Hugh Goddard was studying engineering at university in his native Dublin when the opportunity first arose to visit Aotearoa New Zealand and play rugby in the King Country. “While there, I met a lovely Kiwi girl, and the rest is history,” he says. “We now have four wonderful kids and live happily north of Auckland.”
After graduating, Hugh secured his first role as a graduate engineer in Nelson. “I worked there for about four years in consulting engineering roles and contracting, then up to Auckland for a year before heading back to Ireland.”
The next four years saw Hugh gain valuable experience in civil engineering on a large motorway project, followed by honing his business development skills. “I got to work overseas in a lot of jurisdictions including the Middle East, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the UK.’
“But when the opportunity came up to move back to New Zealand with a large Tier 1 company, I jumped at it.”
Attracted to the diversity and scale of the projects, Hugh saw an opportunity to take on more responsibility and develop as a leader.
“In New Zealand you generally get thrust in the deep end pretty quickly,” he adds. “That often means you’re given responsibility much earlier in your career – but in a supportive environment where you can thrive and develop your skills.”
True to his ambitions, Hugh is now Managing Director of Pipeline & Civil, one of New Zealand’s leading critical infrastructure engineering firms.
“I love that the work here is varied. There are lots of geotechnical and geological challenges due to the terrain, even down to rock types and different types of soils that you’re dealing with. From an engineering standpoint, it makes it interesting.”
As well as the engineering challenges, Hugh enjoys the can-do attitude and ongoing desire for innovation. “The construction sector here is very open to challenging the norm and looking for new solutions, being creative and trying out different things. Not just doing the same thing over and over but looking for those new solutions that are going to be groundbreaking, introduce new technologies and apply them in a practical sense.”
Hugh agrees that critical infrastructure will be crucial to the future of New Zealand’s growth. “The scope and scale of the building projects to be done is substantial. New Zealand is a young, growing country, and it needs creative and hardworking engineers to come here and make a difference.”
So, having worked all over the world, how does New Zealand compare? Hugh smiles. “Business can be done a lot more easily in New Zealand, and working with New Zealanders is a real pleasure. Because of the diversity of the workforce, you get a really good range of views brought to the table, which in turn enables good decision making.”