Managing Director for International
Davendra Dabasia’s experience in major projects and programme delivery spans two decades and five continents. As Mace’s managing director for International, he is spearheading our expansion in key markets across the world.
- How did you get into what you do?
I became interested in the construction industry at a young age, as I grew up working on building sites for my family business during my summer holidays. Years later, having established a clear career path in the sector, I was working at another construction company when I learned about the works being carried out for the London 2012 Games and I immediately knew that I wanted to be part of that unique project. I decided to make the move and had an interview with Mace's Chief Executive at the ridiculously early hour of 6 am. I got a job, initially as programme manager, and two years later I was working on the Velodrome for the London 2012 Games.
- How has your role developed at Mace?
During my career progression with Mace, I have had the opportunity to hone my expertise in programme and project delivery through a close involvement with infrastructure for sports and events, and to help grow our transport infrastructure offering. Over time the international work became an increasing focus and I was appointed to managing director for International at the start of 2020. It’s been fantastic to work closely with our regional teams in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East to help drive productivity for our clients across the world.
- What do you enjoy most about your role at Mace?
- I’m heavily involved in the sectors that underpin our international growth aspirations, which means that I have had the opportunity to travel across the world to meet with our international teams and clients. Interpersonal communication is so important for what we do. The global pandemic has introduced new ways of working with technology, which in many ways have brought us closer together despite restrictions on movement. I’m in a privileged position to witness different cultures and ways of working and be able to share them across our global property and infrastructure business. It’s really rewarding to be able to take best practice ideas from one place, implement them in another, and see the positive influence they have. It’s what good business growth is all about.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
- I spent a lot of time working on the London 2012 Olympics and the subsequent legacy development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, so everything Mace achieved – and still continues to achieve – at that site will always have a special place in my heart. The experience I took from London 2012 has helped me to generate new business across the globe, including in East Africa, India, East Asia and new markets such as South America. In fact, our work on the Lima 2019 Games was strongly influenced by London 2012 experience, both in terms of venue delivery and also the post-Games legacy vision.
- What do you think the future holds?
Mace has a strong and expanding footprint across six continents. We already had an increased international focus before Covid-19, but the pandemic made us re-evaluate the strength of our business and where we can diversify across the world. Sectors such as infrastructure, pharma, housing, healthcare and data centres are high on the agenda. There is vast potential for growth in our global hubs and we are fortunate to be able to draw on global best practice to drive productivity everywhere. It’s exciting to see how technology is enabling us to tie geographies together and get the best value out of the best people, regardless of their location.
The world is changing in more ways than one. We know that our clients expect much more than a project delivery focus on time, cost and quality. These days, value-to-society and sustainability are intrinsically linked to modern methods of construction and innovation. This trend was already in motion prior to the pandemic but Covid-19 accelerated its importance. Now it’s up to the construction industry to drive the agenda.
- What’s your best career advice?
- Remember that anything is achievable. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you never lose sight of your ambitions and have the right attitude. There will always be challenges along the way, but you should turn those challenges into opportunities - look at the end goal and always push yourself to be better.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
I enjoy working closely with my local community and getting involved with charitable initiatives. A couple of years ago I was involved with an initiative to develop a large new temple and community hall and I’ve continued to support them since. I’ve played a part in some other really exciting schemes as well, including transforming an old London Underground carriage into a school library and completely revitalising a community playground in east London. Outside of this, I enjoy playing sports and regularly travel to new places, preferably near a beach!
“It’s exciting to see how technology is enabling us to tie geographies together and get the best value out of the best people, regardless of their location”