Megan Maclauran, project director for structural engineer Techniker tells Eloise Seddon why concept design gives her such a buzz and dogmatic people make her mad
What does your job involve?
I am primarily a structural engineer, but my position as project director means that I have to ensure that projects run on time, and that the documentation is correct. I have 20 projects on my books and in an average week I work on eight to 10 of them. At the moment these include a £2m office development in Camden, north London that is out for tender, the extension of an Essex school and a £2m housing scheme in Islington, north London.

As Techniker is a small firm with 15 employees and three directors, I also help out with the marketing and recruiting, which involves networking and following up contacts.

What is a typical day?
I tend to be either having external meetings, visiting sites or working at the office. If I'm in the office I often have a lot of meetings or I spend my time sketching drawings or co-ordinating and reviewing work with engineers and technicians.

What hours do you work?
I tend to start at 8.30am and finish between five and 8pm. I usually go to lectures, seminars or work-related receptions once a week, but I find it difficult to know how much time to put into networking when we are such a growing company.

Do you take your holiday entitlement?
I take all my entitlement as I love to escape to the mountains, either hiking or skiing. Last year I took a three-week hiking trip.

What gives you a buzz in your job?
One of the best stages is concept design when everyone is sitting around a table bashing out ideas. There are no hang-ups and it's great fun.

It is a really relaxing way of working and when the ideas are followed through I find it very exciting.

What frustrates you in your job?
I hate it when people are very fixed in their ideas and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't like working with dogmatic people who are not open to ideas and have no room for debate.

Do you lose your cool at work?
I try not to, as the danger is that when you blow a gasket once you get into the habit. I go out for a breath of fresh air if I feel stressed.

How do you switch off?
In order to unwind I do something active before crashing out. I find the physical a great counteractive to the mental – hiking and mountaineering in Scotland are favourites of mine. In London after work I'll go and socialise or do something sporty like go to the gym, practice yoga, or play tennis. Also I cycle everywhere.

What's your ideal alternative career?
If I had taken a different route in my studies, I would have been an architect as I need to be able to visualise things.


Current job
project director at structural engineer Techniker
Employment history
She worked for Alan Baxter Associates until 1995 and then spent three years with a Bangladeshi local development agency. In 1998 she moved to Harris & Sutherland in Singapore before joining Techniker in 1999
BSc in structural engineering, Edinburgh University, followed by a course in design studies at Harvard Graduate School of Design
Camden, north London
Has replaced her car with a mountain bike
Husband, John