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Strathclyde Business School Strathclyde Business School

Creating sustainable futures for our urban centres

By Gavin McAdam - Posted on 22 April 2015

Gavin McAdam, Director of Plan Management, talks about why he decided to take the MSc in Global Sustainable Cities, starting in September 2015, which aims to create future leaders in the design and delivery of sustainable city strategies. 

I am the founder, owner and managing director of a professional services consultancy company, Plan Management, specialising in client project management. While originally set up in Heathrow, I have been basing myself and our staff more in Scotland over the past two years. Our new headquarters is opening soon in Glasgow but we plan to retain both clients and staff south of the border.

We developed our business out of the aviation industry, specialising in acting as client representatives mainly in senior roles in the development and delivery of capital investment programmes.  We ultimately deliver into service new assets, infrastructure and processes. We pride ourselves on investing in young local professionals and have two promising project managers currently completing our training programme.

The business has been successful and we now employ 12 professional staff with varying areas of academic qualification and expertise from a wide range of backgrounds including civil engineering, building management, quantity surveying, sustainable energy and environmental management, the built environment and building services.

So, with the business doing well, why did I choose to do the MSc in Global Sustainable Cities?

The answer is twofold:

  1. The business needs to diversify, grow and adapt to emerging markets and client needs/trends driven by evolving technology, legislation, carbon footprint commitment and resource(s) management.
  2.  I personally thought it time to challenge myself (again) and lead the business on to create new and exciting opportunities for the company, my staff and myself.

I did my research last year and broadly knew this area of engineering and/or business was developing fast and required the skills of seasoned professionals with the correct knowledge and experience.

Having investigated options at other universities, I found the energy systems, technology and engineering courses did not seem to be unique and clear enough in what I could take from it - until that is I came across the course I am enrolled on now.

The MSc in Global Sustainable Cities  is unique in that it is based on real world experience gained from international projects.  With more than half the world’s population now living in cities, achieving sustainable futures for urban centres is a growing issue. Commercial and governmental interest in this area is growing dramatically in addition to investment and innovation opportunities.

The refreshing approach and new topics covered instantly caught my attention and I liked the idea of the project-based assessment at the end of the course as opposed to doing a dissertation. When I dug a little deeper and discovered the leading nature of the role of Strathclyde Business School, and Glasgow as a city, in the Step-Up programme - amongst other initiatives - my decision was signed and sealed.

It has taken some planning on my part to extract myself from the business to do the course and myself justice, without detracting from our commercial aims. However the staff and course representatives have been fantastic in allowing me to tailor a plan to do so.

While the course does not start until September, I am already enrolled, registered and attending lectures on two elective subjects ahead of the September course start date with a further elective starting later in the year. This is largely down to the very open, accommodating, welcoming and can-do attitude of the people involved from the economics department.

I look forward to the coming months of the course, getting to know the staff better and working in this new and exciting field in the future.

To register for the upcoming Future Cities event, part of  'Engage with Strathclyde' taking place 5th-8th May, click here.

You can find out more information about the MSc in Global Sustainable Cities here.

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