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Meet the team: Jeff Higgs, Senior Projects Engineer

1) What’s your career with Clearview Intelligence been like so far?

I’ve had a few roles over my 14 years at Clearview. I started as an Engineer before progressing to Senior Engineer, Team Leader and now Senior Projects Engineer. Each role has involved more responsibility and more interesting challenges.

My current role is very varied. I am one of two Senior Projects Engineers. We work on new installations, especially where new technology is involved. Currently, we’ve been overseeing a lot of installations where a combination of technology is required such as junction safety solutions,wireless vehicle detection systems and intelligent parking projects.

I also oversee and train the maintenance engineers. My colleague Tessa manages this team, but I’m there to help with any technical queries and make sure they are fully trained on every piece of technology they need to use.

I was an engineer in another industry before joining Clearview. Problem-solving is what I like most about engineering—getting to the bottom of why something isn’t working or doing exactly what you expect, then fixing things and getting them working properly.

2) What does a typical day in the office/out on the road include?

There is no typical day. That’s one of the best things about my job. I have a plan for what I’m going to do each day, but this might have to change last minute and I like to be flexible like that.

A big part of my role is conducting site surveys. All work is carried out to a detailed plan, which I prepare. I’ll travel tositewith the brief and look at where best to position the solution. Much of our technology is embedded in the road, so I need to know what is already there and what other infrastructure (mostly utilities) we need to work around. We also use a lot of solar power, so need to make sure we put the panels in the right place.

Sometimes, once I get tositeit becomes clear that what the customer has asked for isn’t quite the right tech for the job. So, I’ll recommend another solution or modify the design to make sure the client gets the result they need.

This involves a lot of travel, report writing and drawing plans. It’s quite a responsibility to get this part right as so much of a successful solution hangs off the plan.

3) What’s the most rewarding element of your job?

The sense of a good job well done. Seeing a project up and running is very rewarding, especially when I’ve been part of the team from the beginning. For example, I worked a lot on our award-winning installation on the Sheriffhall roundabout in Edinburgh. I was involved in the design, worked with Engineering on the technology and worked on the installation. Seeing it up and running and working gives me a great sense of achievement. To then get recognition from the industry, as Sheriffhall did with six major awards was even more exciting.

I’m lucky that I get to see the projects through to completion. Our Solutions Managers do the initial consultation and design; Engineering figure out how make it work, and my team in installations get to make it happen.

I enjoy seeing our installations and knowing they are working. We’ve covered the length and breadth of the country so I can’t go anywhere without passing an installation and talking about what we’ve done to anyone who’ll listen—I drive my wife mad on long car journeys! I think the smallest of the Scottish Isles might be safe, so perhaps we’ll have to go there.

4) What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Adapting to the new technology and new systems is challenging. Part of the role is being exposed to the new technology first and understanding how it works and will work in out on the road. I’m one of two Senior Project Engineers so we help each other out a lot. We train the engineers on the technology, so need to know it inside and out to be able to answer all possible questions. We work closely with the Research and Development Team and our Product Managers, but we play an important role in shining a light on the more practical elements and constraints of the roadside environment and how to overcome unforeseen challenges with installation and commissioning. A lot of head scratching at times, but it certainly means I never get bored.

5) What’s one thing you’ve learned in your time at Clearview Intelligence?

The sheer volume of planning and work that goes on behind the scenes to get people working on a motorway or major road. People complain when they see miles of cones and only a few people working on the road. But they don’t realise how much planning has gone on, how many companies are working together, and the time devoted to keeping those few people safe.

It can be quite frightening to be on the side of the road with traffic whizzing past. The speed limits and cones are needed so please stick to the speed limit and be patient. Our solutions are designed to improve safety and reduce congestion so we’re working to help people make better journeys—we all just need a little patience at times.

6) What are you currently working towards?

We’ve got some interesting projects coming up. We’re delivering a project to improve the parking at the Royal Berkshire Hospital by providing accurate counts on each level of the car park. This will save people time circling a level that is already full so they can get straight tothe space,so saving patients and visitors time while also reducing the congestion and improving air quality around the site.

We continue to work with Transport for London, maintaining a network of over 400 vehicle and bicycle monitoring sensor locations across the capital to provide them with an accurate picture of traffic flow across the network. We’ve been working on the M25 also, upgrading the traffic signals on junction 30 to MOVA using wireless vehicle detection. There’s a plan to extend this to other junctions now, so that should help the traffic flow around this busy part of the network.

There are a lot of other big projects in the pipeline and I’m continually involved in deploying new technologies and evaluating from a practical perspective whether they really can help solve our customers’ challenges.
Uploaded 06/07/2017