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2023, out with the old and in with something much more exciting

February 21, 2024
Chris Ellis

Octavius Regional Civil Engineering Delivery Director Chris Ellis reflects on the  transition from an extraordinary challenging 2023 into a new, exciting, action and investment packed 2024.   

Chris starts by saying I am not going to say an awful lot about 2023. It was an incredibly difficult time for all our people. It is often when a team faces adversity that you really get to see the quality, energy, and fight of all the people around you. 

All that resilience, loyalty and hard work epitomises our business, the value our customers and subsequently the Octavius business placed in all of us. Each and every one of our people has played such a significant part through 2023 in getting us to the new future that we now look forward to. I am so proud of everyone and what we have achieved to get to this point.

I used the traditional December and New Year break to reflect on what did not go so well, how we can improve as well as take pride in what went well and in my closedown reflections, I found myself replaying a recent discussion I had with one of our site teams while we awaited the traffic management to be deployed. 

My colleagues tell me I have a reputation for asking a lot of questions, this is not intended to catch anyone out or make my colleagues feel uncomfortable. It is simply just that we work in very challenging and high-risk environments, and we can help each other just by asking questions. Having that confidence, we will get things done safely and right the first time, means we do not need to go back out there to do something again and allows us all to sleep a little better at night.

In those discussions an operative’s response really struck a chord with me, he said, “Sorry Chris I am just the digger driver”! He is a highly skilled operator, passionate about doing the right thing and super reliable, yet he himself did not feel important or as crucial to our project’s success as others. 

One of our business traditions is that we hold a stand down day on the first day back after the Christmas break. Our sites and offices are not open, and we get everyone together at our Wraysbury Depot to reset ourselves ready for the year ahead.

During this year’s session I took the opportunity to reinforce just how important every role is to every project and our business success. Everyone played their own crucial part in getting us through 2023 and for us to be so ready and well prepared to hit the ground running as strongly as we have as part of Octavius in 2024. 

I always try to emphasise and empower every single role in the Regional Civil Engineering team, to challenge us, continually improve and do things better today than we did yesterday. In this goal every role matters, we are nothing without our plant operators, pipe layers, yard persons, gangers, forepersons, commercial assistants, quantity surveyors, site managers and engineers. Nor can any of these people do their role most effectively without those crucial support services, HSEQ, accounts, HR, training, buying, compliance teams and those pre-construction teams focused on engaging customers and winning new business.       

The first quarter of 2024 looks set to be our busiest trading period for some considerable time and I am grateful for the team I have, and the confidence and reliance that our customers continue to place in us.  

Am I excited about 2024, yes of course, but as part of Octavius I am so much more excited about the next ten years and the world of possibilities in front of us!

For further information please contact: media@octavius.co.uk


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