Career paths: Eleana Karayianni, Tony Hogg Design

Eleana Karayianni is a design and structural engineer of tensile fabric structures working at structure engineering firm Tony Hogg Design.

Eleana Karayianni, Tony Hogg Design

What made you choose a career in engineering and infrastructure?

Engineering is a fascinating career. I regard engineering as the ideal environment to shape the world, improve people’s lives and make architects’ vision real! I have always been thrilled by engineers’ use of creativity, innovation and technical skills to give practical solutions to complex problems. I chose a career in engineering to enjoy the opportunity to work on projects in a diverse range of sectors. Personally I love structural engineering; it is so much fun!

What did you study? How did that lead to this career?

I studied the MEng in Civil Engineering at Bristol University which I really enjoyed. I chose this career because I was always impressed by the architecturally aesthetic and challenging structures! Also, I excelled in Maths and scientific-related modules, I have completed five A levels with grade A, including Maths, Physics, Statistics and Mechanics and I was distinguished to be one of the top five (out of 350) students of my secondary school. I feel that studying civil engineering and currently practising structural engineering brings the perfect balance between my passions for maths and architecture.

Who was your first employer and why?

My current job at Tony Hogg Design is my first job. I joined the company in August 2012, one month after graduating from Bristol University. I was really excited to work at THD because I loved the idea to work on organic shaped and challenging structures! Being part of a niche design office meant I could broaden my knowledge and succeed as a professional in an area that I am truly passionate for.

Did you have a career plan? How has reality panned out against that plan?

Of course I did! My personal vision was to work on engineering iconic structures early in my career and make innovative designs real! I was planning to join a big company which would give me the opportunity to progress my career worldwide. However, joining a small specialist company has proved to be the right path since it offered me the opportunity to work on bespoke tensile fabric structures which fulfilled my expectations.

Why have you stayed at THD?

The projects we work on at THD are very challenging and the unusual shapes and innovative designs keep my motivation high.  Innovation and creativity are very important for me. It gives me great satisfaction to produce solutions to complex organic shaped designs. Also it is great to work for a small company because I am entrusted more responsibilities and I work closely with my colleagues in a small team, which makes bonding easier and work more enjoyable.

Who has had the most influence over your career and why?

My friends and family have the greatest impact on my career. Most of my friends are engineers and architects so we share our visions and we support each other’s aspirations. Also, my family inspire me and always support my career decisions.

What about work gets you interested, keeps you interested?

Creative and innovative designs are my inspiration and the engineering of these structures challenges me and keeps me excited! The particularities of every project in conjunction with the clients’ different needs make every project unique, keeping me motivated to exceed those needs and see the design from conception to successful completion.

What can employers offer to make you most happy in your career?

Working on iconic structures which require challenging engineering is the ideal package for me, as an engineer. Diversity is also important and I am therefore always seeking opportunities to learn and improve my skills by working on a variety of challenging projects. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to be afraid of not succeeding. If you hold a passion for what you are doing and you are ambitious, curious, have dreams and love learning, you will succeed

What is the one thing you have done that has been fundamental to your career?

My civil engineering degree at University of Bristol has been key to the development of my career. Bristol University has given me the tools and the holistic thinking required to thrive in the engineering environment and to appreciate all aspects of a project. 

What makes you smile about your career?

Working on the engineering of iconic structures early in my career has been my dream and I am trying to make the most of this job.

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