stakeholders involved in the project or simply affected by the works.

We established meeting regimes adjusting the frequency required with each stakeholder depending on the imminency of the works in the different areas. We tried to clearly explain the disruptions and what we needed from the stakeholders to minimise impact, ensuring program satisfaction. Great credit is to be given to the installation team as the program was tight and they are delivering extremely well.

7 - Over the past two decades, you've been involved in numerous large-scale projects around the world. Could you share with us which project stands out as your favourite, and what makes it particularly memorable or rewarding for you?

I have been lucky enough to work on a few major projects and each one of them has a particular significance, professionally and personally. The N25 Waterford Bypass in Ireland was my first work experience outside of Spain and a project where I built relationships that I still hold today. The NA30 Project in Montreal marked a significant step up on the project scale for me even further away from home, and the most recent West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne is a stand out project for me in terms of scale and complexity, and has been a unique opportunity to get to know Australia.

However, the Queensferry Crossing Project in Scotland stays on top of my list as it is a combination of all the above, and it is an incredible structure next to two already significant existing structures. The scale of the project was impressive, and it brought together people from around the globe, as the companies involved in the design and construction of the project were from different countries. On the personal front, Edinburgh is such a great city to live in and it saw us growing up as a family.

8 - Could you tell us about your future career plans and how you envision furthering your career in this new chapter?

I returned to the UK a few months ago and I am in this new chapter of my career. I am aiming to grow outside of the delivery of a project, which has been my path so far. I see myself becoming more involved in the early stage of a project during the pre-construction phase and also participating in developing our UK business.

Inspired to join a dynamic team working on major projects worldwide, like Mariano? Explore opportunities on our careers page and become part of a global force shaping the future of infrastructure.

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