Gavin McCully – Job Talk – 4 May 2021

Gavin McCully is a self-confessed grammar school drop-out and yet has worked on numerous mega-projects around the world. In his recent job-talk to the members he explained how this had come about and described some of these fascinating projects in which he has been involved.

Gavin left school at 16 and straightaway set off on his global travels as a mobile retail stock controller throughout Europe. He progressed by stages into sales management eventually taking up a position with Shell Exploration and in 1984 became involved in his first job in the UAE, on an oilfield development project.

After a spell back in the UK working on several “confidential” government schemes his CV appears like a top10 list of the world’s major projects from working for Transmanche JV (the construction consortium that built the Channel Tunnel) to desalination plants throughout the Middle-East. He also found time to help develop refugee camps in Koseva and to assist with the first PFI scheme in Scotland.

Gavin has spent a good number of years in Saudi Arabia which he felt is misunderstood in some respects and often misrepresented by the western press. He presented a fascinating illustration of the scale of SA’s ambition with the creation of the futuristic mega-city of NEOM amid the development of a sparsely populated, desert-waste region the size of Belgium. NEOM is intended to become the ferry port to Egypt and will be powered by a 5-billion-dollar hydrogen plant. This, claimed Gavin, is proof of SA’s determination to move away from oil dependency.

Louden McAndrew thanked Gavin for his entertaining and unique talk whilst expressing some personal reservation about the possible environmental impacts of SA’s ambitious schemes.