We caught up with Amir Shajarati, Chief Consultant, who is based in our WT Denmark office. Amir joined us in 2016 and has progressed from Senior Engineer to Lead Engineer and now to Chief Consultant, growing his expertise as a skilled engineer across both primary steel structures and geotechnical disciplines.
Amir has worked across a number of key and emerging markets globally, his favourite projects to date varying from locations in the Baltic Sea to the coast of Japan.
What was it that inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
When I was young, I wanted to be a pilot. We lived close to a military air force base, and there were always jet fighters flying over our house.
When I realised I couldn’t be a pilot, I decided I’ll design the planes instead! So that’s why I decided to become an engineer.
How did your engineering journey begin?
As soon as I finished High School, I was focused on becoming a pilot, and it was shortly after this that I decided to focus on engineering so went to University to study engineering. I have also always been interested in Science and Mathematics.
What attracted you to the world of offshore wind specifically?
I knew to become an airplane engineer, I would need to specialise in aerodynamics and structural engineering. However, a couple of months before finishing my masters, my professor asked if I wanted a job at Ramboll, one of the big engineering consultancies in Denmark.
I thought why not? The role was within oil and gas and I quite quickly realised I wanted to do something better for the world, so within a year I had moved to DONG (now known as Ørsted) to work in offshore wind.
What brought you to WT?
I met Christian LeBlanc Thilsted working at Ørsted, and after working there for five years I moved to WT as I loved the idea of being an integral part of building something new from the ground up.
Can you tell us more about what you are specifically responsible at WT?
I am the Chief Consultant for the Geotechnical Department, meaning I am responsible for ensuring technical quality of all our geotechnical deliverables and technical development of our engineers. But in my time at WT, I have done a little bit of everything! From delivering detailed design on various sized projects and supporting and training colleagues to liaising with clients and business development work including creating proposals and delivering new work.
Is there anything particular that keeps you interested and motivated in your role?
Having worked at a traditional consultancy at the start of my career, these types of consultancies are different to WT and you very quickly end up getting stuck working in what you started in with no variation.
Working at WT provides the opportunity to work across a lot of different fields and across multiple disciplines. Wood Thilsted are always looking to improve typical methods and processes, striving to do things differently, and that is reflective too in the people they hire too. I love that we’re given an opportunity to learn across various areas of expertise, so you do not become siloed in your work and long term we’re producing better engineers.
You have experience in both structures and geotech, can you explain where there may be crossovers?
There is a very beneficial crossover between the two disciplines. The core of the business when it first started out was primary steel design and geotechnical engineering, these two areas I had a lot of expertise in. Across all the services we deliver, it all boils down to structural design and you cannot really do an optimised structural design without having a solid understanding of the soil structure interaction. All loads on foundations must be carried down to the soil, so these two specific areas are at the core of the offshore wind foundation design.
You’ve been nominated for Berlingske’s Talent 100, can you tell us a bit more about that?
The nominees are chosen from Denmark across nine different business areas and must show their professional capabilities and expertise in the area they’re working in, their results and success.
It was a surprise to me to be nominated by WT but I am honoured. My expertise in planning in offshore wind farm design was highlighted, as well as, my part in supporting the development of Wood Thilsted, multidisciplinary capabilities across engineering and business development for the work I did in Tokyo.
Across everything you have worked on so far, can you pick out any key highlights?
I think what I enjoy is not one specific thing but the large variation and the opportunity to meet a lot of different people. I enjoy that you get challenged every day and the opportunity WT’s provides to continuously develop yourself as an engineer but also as a person.
What are you most excited about the future of offshore wind?
I think it goes back to why I wanted to work within offshore wind, that I wanted to do something better for the planet. I love being part of the transition in going from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy forms and being part of making a better future for everybody.
What would you say is the highlight of your career?
Getting my Masters in Engineering would be my best investment so far, it’s given me a lot of experience and I’ve loved the adventures that have followed. I’m proud of the technical capabilities that I have gained and also the opportunities I have been given to show my potential.
Is there anything in particular you still want to achieve or do in the future?
Just continuous development and to continue to wake up every day still feeling positive and motivated about what I do. In general, just being in a position where I’m happy with my life.
I’d still love to get my pilots licence, perhaps not here in Denmark but maybe if WT were to open an office in somewhere like Australia – I’d definitely have my eyes on that opportunity!