In discussion with Nadim Choudhary, Associate Director at Arup

31 August 2018 6 min. read

Nadim Choudhary is Associate Director in the Resilience, Security and Risk practice of Arup, and has worked in risk for almost a decade, experiencing a range of industries including rail, nuclear, defence and finance in that time. Talking to, Choudhary confirmed that while the fast changing nature of risk consulting has led to his team to work collaboratively more often, this has actually yielded encouraging results.

Could you tell us briefly about your background?

I graduated in July 2005 with a First Class Honors MEng in Aerospace Engineering from Queen Mary, University of London. My first job out of university was to work as a graduate consultant performing quantified risk assessments to the UK nuclear industry.

In January 2010, I was awarded the status of Chartered Engineer from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) to recognise my achievements and I followed this up in 2017 by becoming one of their youngest Fellows. Having practiced risk management in the nuclear industry, I wanted to apply these learned principles to other industries. In February 2012, I moved to a role within the Resilience, Security and Risk practice of Arup London, where I still work. I also sit as a Non-Exec on the Audit and Risk Committee for Queen Mary, University of London.

You currently lead Arup’s risk team, overseeing the firm’s risk management services for large engineering and consultancy programmes. What propositions does the team offer and how does the client roster look like?

Our risk offering spans safety, reliability, business continuity, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and cyber security. This spans many of Arup’s core markets with clients including Crossrail, Transport for London, Shell, State Street Bank, UBS and Network Rail. Each project and client requires us to be adaptable and successfully implement bespoke risk management frameworks. With growing demand for this work amongst global clients, including in the US, Canada, Russia and Australia, we have to apply our thinking with the context of local markets and legislation.

In discussion with Nadim Choudhary, Associate Director at Arup

What kind of projects have you personally led and contributed to over the past years?

The most complex project I have led to date has been the risk management of six out of the ten Crossrail stations and infrastructure assets. I have worked on the project since the day I joined Arup. As the commission concludes and as Crossrail moves to full operation, the team are now providing risk services to High Speed Two Ltd, another fantastic opportunity to work on strategically important infrastructure projects in the UK.

In contrast, my time at Arup has also seen me leading on projects including performing a risk assessment on a 1,814 km pipeline passing through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and then continuing into Greece. This project was particularly challenging as it required working with international clients, across different time zones to extremely tight timescales but does highlight the range of exciting projects that Arup works on.

Both at a team level and individually you’ve reaped a series of accolades in recent years, including Risk Management Specialist Company of the Year at the CIR Awards, Performance Improvement in the Public Sector Award for LOCIP* at the MCA Awards and a nomination for the ‘Silver Medal Prize from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE). How important are such awards for the team’s standing in the market and client confidence?

Our team has experienced steady growth in recent years, and as we build our team, we continue to receive positive feedback from clients. Awards give us the opportunity to increase our profile and receive recognition in the market, but also importantly allow us to celebrate success with our clients. We have developed a number of long-standing relationships with clients, and through strong collaborative working we have delivered some fantastic results. Sharing this success is important for both our clients and for Arup; the MCA award win for “Performance Improvement in the Public Sector” with London Overground was a perfect example of this.

“Through strong collaborative working we have delivered some fantastic results. Sharing this success is important for both our clients and for Arup.”
– Nadim Choudhary, Associate Director, Arup

Your team provides risk management services in a complex environment – public transport/infrastructure sectors with big budgets and complex stakeholder models while being under public scrutiny. What approach and tools does Arup have that sets it apart from others in the marketplace?

For me it is the culture we have in the organisation, which is trustee owned. This allows us to work on some of the most interesting projects, while allowing us to stay true to our ethos of shaping a better world. The freedom that we have in the way we work, combined with major internal investment in digital skills, allows us to be innovative in our approach, for example in the use of visual tools to represent significant risks to clients.

You’ve been with Arup for over six years now. What makes the firm such an interesting place to work for?

This might sound clichéd, but I would have to say it is the people. I love how for the firm, clients are at the heart of our business, which allows us to foster strong relationships to support each other for ongoing and future challenging projects. No two days are ever the same; every piece of work is bespoke to a client and requires us to think outside of the box.

What ambitions do you have going forward, both for Arup’s risk practice as well as on a personal level?

We have grown the Risk practice year on year and I am aware that I could not have got this far in my career were it not for a fantastic, enthusiastic and supportive team. With the Risk industry constantly evolving and facing new challenges, I believe it is imperative to contribute to the wider industry and on a personal level, I hope to focus on my written work, talking and presenting at events around the world. From a team perspective, we are always seeking enthusiastic individuals who are able to turn their hands to Risk.

* The London Overground Capacity Improvement Project (LOCIP) sees Arup assessing risks for enhancements to the London Overground network.