Ryan Henderson ‘From classroom to construction’

Meet Ryan Henderson, a Graduate Civil & Waters Engineer born and raised in Tauranga. Ryan has combined his passion for both the arts and sciences, recently graduating with 1st class honours in civil engineering from the University of Waikato. Ryan’s educational journey has laid a solid foundation for his current position as promising talent at Vitruvius. His story resonates as a testament to the limitless possibilities that unfold when passion meets dedication.

What did you study and where? ​

At school I did well at math’s and physics, and in contrast, I had a love for art and creativity. Recognising my affinity for combining the technical with the creative, I decided to study a Bachelor of Engineering at Waikato University. My first year was in 2019 and was based at the brand-new Tauranga campus which had only just opened it’s doors that year. Following this, I spent three years over in Hamilton where there were more resources available to finish off my degree. Over my fourth and final year, one of the highlights was investigating slope stability and the influence of stormwater soakage pits from infill housing within the Tauranga peninsula. In this project, I discussed the relationships between various rain events, number of soakage pits and proximity to the slopes with respect to slope stability. During my time away I had a taste of flatting and the student lifestyle but having grown up in the Bay of Plenty, I still called Tauranga home and was keen to return.

Why did you choose to work for Vitruvius?

My decision to join Vitruvius started in 2021 during the Summer holidays at the end of my third year. I was looking for an internship. I knew I was keen to stay local to Tauranga so I looked for opportunities within the community and stumbled upon Vitruvius. Contacting the company directly, I met for a coffee-come-interview, which quickly turned into a job offer! I really enjoyed my internship, finding the experience and learnings both valuable to my studies. The internship ended in a permanent job offer following the completion of my studies.

The drawcard to Vitruvius was multifaceted, I was drawn to its dynamic growth as a small business as well as the distinctive workplace culture. Rather than being a small cog in a large corporation, I was drawn to a place where I would feel valued and make tangible contributions. The collaborative team spirit and self-empowerment inspired me, as did the diverse range of projects that Vitruvius undertook.

What do you get up to in your day-to-day role?

In the daily rhythm of my role, I immerse myself in a variety of tasks. Mornings always begin with a quick trip across the road for coffee with peers and then it’s back to the office to create a playlist of office jams to set tone for the day. Armed with caffeine and music I spend a quick moment to create my plan for the day. My days are busy and varied. As I work through my tasks, I lend a helping hand wherever needed, which often involves some excel wizardry, having been informally named the ‘Excel Whizz Kid’. I am involved in a 100-lot subdivision in Omokoroa, where I am using modelling software (12d) to assist in the three water detailed design. In addition, I am conducting weekly site inspections to monitor progress and track machine hours for the cost-plus project. When I first joined Vitruvius, I had never heard of the modelling software 12d, however, after training, I am now leading a concept design for a 200m long open channel to replace a failing 2m diameter pipe in Otumoetai, to create a more cost effective and environmentally sustainable solution. I get involved in all extracurricular team events which include hosting the daily quiz at lunchtime and participating in a team weekly run.

What has been your most enjoyable moment/project so far? ​

The most enjoyable project so far is the Park and Ride project in Papamoa; a space where local commuters can meet and share public transport into town. I have been involved with this project from conception to stormwater detailed design . I have designed and implemented a low impact solution using swales to treat and manage storm flows, as opposed to using less sustainable infrastructure such as concrete pipes.

I am passionate about stormwater and find the most enjoyment from working on the bare bones of a project, investigating the problem, finding viable solutions, designing the product, and seeing it all unfold.

What are your future aspirations? ​

Looking ahead, my over arching goal is to become a chartered engineer which I believe I will achieve by building on my portfolio of projects and continuously expanding my knowledge. So far as graduate at Vitruvius I have been offered ample opportunities for professional development, which works two-fold both by contributing to the company and improving on my personal growth in return.