Project Director for Aviation
From flying planes to creating some of the world’s largest airports, Vidhatri Gohil lives and breathes aviation. Bringing her strategic abilities and excellent cross-team communication skills, Vid is transforming the way we deliver complex aviation programmes with an innovative approach to delivery.
- How did you get into what you do?
I studied aerospace engineering as my undergraduate degree, so I always had an interest in complex systems and using analytical thinking to solve the most difficult problems. During my undergraduate degree I also learnt how to fly a plane. However, after my graduation I went into accounting and then sales.
Finally, in 2008 I was offered my first job in the aviation sector, at BAA. It was a quick learning curve and I worked in the delivery team for various programmes at Heathrow Airport in London, JFK in New York, Mumbai International Airport in India, and Dubai Airports in the United Arab Emirates. I get immense satisfaction from seeing the first passenger walking out of the plane and into the airport, it’s a feeling of accomplishment that I couldn’t find working in any other sector.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
As part of my role, I am working on maturing Mace’s Operational Readiness Activation and Transition (ORAT) offer - currently in the aviation sector but with a plan to expand it cross-industry. During my previous experience working on some of the world’s largest airports I’ve been leading on the ORAT methodology, but at Mace I found more scope for redefining the boundaries in this approach to project and programme delivery.
The best thing about my role as an operations director in consultancy, is the room for creativity in delivering project solutions. I am working on the delivery of Keflavik Airport in Iceland and, while roles in other companies can be quite scripted, at Mace there is definitely a huge opportunity to deliver something that other people didn’t even think would be possible.
- How do you redefine the boundaries of ambition in your role?
Getting our project and client teams to think in the early stages about ORAT and the way that the asset will be used when completed has transformed and improved our approach to delivery at Keflavik Airport. We can get our teams across the business to use ORAT in this way when delivering a major project, providing a new lens for solving problems and a better methodology - something we didn’t think about before.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
My proudest achievement is the knowledge transfer between our team and the client at Keflavik Airport. The client has started implementing ORAT on smaller projects around the airport and can already experience the benefits. It means that when we start on site the client trusts us to deliver the best possible outcome.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
The skills you need for a consultancy role in aviation are strategic thinking as well as excellent communication abilities. I have an engineering background, so I understand the technical work of engineering and construction teams, but in my previous roles I built up skills for strong strategic thinking and learnt how to communicate successfully with multiple stakeholders.
It’s also important to be flexible and adapt to different environments; and speaking up when you think that something can be done in a better way.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
I’ve been singing since I was three years old and have performed on stage all over the world, from the USA to Norway. Now I play golf with my husband and daughter in my spare time.
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
Growing up I always wanted to be a pilot - definitely for British Airways. Working on delivering some of the world’s major aviation programmes I feel like I’ve reached a compromise with my younger self.
“Getting our project and client teams to think in the early stages about ORAT and the way that the asset will be used when completed has transformed and improved our approach to delivery at Keflavik Airport.”