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Q&A: Talking with Program Manager, Jackie Roe

Jacobs’ Program Manager, Jackie Roe talks career, her STEAM heroes and comedy clubs.

Jackie Roe is an experienced Program Director who has spent more than half her life managing some of the world’s most complex, time-sensitive, and publicly sensitive infrastructure projects, including the Thames Tideway Tunnel Project, Rio 2016 Olympics and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She recently moved to Australia to support some of our Australian clients deliver their large-scale infrastructure projects.

In honor of International Women in Engineering Day, we’re connecting virtually with our team of engineering heroes around the world to showcase their careers and how each of them help Jacobs to live up to our promise of Challenging today. Reinventing tomorrow.

For this feature, we talked with Jackie about career, the STEAM heroes who inspire her and comedy clubs.

Tell us a bit about what you’re working on these days.

Having spent the most of the last eight years in the U.K. working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project in London and before that on the Rio 2016 and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I recently moved to Sydney. Now, I’m working with a variety of Jacobs teams to share major infrastructure project best practice and key learnings and to help steer and support our clients to success as they embark on larger and more complex infrastructure projects and programs than ever before.

What’s your favorite part of your role?

As a Program Manager, the fantastic variety that comes from bringing together fabulously talented people with diverse skills, competencies, experience and ideas to tackle the many challenges and find the optimum way to deliver the most complex of programs for our clients. No day is the same, I’m continuously spinning a multitude of plates covering health, safety and wellbeing, commercial, program controls, engineering, environment, quality, legacy and sustainability, integration, governance, assurance, team building, and nurturing our relationship with our clients and our many stakeholders. You can’t beat it!

We’re publishing this article in honor of International Women in Engineering Day and this year’s theme is Engineering Heroes. Who are some of the heroes who inspired you to pursue a career in STEAM?

I’ve never considered myself as having heroes, but if I reflect back on my career, my heroes are all those engineers I’ve worked with along the way who were passionate about what they did, brought much fun and laughter to every new task, who were happy to take time out to answer my never ending stream of questions and who encouraged me to jump with both feet into the next challenge on my career path. Even now, after 30 years in construction, I continue to add names to the heroes list!

When you think of engineers or engineering as a hero, what does that mean to you?

They are simply those that plan, design, construct and maintain all those things that enable society to flourish, which most people take for granted.  

If you aren’t working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

Checking out what’s on at the local comedy club, theater or venue. Lockdown as a result of COVID-19 in London meant live events were somewhat restricted, but I still managed to fit in a few socially distanced gigs in the early autumn between the lockdowns. Since landing in Sydney, I have enjoyed getting out and about again.

Most interesting career moment?

That’s a difficult one, because the most interesting career moment is usually the next one, when I’m embarking on a new challenge and learning something new! Some of those moments have been crawling around the nooks and crannies of the London Underground, accessing corridors and stations that have been closed for 50+ years , still with the old advertising on the walls; encountering and engaging with protestors on one or two of our projects, and having to look up many of the unrecognizable terms in the risk registers and reports from my team when I took over managing the delivery of the extensive landscaping works on the London 2012 Olympic Park... That was a whole new world for me!

What would you rate a 10 out of 10?

Working as Deputy Program Director on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project in London. It’s a challenging and exciting project with an exemplary collaborative culture and a hugely talented team — from the client all the way through the supply chain — with one aim: To clean up the River Thames and reconnect Londoners with the river. It was very hard work but also an absolute joy to work on the project.

Most proud career moment?

As someone who has spent most of their career building civil infrastructure that is either buried or hidden from public view and very much taken for granted by those who benefit from it, wandering around the Olympic Park with my family on the first day of competition at the London 2012 Games was pretty spectacular. Overhearing people saying how fabulous the park was, that even the utilities buildings were architecturally stunning and knowing that I and my team had been instrumental in making it happen, was a very proud moment. And even more so now, ten years on, when you see the park thriving, having delivered on our legacy promises.

What advice would you give to young professionals?

Grab every opportunity you can, even if it’s not the big, glamorous project you were hoping for. Some of the smallest projects and the oddest roles can be the most interesting with the best opportunity for learning new skills. Ask lots of questions along the way - in all my years in this industry I have never worked with anyone that hasn’t been eager to share their knowledge and experience. And, make the most of the great people you work with, including having fun with them.

People would be surprised to know that I….

Have been lucky enough to have set foot on every continent of the planet. Next stop, the moon!

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

You’ve hit the nail on the head with the question….it does feel like a family, with a very warm welcome wherever you go, no matter where you are in the world. But as someone who thrives on exciting work and solving complex challenges, the biggest draw for me is the myriad of fantastic opportunities to work on some of the most interesting and iconic projects in the world.

Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.

We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. Let’s see the impact we can create, together.

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