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Surrey graduate reflects on civil engineering career

The University was delighted to welcome back to campus graduate Darren James for the 2017 annual Civil Engineering Alumni Lecture.

From left are Alireza Behnejad (Teaching Fellow), Professor Michael Kearney (Provost and Executive Vice-President), Darren James, Professor Abigail Bristow (Head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering) and Colin Howard (Senior Tutor)

Darren, who graduated in Civil Engineering in 1990, gave the keynote speech on ‘Immersed Tube Tunnels to Digital Infrastructure’ to fellow alumni, students and industry partners on his 27-year career at Costain Group PLC.

As Managing Director of Infrastructure, he is responsible for the delivery of services for customers such as Highways England, Network Rail, Crossrail, London Underground and EDF.

Darren shared his extensive achievements, explored the highs and lows of his career and discussed how his Surrey experience has impacted on his career.

Darren spent his placement year with Costain, working on the A55 Conwy Crossing, and after graduating joined the Costain graduate development programme. He said: I was much more disciplined when I came back to do my final year. In fact I wrote a paper on the crossing which won the Institution of Civil Engineers 1990 medal and premium award.

“The civil engineering course at Surrey is highly regarded in the industry and makes you more marketable as a graduate. A Surrey degree is a great launchpad for what is a very satisfying career.”

The evening provided a great opportunity for alumni, industry friends, students and academics to network with one another and reconnect with Surrey.

Darren is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation, The Institute of Directors and the Institution of Civil Engineers and also a Non-Executive Director for the Port of London Authority, which is responsible for the navigable extent of the River Thames.

He represents the industry on the Prince’s Trust Construction and Business Services Leadership Group, championing the introduction of young people into the industry. Darren also sits on the University’s Industrial Advisory Board for civil engineering.

If you missed the evening, or want to hear again, here are the highlights

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