Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023

8 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23397 Most Effective Digital Construction Management Consultancy MD 2023: Mindas Burba EDBA Mindas Burba and the team at Burton-upon-Trent-based consultancy Open Tech City (OTC), are championing collaboration to improve national and international railway networks. The team provides organisations in the public sector with advice and support on a range of projects including infrastructure upgrades, digitalisation and operational changes. We speak with Mindas to find out more about the company and his journey to becoming MD at OTC. When Mindas Burba travelled to Switzerland during the second year of his civil engineering degree he encountered railway engineering for the first time. His experience working at the Gotthard Base Tunnel construction site left him hungry to learn more about infrastructure operations and systems engineering. Although working on multirise construction projects in London, Mindas felt the lure of the transport sector. He made the leap in 2006 to work as an engineer on the East London Line Extensions project. Since then Mindas has lent his expertise to projects such as Heathrow Airport Terminal 2, A/B construction and the London Bridge Station redevelopment. During his time working for Network Rail, Mindas had a hand in major projects including the Thameslink Programme, the Transpennine Route Upgrade and the Midland Mainline Electrification. He tells us, “During this time I was working on multimillion-pound projects. It gave me an insight into taking control of projects that would deliver great technological and cultural improvements. I went back to university and gained a master’s degree in engineering management. I gained experience and knowledge in the financial management of projects too.” Soon after, Mindas came to the attention of the executives at OTC. They offered him the role of Senior Policy Advisor to the EU, providing consultancy to many EU government organisations. This external role was such a success for the company that OTC’s shareholders proposed that Mindas become the company’s next MD. Managing a focused team of industry experts, Mindas’ tasks are to grow the company’s consultancy portfolio and expand its offerings. The company provides a holistic range of consultancy services including project appraisal, risk analysis, design and planning, project management, delivery and reporting. Often, OTC provides an entire project management team, taking control of contract management, costing and operational modelling. The company has even designed training facilities to enable personnel to make a smooth transition through infrastructure changes. Mindas is proud of the flexibility and commitment that OTC shows at every stage of a project. He says, “The devil is in the detail as they say. At OTC we love detail. We’re fortunate to have a team of brilliant analytical minds that thrive on finding solutions. Our technical expertise and leadership skills go hand-in-hand. We develop project delivery and contract strategies with the client in mind to ensure the success of every project. It’s fascinating for me to work in this sector at this exciting time. OTC is well placed to help those in the industry and in the communities that it impacts.” As someone with decades of industry experience, Mindas isn’t a fan of competitive culture. He explains, “Today major programme deliveries need alliances, not competition. I understand the procurement ideology around tenders and bidding, but I believe in strong frameworks and collaboration. We should enable mechanisms for sharing skills and resourcing by mutual understanding. It’s always sad to hear about competitive businesses entering into contracts without consideration and ending up in administration.” The inclusive culture at OTC is one of true collaboration encouraging everyone to develop, grow and share ideas. He says, “The success of leadership in most business cultures depends on the level of altruism. It’s not about one-way traffic. It’s about conscious and unconscious collaboration, where every contribution is impartially assessed and rewarded. We’re not competing against each other, we’re competing together, with our supplier too, to become better partners. We don’t believe in one-manband success.” The impact of transport on both planet and the environment is coming under increasing scrutiny. This has led to the industry being in a constant state of assessment and change. As such all industry stakeholders are obliged to move with the times. For the experts at OTC that means keeping up with and reacting to current trends. Mindas says, “Our challenge is to ensure that our experts are doing their homework. Some of our consultants are part of the EU/UK transport technology clusters. They’re briefed first-hand on the new regulations, funding, development frameworks, etc. We assess this information and distribute it to our current and past clients to make sure that they stay up-to-date too. For everyone`s better tomorrow, we all want to see this industry healthier and cleaner and more resilient. Part of that is building strong partnerships that will endure.” In 2023-24, OTC is already committed to several major projects and will join overseas think-tank groups. Working with clients in the UK and across the EU, the company’s next steps include expansion into areas such as the USA, Canada and Scandinavia. Mindas’ task will be to understand how this expansion will happen and put resourcing plans into place. The company also plans to continue its close collaboration with UK universities, bringing together operational and research institutions to find better transport solutions. Currently, the team is working with the University of Birmingham on a hydrogen trains project that could move trains into the zeroemissions space. OTC is also looking into blockchain concepts for future collaborations and is eager to speak with any specialists in this area. Mindas tells us, “We’ll test a few blockchain models within railway clusters in the upcoming months. Any businesses keen to know more still have time to get involved. And we’d urge industry clients who