CIOB Community

Meet a member: From gymnast to construction student

13 November 2017

Construction management student, Novus representative and former professional gymnast Cameron MacKenzie tells CM how the key message from the Farmer Review resonated.

Tell us about yourself

I’m an ex-professional gymnast turned construction manager in my third and final year at Loughborough University studying architectural engineering and design management. During this time, I have completed two summer placements as an assistant design manager at Kier Eastern based from Cambridge. 

You have been heavily involved in Novus initiatives – why?

I heard of the CIOB and Novus even before I began studying. I immediately got involved with my local Novus branch (Midlands) and joined the committee as Loughborough’s representative. I recognised Novus as a fantastic opportunity to network and meet like-minded people and mentors. 

Getting involved with CPD and events is a great way to advance my professional and personal development, but importantly it’s also a lot of fun. I recently participated in the 2017 Novus Challenge in Wales, where we donned wetsuits, surfed Rhossili Bay and then completed a treasure hunt across Cardiff City (fortunately not in a wetsuit!).

“Construction is increasingly borrowing from the gaming world so my efforts [in game development] may well be applicable in the long run.”

Cameron Mackenzie 

Shortly after this I travelled to Hong Kong for the final of the CIOB Global Student Challenge, where my team finished third among fierce international competition.

It is this kind of amazing experience which makes linking with Novus and CIOB an opportunity which any student or young professional looking to gain chartered membership would be unwise to delay.

What is your career ambition?

Ultimately, my ambition is to be part of the exciting digital and technological transformation that I see sweeping through the construction industry. Last year I was inspired by the Farmer Review and the tagline “Modernise or Die” – what better calling than to be among the thick of this “modernization”, making a difference to industry and society.

Already, I see signs of fascinating new technology and innovation gaining pace with potential to revolutionise the industry, and I want to be well positioned to be able to drive this in the future. 

What would you have done if you hadn’t chosen construction management? Why did you choose construction?

I was always extremely curious growing up, which meant I went through a range of future “grown up” jobs. Besides wanting to be an author or historian, most notably I was hooked on the creative aspect of making computer games, even studying a BTEC in Game Development. Although I did not imagine it then, construction is increasingly borrowing from the gaming world – so my efforts may well be applicable in the long run.

Sport should also be mentioned, I started off as a keen cricketer but at around 10 years of age got into gymnastics and enjoyed a successful career which culminated in the Commonwealth Games in 2014. 

My dad is an MCIOB site manager, so I was never far removed from construction growing up. Over time, I began to meet some of my dad’s colleagues and I realised there was a massive management and design effort “behind the scenes” of every project.

My curiosity was spiked and after some further research and discussion with family I decided to pursue a career in construction management. 

What do you do in your spare time? 

Gymnastics has always been a massive part of my life, but times have changed and my body is not the well-oiled machine it used to be (I’m looking at you, wrists!). Since beginning university, I have reduced my training hours and compete only nationally, allowing me to fill my spare time with other worthwhile pursuits. 

A lot of my time is spent managing CAD Creations, a Loughborough University society that I started two years ago which has really become my pet project. Serving as founding chair, I have raised the society from a simple idea to a fully-fledged service, providing CAD (Computer Aided Design) academics and enthusiasts with a community to grow their skills and gain like-minded friends. Students have used involvement with CAD Creations to gain placements, and this has given me a massive sense of satisfaction.

I have also been active in my university department, running as a class representative for two years and most recently being elected as programme president to manage and support Loughborough’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering’s 30+ class representatives. A challenge I can’t wait to get stuck into.

Between lectures, gymnastics and my extra-curriculars I don’t have a massive amount of expendable time! But when I do relax, I enjoy playing golf, have been known to fish occasionally and I watch TV series and movies just like anybody else. 

If you’re an ambitious, dynamic CIOB member with a good story to tell email nicky@atompublishing.co.uk

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