The firm’s drum-playing, craic-loving managing director is no fan of excessive bureaucracy but loves working with passionate and creative people

MJ O'Shaughnessy b

MJ O’Shaughnessy is managing director (Glasgow and Ireland) at consulting engineers Will Rudd

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I have been interested in buildings and structures from a young age. I have always found how they were designed and built fascinating.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

My conservation accreditation (CARE) and working my way up to managing director.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

Growing our business, both from the Glasgow office, and through our expansion into the Irish market and opening offices there. The Glasgow team has grown from six staff to over 40, along with five staff based in Ireland.

Business growth and opening new offices will always bring challenges, but it has been an amazing journey and I could not be more pleased and proud of the team that we have created around us.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

In terms of bureaucracy, I am sure all of us want to see as few obstacles as possible. When you work on an exciting project, you don’t want there to be any unnecessary hurdles or delays.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?

My dad always told me, “don’t worry about the things you can’t control, plan as best you can with the things you can control first, then your worries will seem minor”.

statue of liberty

Less a building, more a truly amazing structure: the Statue of Liberty is MJ O’Shaughnessy’s favourite

Name your favourite building in the world?

There are so many amazing buildings in the world, but I think you only truly feel a building if you have visited it and have seen it at first hand. For me that was not necessarily a building, but a truly amazing structure and I thankfully got to go inside it - the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Which famous building do you most dislike?

The Fenchurch Building (aka Walkie-Talkie) in central London.

Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?

I would love to have been part of the team building the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Closer to home, I would love to have been part of the redevelopment of that iconic stadium Celtic Park.

Celtic Park

Celtic Park in Glasgow opened in 1892 but was redeveloped between 1994 and 1998

What single piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

Bring your personality and your drive and enthusiasm to the fore. The rest will follow naturally if you do this.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

It is hard to narrow it down to one person in particular. I love working with passionate and creative people who want to work collaboratively and do the best for each other.

What is it like being you (and doing your job)?

I have a very busy life day to day being a dad and being managing director of two of our offices. Every day is full of new challenges, but I love what I do.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Family is everything. Also, treat everyone with respect and how you would like to be treated.

What do you think your best quality is?

I think I am good at connecting with people and building a rapport quickly.

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

In myself, I could do with spending a bit more time on managing my diary because somehow I always end up in back-to-back meetings! In others, I don’t like to see any form of domineering behaviour that could discourage someone from fully participating in a meeting.

Name three things that you like

Spending time with my family, football and having the craic.

Tell us about a secret skill that we don’t know you have

I play the drums!

What is your most prized possession?

My ticket to Limerick’s first All-Ireland hurling final in my lifetime, which was in 2018.

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl.

What is your favourite food?

Ribeye steak and home-cut chips.

What would your superpower be?

The ability to stop time, make a few changes, get a few things done and then hit play again.