Large Abroad | 'My best project yet' - Jamaican plays leading role in terminal expansion at Abu Dhabi International Airport
When the Midfield Terminal Complex Development Project at the Abu Dhabi International Airport is completed, it will increase the airport's capacity by an extra 30 million passengers per year, covering 700,000 square miles with a central space that could hold three full-sized football pitches, and contain the world's largest baggage handling system.
Of the more than 20,000 people working on the project, none is perhaps quite as proud as Hopeton Austin, a graduate of Calabar High School, who serves as commercial manager on the project.
"In executing my role, I find commercial solutions that bridge the gap between the client's budget and the design team's proposals. For a majority of construction projects, this gap is large indeed," he told The Gleaner, while explaining his role in the expansion project.
A chartered quantity surveyor with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Austin got his first taste of large-scale international projects after completing his degree in quantity surveying at the University of the Reading in the United Kingdom. He also earned a masters of business administration in construction and real estate from the same university.
"I was successful in landing a full-time job with EC Harris on the Terminal 5 Heathrow Project whilst completing my studies part-time. This was an iconic project and a good starting point to launch my career," he said.
PROMOTED AFTER A YEAR
Now with Turner and Townsend, one of the largest global construction consultancy in the United Kingdom and the Middle East, Austin was promoted to lead cost manager after a year of joining the company as a senior cost manager. His assignment on the Midfield project is a recognition of his expertise in providing pre- and post-contract cost management and quantity surveying services.
"I would say this project stacks up to my best project yet," he added.
Long before his foray into large-scale international projects, Austin worked on various local and regional projects, gaining the necessary experience that has made him an asset in the international community of chartered surveyors.
Having started out as a laboratory technician before going to the University of Technology to earn a diploma in quantity surveying, he has worked as an estimator, and a site and cost engineer on several projects with companies in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas.
Austin has said he has his sights set on becoming an associate director at Turner and Townsend, an accomplishment which is well within reach based on his stellar work on the state-of-the-art terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport.