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Villie Xeni

Villie Xeni

Operations Manager (Projects), MiCiM

Having been inspired by a family of engineers and innovators, I had decided I wanted to be an engineer from a very young age. I selected STEM courses at school and applied to the School of Mechanical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, where I completed a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, focusing on energy and sustainability. My diploma thesis was on Waste to Energy methods, specifically about how to turn residue from the recycling process into a reliable source of energy.

Although energy and sustainability are fascinating branches of engineering, my real passion has always been construction. Hence, I looked for a career in this sector straight after I completed my degree. The opportunity came in the UK, for a company that specialised in building services, and was where I started my career as a graduate engineer.

During the first two years of my career, I was involved in various roles within the industry, from operations and design to estimating, working on very challenging and prestigious projects, with the most knowledgeable and inspiring teams of engineers. In the second year of my graduate scheme, I won the company innovation award, for my proposal to implement an electronic waste management system that would help monitor and reduce the waste generated on company sites across the country, while ensuring compliance with the waste management regulations.

My education, albeit very extensive, had been extremely theoretical, so I was keen to spend as much time based on site as possible. I requested to be placed on site as an apprentice for 8 weeks, where I learnt all the relevant terminology by expert tradesmen - mechanical fitters, plumbers, and welders. This helped me progress afterwards in more senior project engineering roles. My work on projects from the outset of my career has equipped me with the necessary skills of planning and prioritising the activities of a project, understanding the importance of delivering within challenging deadlines, and strict budgets.

After almost 6 years of working on the contractor’s side, I decided to move to a more client-facing role, and I was interviewed by MiCiM for a Project Manager position within the data centre industry. I saw this as an opportunity to specialise even further in the construction field and building services, commissioning of critical facilities but also to learn more around the Civils, Structures and Architecture. The two years I have spent with MiCiM I have been part of two exciting projects, worked with the most experienced people in the field and with important clients. My prior experience as a project engineer allows me to advise my clients on the design and programme aspects, but also on the practical side of installation to benefit from a time and budget perspective where possible.

At the same time, I am part of the team that build the sustainability strategy of MiCiM, and I focus on the element of emissions from travelling, with ultimate goal for the company to reach their carbon reduction targets.

Statement:

As ambassadors, we are here to show that construction and the build environment are open to anyone who strives for excellence in their field of expertise and welcomes people from all technical or non-technical backgrounds to join a challenging but rewarding industry.

Sessions