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Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer

Loti (Lancelot) Aho, Opus

Earning: $42-62,000
In a nutshell: Civil engineering for roading projects.
Why? “I love doing things in the community.”

Pathway Schooling in Tonga, Year 13: Calculus, Statistics, English, Chemistry, Physics
University of Auckland: Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Civil Engineering

Before embarking on university studies, Loti Aho spent some years doing other things, including missionary work. Now he works as a civil engineer on roading projects for Opus.

His first 18 months with the company were spent in Timaru, where his memorable projects included the reconstruction of a bridge. Although only a recent graduate, Loti was given a lot of responsibility on the project, which he found very exciting.

“We needed to pull out the old bridge and dig out the old foundations. I was there from the start to the end, and it was really cool working on a real project rather than just studying the theory.”

He has since moved to Auckland, where he works to keep roads and pavements in the Manukau area in good condition. Manukau City Council is a major client for Opus, and every year they assess all the roads in the region, prioritise which roads need to be upgraded, and allocate the work accordingly.

The work ranges from road rehabilitation (for example, stabilising the existing pavement and resurfacing it) to road reconstruction (removing a section of road and replacing it).

Loti is part of the Projects Team. Once the physical work starts, he is in close contact with the contractors who actually carry out the work, and often visits the sites. “We need to see that the contractors have good traffic management, environmental, and health and safety plans in place. And we need to check that they are doing the work according to the agreed plan.”

Currently, Loti is involved in Transpower’s project to build a new substation near Whitford. This requires a road to be reconstructed, as three large cables have to pass deep under the surface. He designed the stormwater system on Brownhill Road, which required him to work out the size of the pipes that will be needed to carry the predicted amount of water, how much cover will be needed for the pipes under the road and where stormwater runoff will go.

Loti is enthusiastic about what he does. “I love my job as I am always learning new things. You are using your mind. I also love the team work and doing things in the community.”

Posted November 2011

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