Tom Whitmore – BEng (Hons) Civil and Coastal Engineering graduate

Year of graduation: 2002

Current employer: Geomarine

Current job title: Managing Director

Current location: Guernsey

“The foundation for everything I’ve achieved in my career was my degree at Plymouth.”

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your studies.

Since graduating, I have been living and working around the UK and Republic of Ireland, working with great people on great civil engineering projects.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I have been lucky enough throughout my career to have been involved in so many exciting things; but, most recently, I would say it would be working on an offshore lighthouse and getting there via helicopter probably tops it, particularly as we won an ICE Southwest Civil Engineering Project of the Year award for that project.

What would you do differently since graduating?

I would have become a chartered engineer much sooner.

Imagine you were about to start university again – with the benefit of hindsight – what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I think I could have been more diligent in my studies without sacrificing the other aspects of university life. But that is easy to say in hindsight! It is about striking a balance and maximising all of the life lessons available at university.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

I visited Plymouth and two other universities whilst making my selection. The main reason was the coastal and marine engineering elements of the degree course. I also got a good feeling for the place and liked the location. The coastal and marine specialism was very significant because this was the area I was most interested in. My first job after graduating was in a marine structures team within a large consulting firm.

How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the university how did they enable you to get to where you are today?

The services I used were very good and I was able to find support whenever I required it.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

The key thing was that studying at Plymouth enabled me to achieve my career plans, rather than change them. At the age of 36 I am the Managing Director of a company employing 60 people doing eight million pounds-worth of great civil engineering projects each year. The foundation for everything I’ve achieved in my career was my degree at Plymouth.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

I had so many good times in Plymouth and I still keep in touch with many of the people with whom I made those memories. The most distinct memory I have is the feeling of achievement and elation when we completed our last exam. It felt like I had done what I set out to do and it was the start of a new era: any possibility was open to me.

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

Plymouth had a strong emphasis on practical application and links with industry. The lecturers from whom I learnt the most were those who had experience in this respect. Also, I cannot recommend strongly enough doing a placement year.