The associate in the building performance engineering team focuses on making new and existing buildings smarter, more energy efficient and comfortable to occupy. She has lived in Thailand and the US, has a bespoke curiosity cabinet and is at her least grumpy in the evenings
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Being heard. Being a woman in engineering is sometimes difficult. At times, people have misjudged my abilities and experience because of my gender.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
I would make it more diverse and modernise working practices to support women at all stages of their career.
Why did you choose construction as a career?
I chose engineering as a career because it allowed me to combine my love of maths and my problem-solving skills. I also knew I could have a direct impact on people’s lives, do my bit to help mitigate climate change and make people’s homes more comfortable and their heating more affordable and efficient.
What have you worked on that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the people I have worked with – seeing them develop and overcome problems to become incredible engineers doing so many different, brilliant things.
Most helpful advice you were given?
Work can always wait – I have a tendency to overload myself and work late into the evenings but that does not help me or my clients. Instead, take a step back, rest and come back to it in the morning refreshed.
What’s your favourite building in the world?
The Chrysler Building in New York. It is a beautiful piece of architecture. But there are so many buildings I haven’t seen, so I will probably change my mind down the line!
What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?
Hold your nerve. Learn as much as you can about different disciplines and find the place that you enjoy working.
Who do you most admire in the construction industry?
There are a lot of people I admire: Susie Diamond, Mariana Trusson, Dru Crawley, Amir Roth, Dennis Knight. They are all supportive and experts and leaders in their fields. But if it’s people I would like to be, then there is Amir Rezaei, Raghu Sunnam, Gretchen Maia, Katie Roberts, Ellie Relf, Lucy Cox, Lucy Rees, Zhuzhou Fu – all people I have worked with at the beginning of their careers and mine and their passion, sharp minds and abilities inspire me daily.
What I love about the construction industry is the team work. No one person can build something – it is a truly herculean team effort.
What famous building do you wish you’d worked on?
I am not really interested in famous buildings. I’m interested in working on many types of buildings to make them better places for people to live and work, and to address the climate crisis.
Which famous building do you most dislike?
Those that haven’t been designed with their tenants or the climate in mind – famous or not. I don’t like seeing buildings stand empty, particularly those that have been built purely for profit and investment.
What’s it like being you?
What do you think your best quality is?
My humility (it’s a classic, I couldn’t resist). Actually I am very analytical – I’m good at putting disparate ideas together and finding solutions that others might not.
What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?
Being judgmental. I try hard not to be. I don’t like ego and posturing in other people – I find that tiring.
Do you have a life philosophy?
I try and enjoy what I do, even if it is sometimes a bit tedious. But I always try and find the fun in anything I do.
Name three things that you like
My dog, the sea, and my friends.
What’s a secret skill we don’t know you have?
I can speak passable Thai. I lived in Thailand for a year when I was 18.
What’s your most prized possession?
I genuinely don’t know! Right now, I think it is the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda Lego figures that I got in my advent calendar last year. As long as Baby Yoda is OK, everything is OK. Or it could be my bespoke curiosity cabinet – it is beautiful, intricate and was made especially for me.
Early bird or night owl?
Very much a night owl, I am far less grumpy of an evening!
What’s your favourite food?
I have so many, I don’t want to narrow it down. Thai food like Som Tam, Ba Mee Moo Dang. Also Lebanese food, dumplings, tacos… the list is pretty endless if I am honest!
What would your superpower be?
I already have one! I am neurodivergent, meaning the way my brain works allows me to see the world very differently. If I could choose another superpower, I’d love to be able to fly – that just looks like good fun!
Annie Marston is an associate in the building performance engineering team at Hydrock