1. Please tell us more about yourself.
Nimot is a Registered Civil Engineer and is presently a Principal Civil Infrastructure Engineer and an ISO 9001:2008 QMS Certified Lead Auditor with Ove Arup & Partners Nigeria Limited, a foremost engineering consultancy that has been operating continuously in Nigeria for over 60 years and with presence in over 60 countries of the world.
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering coupled with a Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering both from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, Nimot has been hugely involved in the engineering design of civil infrastructural facilities, an aspect of civil engineering she has come to develop a passion for having acquired diverse experiences from different top rate civil engineering consultancies in Nigeria.
She has keen interest in projects that positively impact on the society and environment at large and also takes much interest in the education, training and mentoring of female engineers in the Nigerian society at large. She enjoys volunteering on projects that promote science, quality and sustainable development. She currently serves as Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Professional Women in Engineering (APWEN), an arm of the umbrella body of engineers in Nigeria; The Nigeria Society of Engineers.
She has served the professional organisation in various capacities including the NSE Ikeja Branch. She is presently a member, The Nigerian Society of Engineers Young Engineers Development Committee.
2. What do you like most about your career?
I relish the diversity and uniqueness my career provides me with especially considering that engineering is a male dominated profession. Civil engineering practice in particular and engineering practice in general has provided me with the opportunity to interact with multi-disciplinary teams (both engineering and non-engineering) which has greatly enhanced my understanding of the underlying principles of science and engineering. Engineering practice has also made me a disciplined organized person and engineering requires a lot of discipline and hardwork.
Furthermore, I love the challenge that my career poses with regards to building relationships and confidence. At different points in my career, I have had to meet with clients on behalf of my organisation to proffer economic and technically satisfactory engineering solutions to some of their business needs. This has helped to build confidence in me and has given me the encouragement to pursue continuous self-development and to always strive for excellence in all my involvements.
3. How did you decide that your current career is the right one for you?
I drew inspiration for my current choice of career from my parents. My dad, a retired civil engineer and my mum, a retired administrative officer both worked for the state and federal civil service. They excelled in their career and they placed a high premium on family union and good education. Watching them work closely managing their family and career lives successfully ignited in me the passion to be like them and possibly surpass their achievements. The passion for engineering and management has been burning in me from that moment to date.
They have supported me all the way by providing me with the requisite education and training to actualise my dreams. Although on graduation, I nursed strongly the idea of going into full management, this idea was intercepted following the advice I received from some of my mentors. Since then, I have pursued engineering vigorously without any regrets. The beauty of this pursuit is that with engineering practice come some elements of management and administration; the engineering profession is thus all encompassing one.
4. What interested you and started your path to what you do now?
After I had decided to go all the way into engineering practice, I spent quality time trying to understand civil engineering beyond the walls of the classroom. I interacted with senior colleagues, volunteered on engineering projects sites and asked questions. More specifically, I developed a passion for civil infrastructure from the last two firms I worked with prior to joining Arup (CIV Struct Associates and DeenLaw & Associates). Both are reputed for their expertise in civil infrastructure engineering and I was usually challenged and entrusted with projects from inception to completion which broadened my horizon in civil infrastructure engineering. Joining Arup helped to build on the foundation already laid and presented me with even greater opportunities to explore infrastructure engineering farther than I had known and to thrive.
5. Have you ever wanted to give up along the way?
No; although the road has not been a smooth one, my passion from a young age coupled with hard work and dedication has kept me going. In addition to these, I have been fortunate to work with colleagues who inspire and encourage me which has made the journey worth it. I have never allowed gender equality or inequality to come in between my work, I simply see myself as part of a team striving to achieve success. This way I am able to contribute my best at all times.
6. Have you ever felt being a woman in tech was a disadvantage? If yes,
Not at all. Rather It has been a plus; contributing to my uniqueness, self-discipline, humility and confidence.
8. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Laughs…. I work an average of 12 to 14 hours daily on Mondays to Fridays. This is so because of my commitments to my employers and to APWEN. I have to ensure that both are well taken care of without given room for any slippage. Generally, weekends are for bonding with the family except for rare occasions when I have to attend to very urgent official matters.
9. How do you handle defeat and/or failure as a woman in a male dominated field?
Defeat is defeat regardless of gender and so the same process of handling it is required if it were to be another profession. For me, I simply see defeat as an opportunity to do things differently and better. This helps you become a better person than you were prior to defeat.
10.How do you balance having a family with your career ambitions?
This has been the acid test of my managerial skills. For me, work and family run together. As much as possible, I run my schedule with my family and we all learn alongside. As such, they know when the projects are going on well and they are not. Sometimes, we visit sites together as well, not necessarily because I want them to take up engineering as a profession later in life but because I want them to be a part of my world just as I also strive to be a part of theirs.
When I travel within and outside the country, we spend more time together and discuss more about their wellbeing. For my mentoring programme, they contribute and advise on my projects and sometimes practise the models and I evaluate their performances ahead of the programme. This helps the programme execution because I would have been able to get feedbacks, evaluate timing and performance thus improving the success of the programme.
11. Do you have any advice for upcoming female engineers?
Anything that demands your time, energy and efforts is worth fighting for. Hence, set your priorities early enough, stay focused and determined. It is not going to be a smooth sail like any other profession, but it will be worth it.
Get a mentor (it doesn’t necessary have to be an engineer but some you can be accountable to) and above all, commit it to God and depend fully on him.
13. Your favorite quote.
A candle loses nothing when used to light another candle; it only makes the room brighter. In like manner, when you give a helping hand, you make YOUR world better.
14. Thank you very much.
You may contact Engr. Nimot Muili via these means;
Website – www.apwenlagos.org
Twitter : @NimotM