Emily Slupek: My Career in Science and Tech Project Management
My name is Emily and I'm a Partner in the Project Management team in Oxford at Bidwells. I manage construction and development projects with a focus on science and tech. Here's my story about how I got into this exciting career and what I love about it.
Emily Slupek, Partner
Could you describe what your job is?
As a project manager, I facilitate the delivery of development projects, from refurbishments to ground-up builds. I work with private developers, academic institutions and publicly funded bodies, specialising in science and tech projects. In simple terms, I bring teams together to turn ideas into brick and mortar research facilities, labs, and innovation centres.
What do you love about your job? Why do you enjoy working in this industry?
I love the variety – my job ranges from motivating teams to learning the complexities required in design and construction, ultimately seeing meaningful projects completed. It's immensely rewarding to finish a major development knowing it will benefit the community for years. No two projects are the same, so each day brings new challenges and interactions. My role is very focussed on people and the interactions and collaborations between the team, networking and building relationships across the industry as a kay part that I enjoy.
Why did you pursue a ‘Science Aligned’ Career?
I didn’t plan to. It was good timing in my career to take on a sector lead role at the point at which the science and tech industry was growing. I took on the challenge to focus on this area and establish a reputation for our work in this area before the industry started heading this way. I directed my attention on building expertise and expanding my specific sector knowledge. I enjoy the constant learning and rapid evolution in this sector as it is relatively nascent and therefore is moving faster than other sectors in more stable areas. Advising clients on advances in the sector is very fulfilling.
Could you tell us about what an exciting day in your role would look like?
Variety is key - getting out of the office for real-life interactions re-energizes me. An exciting day involves strategising or problem solving in collaboration with others. My day can involve anything from workshops bringing the project team together to site visits to see buildings in construction, client pitches and interviews or roundtable discussions on the future of the sector. I'm motivated by understanding the clients’ drivers, challenging the team and driving the project to achieve our clients goals.
What three words would you use to describe what you do?
Drive, collaborate, communicate!
What are the most interesting projects you've been involved in?
Some highlights include a celebrity's art gallery, apartments built over rail tunnels, and numerous speculative lab builds for example at Harwell and the Cambridge Biomedical campus. I get satisfaction from navigating challenges alongside a team, I believe that most problems can be overcome with careful and considered through from a collaborative and proactive team.
My career shows how project management allows you gain a broad set of expertise. Allowing a journey that is constantly though- provoking due to the nature of each project constantly stimulating your interest through the variety that everyday brings. Specialising in science and tech means being at the forefront of innovation, understanding developments in the sector and being part of bringing innovations to life.