Managing Director: Shrpi Solutions
Will Sharp graduated from Loughborough University with a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2010. Having pursued a career in construction through Bechtel, he has recently set up his own company, Shrpi Solutions.
Loughborough was ranked highly when I joined, and was 5th in the NSS Survey. However, it was the campus, sporting facilities and overall atmosphere which finalised my decision to join and study at Loughborough University.
Nobody in my family was from a construction background and I therefore wasn’t quite sure what exactly Civil Engineering was when I started studying. The department was very welcoming and assisted my development, even introducing me to Bechtel who became my sponsorship company and eventually the company I joined upon graduation.
If you have the option to conduct a placement year, I would highly advise you to take it, what’s the worst that can happen? Even a bad experience is better than no experience. That being said, a good placement can hugely assist your future years of study, look forward to your future modules - gaining a placement position in a role where you will learn some information practically can give you a significant head start in related modules.
My placement was not ideal, I was in a role that I didn’t enjoy and it also didn’t assist my future studies, nor enforce my past studies. Some of the other students, however, had excellent placements, which allowed them to cruise through many of their later modules and also secured them summer work and full time positions after graduation.
Whilst my placement was poor, I would still deem it useful, when entering a career sector it can be as advantageous to know what you don’t want to do, as much as knowing what you do want to do. A placement can also provide you with a large professional network, which is always useful to secure a job after graduation.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did they affect your experience?
I can’t stress this enough - definitely get involved with extra-curricular activities at university, whether you are a top competitor or want to try something new, all experience is good experience, and it seriously adds to your university life. I played for university teams and held committee positions; I also played numerous sports at hall level, and joined several sports teams at a social level just to try them out and meet new people.
Again think about the end goal, future employers will see thousands of students with degrees, what will make you different? Extra-curricular can be that factor, whether it is an extra position of responsibility or simply a few new experiences which helped develop your character.
Most companies will enrol you into a graduate system and rotate you into many roles in your early years; this was no different for myself at Bechtel. I was seconded as a Bechtel staff member onto the Crossrail project in London (Crossrail is Europe’s largest construction project valued at £15 billion). Once on the project, I rotated into many positions and ended up staying for just over 5 years before finally returning to Bechtel headquarters.
My first role on Crossrail was as the Construction Automation Lead, which was totally different to my studies and somewhat daunting to me, developing and deploying a construction software system across the entire Crossrail project.
After this role in the headquarter office, I moved into various positions at several of the construction site offices, starting from on-site roles which gradually transitioned into management positions. Some of these positions/sites were enjoyable and some not so much (but looking back, they were all very beneficial, even if I didn’t feel that way at the time).
After 4 years, around my graduation from Bechtel’s early career hire programme, I returned to Crossrail headquarter office and was appointed as the Business Manager for Crossrail. This was a role that I had always wanted from when I first started on Crossrail and was an ideal final position before I returned to Bechtel.
Upon returning to Bechtel, I became the global construction representative for a very new, very small team called the Virtual Project Delivery team. The VPD team was a short term, established task team to revolutionise and implement new software and processes to enable data centric business operations and project execution for the future of the company. This was my last role with Bechtel, before I departed to start my own company.
I founded Shrpi Solutions in August and I am currently operating as Managing Director. Shrpi consults with companies, mainly from the construction industry, and deploys software to improve business operations.
I first interacted with Mobideo in my final role at Bechtel when we were looking for a suitable software system which had strong mobile and management platforms, but was also highly flexible to be deployed across a diverse range of projects and industry sectors in our company. I was particularly impressed by the Mobideo software and their company conduct. Upon deciding to leave Bechtel and found my own business, I approached Mobideo and developed a contract to become their first UK representative and value added reseller.
Shrpi Solutions is currently at an infancy stage, but I have a strong relationship with my software supplier and good contacts throughout several industries, I therefore anticipate a rapid and productive growth rate. Over the near and long term future, I look forward to developing Shrpi Solutions, employing new staff and creating an innovative, great place to work.