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Meet the Directors - Rob Panter

22 April 2021By Rachel CleaverBlogUnder: Engineering , Construction, Directors,
The final member of our Board of Directors we would like to introduce you to is our Managing Director, Rob Panter. With 24 years of experience across a broad spectrum of engineering, Rob brings guidance and leadership, providing support to every aspect of the business. 

Rob Panter
Managing Director
Eur Ing CEng FICE FIStructE 

What inspired you to become a Structural Engineer?
My Dad is a retired Carpenter, a real craftsman who can turn his hand to anything from boat building to hand made furniture. I have enjoyed learning from my Dad about construction, how things go together and developing a practical mind. I also spent a lot of time with my Uncle who was a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, working all over the world on significant projects with Taylor Woodrow.  

The influence of my Dad and Uncle focused me to think about my own future and ambitions, and how I could blend being practical and professional. They have both inspired me to become an Engineer and to never stop learning.

As a youngster, I spent the summer holidays labouring on a building site. I’ve always been fascinated by how things go together, and this gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about the industry. As well as the banter, I loved the practical hands on approach of building something. The whole experience made me realise I wanted to do something in the construction industry, and being an Engineer seemed like the logical way to combine academic, professional and practical work. 

Tell us about your career to date
I started at the very bottom, as a Junior Technician with a Consultant, before moving to 
Norwich City Engineers (Norwich City Council). 

As part of my training programme, I worked in a number of departments which was such a valuable experience. After trying different disciplines, I chose Structural Engineering and spent the next few years studying and building my experience and knowledge. I worked with some very talented Engineers at the City Engineers Department, who knew the City in detail and the rich history of the many buildings Norwich has to offer.

At the City Engineers, I gained invaluable experience of a range of projects. From multi-storey car parks, Magdalen Street Flyover, Normandie Tower and the wide variety of buildings owned and maintained by the Council. The City Engineers had such a diverse range of disciplines and experience, and provided a real service to the City. In my opinion, it is such a shame that the department no longer exists. 

In early 2003, a new opportunity presented itself when I bumped into Peter French (Chairman, Canham Consulting), who I knew through the industry. I joined Canham Consulting in the April of 2003 as an Engineer and instantly loved it! The pace of life in a Consulting Engineer is completely different to Local Government, and I found this exciting and inspiring. 

In 2004, I become incorporated with the Institution of Structural Engineers, Chartered in 2008, and recently I have become a Fellow of both the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers. 

My role at Canham Consulting progressed from Engineer to Senior Engineer, Principal Engineer, Technical Director, and now Managing Director. My own experience and career journey is perhaps where my passion for helping others has stemmed from, and I believe everyone deserves an opportunity. My first job was as an apprentice, earning £35 a week, but with hard work, and the right attitude, there really are no limits to what you can achieve. 

What do you like most about your job?
My role means I am in a position to do what I love most – helping others. With over 24 years’ experience in the industry, I have a wealth of knowledge that I feel is my responsibility to share with my colleagues. I am passionate about career development and I have mentored colleagues through their professional qualifications. 

This year, many more colleagues are beginning the process to become qualified which is fantastic to see! Our industry never stands still, and neither do we. Our colleagues and clients are at the heart of everything we do and it is our duty to plan for the future. 

Along with the Board, I relish strategizing and driving the business forward. It’s a real pleasure to lead a team of so many driven individuals, and I thoroughly enjoy seeing my colleagues develop their careers and leave a legacy through our design work. 

What’s been your career highlight so far?
I had never anticipated this, but the last 12 months. Coronavirus has brought the most challenging and stressful period of my life. In March 2020, we didn’t know what this all meant and, along with the rest of the world, had to quickly adapt and navigate the business through this difficult period. 

I am immensely proud of all my colleagues for their efforts over the last year and how we have supported one another. It was certainly stressful at times but looking back we can be very proud of our achievements, and we can now focus on a period of stability and strengthening the business.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
My three main interests – my family, engineering and cricket! I always jest, in that my order of preference depends whether I am scoring runs!

I am very proud of our two boys, who are talented sportsmen. My wife and I spend most weekends travelling the country, taking the boys to cricket matches and being supportive, there are just as many highs as there are lows with cricket, which I feel provides a brilliant lesson for life.

I don’t get the chance to play very much cricket now, but when I do I thoroughly enjoy it. I also enjoy playing golf, a bit of fishing, hockey and most other sports. I also enjoy simple family things, like walking Winnie (our Labrador) at the beach.

I have coached cricket, hockey and football for various teams over the years. Giving something back and helping young people is important to me, everyone deserves an opportunity. To see a young player work very hard at their game, be dedicated and committed to improving themselves, and then put in a match winning performance is the icing on the cake. 

I’ve always loved design and sketching – and bringing a creation to life. Engineering is a real passion and wherever we are as a family we are always looking at structures thinking; how is it supported? How was it built? My wife and our boys often take the mickey at my obsession with structures!

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