Living with intention – with recent graduate, Dev Solanki

Dev Solanki can’t get enough of The Weeknd. Not literally Saturday and Sunday, but Canadian singer (and recently turned actor) Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd. Clocking up 20,000 minutes listening to him on Spotify, Dev can relate to his intention and tries to emulate this in his own life. We sat down with Dev recently about his intentional life working as a civil engineer and recent graduate at Harrison Grierson.

Hailing from Avondale College in Tāmaki Makaurau, Dev always had a passion for physics and math growing up.

‘’I also loved art – I could have gone either way after high school but chose the engineering route,’’ says Dev who describes himself as being quite experimental while pursuing his passion for the design side of civil engineering.

‘’I love making things and experimenting with shapes and objects.

‘’In Civil 3D, I get to create geometric designs which need to be feasible, safe, and cost-efficient and I get to see it all brought to life. It’s pretty cool and nothing like what I expected while studying – it’s different, but for the better,’’ says Dev.

The best part of the job?

‘’Getting to learn something new every day from a talented team. We are literally predicting how drivers will be using the roads we design ’’ says Dev who had the opportunity to work on Fred Taylor Drive recently, one of Auckland’s busiest roads.

‘’It was an interesting project. I was able to learn from my boss and mentor Jan Franta and the rest of the transport team to deliver a design that meets the requirements of the clients’’

Vehicle tracking using Civil 3D
Vehicle tracking using Civil 3D
Vehicle tracking using Civil 3D

When he’s not working, Dev loves to listen to The Weeknd who he draws inspiration in his everyday life.

‘’He has such intention in the way that he makes his music – the lyrics and his music videos are very inspiring.”

‘’I find myself living with as much intention as I can. Whether it’s getting dressed or doing my work, I try to have a very purposeful intention’’ says Dev.

He also loves to continue his passion for art drawing and painting in his spare time which he occasionally shares on Instagram.

So, what’s it like starting your career after studying?

‘’When I first started working at HG, I was so nervous. I felt quite out of place amongst so many experienced people.

I had to trick my brain into thinking that I was meant to be here. Eventually, I realised, that everyone has to start somewhere and that I was meant to be here,’’ says Dev.

‘’The support I get from my boss and mentors to learn, make mistakes, and learn from them is amazing. I love it.’’

Where does he see himself in five, or ten years?

‘’I’ve never really set goals as it can be too restricting. I just like to go with the flow in terms of my career and do the best job I can do now and see where that takes me.”‘’I want to be able to have my own place at some point so that I can do some more DIY!”

‘’I thrive in an environment where there’s a lot of light, light colours – that’s also why I love working at HG - our offices are so inspiring and ‘neat-looking’.’’ 

‘’I’m really loving where I am at in my life’’.

At 23 years of age, Dev is someone to watch in the transport space.

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