Role Models - Clare Wildfire
Clare Wildfire (Director, Mott MacDonald)
Why did you choose Building services engineering?
Building Services is not solely a career choice for those interested in hands on experience of working things. In my experience, engineering in the construction industry is a profession that combines a varied and challenging intellectual environment with the need to mix with and influence people from many different backgrounds and professions.
What were your favourite subjects at school?
In education maths was my thing, but once graduated I realised I didn't know what one does with a maths degree apart from teaching, defence or some variation on accountancy, none of which appealed. It took me several years to find something that held resonance as a long term career prospect. I joined Fulcrum because the people were passionate about what they did, and their offer to teach me from scratch about not just building services but the buildings themselves was appealing. That was 22 years ago and having made it to Director of Fulcrum Consulting, alongside the original partners who interviewed me, I am now a project Director at Mott MacDonald Fulcrum.
What do you enjoy most about your current job or studies?
The topic of building services is vast, not just in terms of the technical content, which ranges from strategic to detailed design across many disciplines and in both design and site applications, but its successful execution also brings in the need for contractual, commercial and communication skills. The unwavering support and encouragement that I have received from my peers has been fundamental to my professional development and has given me a growing confidence in my ability to make a difference.
In today's world, where sustainability and energy saving are so important, the work we do is of increasing importance within the built environment. My current role in sustainability often puts me in unchartered territory and I frequently apply the problem solving skills from my education, using terms like 'too many variables' and 'depends on boundary conditions' to help me understand why the solution to an issue is proving elusive.
What are your future plans and aspirations?
My career aspirations are many: find ever more effective ways to influence behaviour with respect to climate change, forge a path for women in the construction industry, keep acquiring and disseminating knowledge. As part of a large global engineering and management consultancy, I have the opportunity to influence and make a difference, both within my company and externally in the industry as a whole.
Why do you think it is important to belong to CIBSE?
It seems to me that engineers who can communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively, and crucially have the ability to understand their audience's point of view, will have an increasing role as we look for ways to reduce the impact of climate change. Through careful leadership CIBSE is positioned to play a major part in this, and for those who want to make a difference it will provide both opportunities and guidance.