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Lia Kolligri, Geotechnical engineer, Atkins


Geotechnical engineer

My Bio

"I joined Atkins’ ground engineering team in Birmingham in November 2011. The team was about 40 people strong with a wide range of skills and experience working on a variety of projects covering a number of sectors.

I started as a graduate geotechnical engineer and spent my first year in the survey coordination team for the Central Electricity Alliance supporting National Grid in delivering major substation projects. The role consisted of the design and supervision of ground investigation and other surveys, together with contract administration and project management. I enjoyed interacting with a wide range of parties, including the client, Alliance partners, Atkins colleagues and landowners, and I appreciated the importance of good cooperation and communication. I now have substantial knowledge of the UK electricity infrastructure and fully appreciate the importance of applying safe methods of working. Site work is key in engineering and it is an aspect of my work that I relish. Whether it was ground investigation in the beautiful Welsh countryside, a walkover along the muddy banks of the river Mersey or supervision of intrusive works close to 400kV equipment, the experience was very fulfilling.

After managing and coordinating a number of projects I wanted to expand my design capability. So I took the opportunity to get involved in major rail resignalling projects at Wolverhampton and Stafford. On these projects I’ve been designing signal foundations and other engineering structures which involves managing a large amount of data and offering the client professional and consistent geotechnical design services and support. It’s a challenging role but I enjoy the buzz of working together as a team to meet tight deadlines. My academic background includes mining and metallurgy so I’ve also seized the opportunity to be trained in underground gas storage by Evan Passaris and Garth Raybould – two Atkins experts who are leading practitioners in the field. That led me to two new projects in the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and deep geothermal sectors. I’m contributing to some really pioneering work which could have a big impact on the UK’s energy supply in the future. As a graduate engineer with Atkins working towards my Chartership with the ICE, I appreciate the flexibility to rotate onto different projects and sectors as well as actively participating in the educational, social and corporate events of our Ground Engineering Academy. I feel I’ve been receiving the support, advice and training I need at this stage of my career.

To date, I have been able to work in various Atkins offices and at sites across the country and met some of the best professionals and kindest people. I aim to improve my technical and commercial expertise. I sure have a long way in front of me, but so far I have been seizing the opportunities to move towards my goals by taking initiative and making sure I make the best out of my work. I am trying to balance out design, management and site work as I consider all three indispensable at this stage of my career."

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