Episode Twenty-Two – Jennifer Dixon

Our guest this week is the architect Jennifer Dixon, Architecture Leader for the global architecture and engineering firm AECOM in the firm’s EMIA region – Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, where she leads a multi-national team of over 500 architects.

AECOM provides design, consulting, construction, and management services to a wide range of clients around the world. The firm traces its roots back to the 1920s in Kentucky as the Ashland Oil and Refining Company. From where the company grew into one of America’s largest road construction firms – using the by-products of oil refining to produce bitumen.  The company went on to become one of the pioneering integrated construction, engineering and architectural firms in the US.

Jennifer Dixon. Image courtesy fo the practice.

In the late 1980s a change in corporate strategy led to the spinoff of the of the non-oil side of the business that would become AECOM. In 1990 the company changed its name to the AECOM Technology Corporation – with the acronym standing for Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Maintenance.  AECOM became a publicly traded company in 2007 and now has annual revenues of over $18 billion and nearly 90,000 employees around the world. More recently the firm acquired consulting engineers Faber Maunsel and quantity surveyors Davis Langdon.

Jennifer joined AECOM in 2013 to grow the organisation’s architecture business in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa which was then relatively small – at least compared with the firm’s architecture businesses in its other regions.

Jennifer originally studied architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow and at the University of Westminster in London.  She subsequently founded Dixon Hughes architects with her partner David Hughes, with the practice later merging with Austin-Smith:Lord where she worked extensively in the Middle East.

I joined Jennifer in AECOM’s London offices near Aldgate, where I started by asking about the origins of the architecture business within AECOM.