Meet Graeme, Utilities Lead at NACO

In February 2022, Graeme moved to The Netherlands from South Africa. At that time, NACO was also looking for a Utilities Lead for airports. While crossing each other’s paths, it became clear that Graeme was the perfect match for this position. Curious about Graeme’s role and why he likes working at NACO so much? Then keep on reading!
Graeme Odendaal

The experience I get from the projects within an industry leading team such as NACO is not something I can learn at any other place.

Graeme OdendaalUtilities Lead at NACO

From Urban Design to Utilities for Airports

“I have been employed as the Utilities Lead and Coordinator for NACO. Essentially, I coordinate majority of the utilities design functions within NACO. Although there are a number of different utilities, I’ve got good knowledge on each particular one. This is due to my background and experience in Urban Development. In my previous position, I dealt with various utilities within the urban design- sector such as the expansion of cities and towns. Whereas Urban Design has a lot to do with the development of larger cities and urban spaces, an airport can essentially be considered as a little city on its own! The unique utility requirements within airports together with the nuances and intricacies of an airport is what drew me to this particular industry. Switching from Urban Design to an airport environment also required me to learn new things. The learning has not been hard at all because of the incredible support that I have received from the NACO team. We have exceptionally good technical expertise in house that have assisted and guide me in becoming more acquainted with the airport requirements. If I have any question about certain terminology for example, there is always someone willing to help me.”

My role as the Utilities Lead

“Working on utilities involves various components such as water, sewer, telecommunications, electrical, heating and cooling, etc. All these components are required to ensure that an airport is able to deliver its intended function. My role is very diverse as I can be of value to multiple departments including Asset Design & Planning & Strategy. The Asset Design focuses on the physical design of the airport assets. I contribute to this department by designing the actual utilities required within the airport facility. This incorporates a lot of engineering. On the other hand, in the Planning & Strategy, I do a lot of advisory work including masterplans. In that way, I strategically think about the placement and logistics for various utility infrastructure and how these will interact with the other components within the masterplan.”

Great and unique projects

“So far, It has been great working for NACO. I have definitely been able to provide a lot of value with regards to the expertise I bring. Currently, I am working on a project in the Philippines. If this project actually goes ahead as planned, it will be one of the busiest airports in the world. We also look at innovative possibilities like electric flights, electric vehicles and water saving measures. There is a lot of Research & Development going into this. The experience I get from these projects within an industry leading team such as NACO is not something I can learn at any other place. It is great to have a diverse and international work exposure. Every project is so different and unique because of the local conditions and specific Client requirements. I also particularly enjoy being involved in the whole project lifecycle from proposal to construction.”

Feeling appreciated

“I notice that I am considered as a go-to person at NACO worldwide in terms of utilities. It is nice to know that I can provide valuable input and that colleagues take my opinion very seriously. It is an honour to work at NACO because of its reputation and attention to detail. There are real experts that know everything about airports. Also, colleagues across Royal HaskoningDHV are just a message or call away to ask a question or reach out to for assistance.”

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