Speaker Spotlight: A quick chat with Richard Palczynski
Tell us about your current role
I am the Programme Controls Director on the Transpennine Route Upgrade Programme stretching from West to East over the Peninne Hills of Northern England. It’s a £3billion railway upgrade scheme designed to increase capacity three-fold over the course of the next 5 years.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
By far the most interesting Major Project I have worked on has been Crossrail, Londons’ £15Bn Pound Railway. The Civil Engineering has been colossal, and the culture embedded across a work-force of over 8,000 people was, by far, the most amazing culture I have ever experienced. The current press coverage that Crossrail is getting does not represent the Project that I lived and breathed for three and a half years, so I am passionate about reminding people of the tremendous benefits that the Programme absolutely will deliver when it finally opens. The most significant of which remains the 10% increase in rail capacity which will literally transform the way in which millions of people move around the capital city.
How would you sum up your approach to engineering in three words?
Communication. Communication. Communication. To me, you can be the best engineer in the world, but if you can’t communicate and convey your knowledge to others around you, then your talent has a much greater chance of being wasted. I often remind young aspiring engineers that to become a good engineer language and communication skills are equally as important as the STEM subjects.
Why do you think conferences like RISK-PCC are important?
Conferences serve to remind their delegates that there is more going on in their space than they might otherwise have realised. I regard myself as being reasonably ‘on the ball’ but when I attend conferences like this, it never fails to amaze me what others are doing in my world and there is nearly always something that inspires me to do something different when I return to my day job.
What are you most looking forward to at RISK-PCC?
I am looking forward to meeting my industry peers and being challenged by people who speak my language. I am looking forward to hopefully sharing what I think ‘good’ looks like and if I inspire just one person, then travelling across the planet to get to the conference will have been worth it. Finally, I am looking forward to climbing the Harbour Bridge and seeing the Opera House, since this will be my first trip to Australia..!
Richard joined Crossrail in June 2015 as Programme Controls Director. In his role he was accountable for ensuring visibility and accuracy of programme performance data, and providing the Executive Leadership with the information they needed in order to manage the programme and maintain their focus in the right areas. His move to Crossrail was a return to hands-on programme management after having spent the previous 6 years in the corporate world helping to run, grow and evolve companies such as Parsons Brinckerhoff, Balfour Beatty and Mace, where he was the Director of Programme Management for their Major Programmes and Infrastructure division. In 2016 he co-founded a UK Consultancy called Th3rd Curve, a business specialising in Programme Controls and Business Transformation.
Throughout his career, Richard has collected a broad range of major programme experience across mega-infrastructure projects such as the Fyled Coast Waste Water Programme, Jubilee Line Extension, Channel Tunnel Rail Link, West Coast Route Modernisation Programme and now Crossrail. He has a portfolio of different roles under his belt from design and construction management, commercial and project management to six sigma and programme controls to name a few.
He is a Fellow with the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Association for Project Management as well as the Guild of Project Controls. He’s also a Supervising Civil Engineer, very keen skier and triathlete