Anniversary reception for the engineer who doesn't like receptions

For 40 years senior project manager Steen Beck has upheld professionalism in MT Højgaard. He only made an exception once when he had to fool his boss. Here, the engineer and family man reflects on 40 exciting years in the construction industry.

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Small talk was never my thing. I’m simply not good at it. I’m an introvert person, and I need to get to know people before I open up. At receptions you can typically find me in a corner not attracting much attention. That is why professionalism has always been a good reference point for me to communicate from. I feel comfortable when the conversation is about my field. That has helped me get a large network along the way.

I am without a doubt an engineer and not the typical contractor who’s also good at in-house production. I like designing the projects and making them constructible. It’s better that others who have the talent for it take care of the actual construction. In MT Højgaard I’ve been able to contribute with exactly what I find interesting. That’s probably why I’ve stuck around.

Fooled the old school boss

I started in Højgaard Schultz back in 1981 after getting my Master of Engineering. My first job was to calculate statistics on two pylons on a bridge. It was tedious, and it took a long time.

We didn’t have PCs, and my boss was old school. He didn’t want us to use so called edp workstations. He wanted us to prove that we knew what we were doing. In reality he was very skilled and competent, but he was a tad too conservative.

I’m okay admitting that I cheated and calculated the pylons on my programmable calculator. I wrote the calculations from it on paper which I showed my boss. I’m not ashamed of that today.

Good times in London

My best memory? There’s a lot to choose from, but my five years in London from 1988 stand out. I worked on an office in Luton and a large building by the Thames where we had the concrete contract. It probably wasn’t the most beautiful building, but it was a fun project. Margret Thatcher made a speech at the topping-out ceremony. IRA was very busy in the days before, and the whole site was under surveillance by marksmen. That’s not something you see every day.

My time in London was exiting, and I learned a lot. It was an expensive time as well. I was lucky enough too meet my wife around the same time where I left. So, we travelled back and forth and spent a lot of money on plane tickets. But it was all worth it.

Room for life

My family has always been the most important part of my life, and I’ve always experienced respect about that in the company. We hear too many stories about people being stressed and working too much these days. If I could give the younger generations an advice it would be that family and life at home is very important. I’ve always put a lot of energy into my children, and I’ve had room for that in MT Højgaard as long as I did my job.

In MT Højgaard we have a professional spirit, and we strive to deliver a quality product and cooperate with the client. I feel good about that. Now my colleagues want to mark my anniversary with a reception. I’m sure it’ll be alright even though it’s not my cup of tea.

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