Q&A with Vivien Dent

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Full Name: Vivien Dent BSc MSc CGeol FGS ASoBRA Controlled Waters
Job Title: Associate Technical Director
Company: RSK

In 1994, I obtained a 2:1 Honours degree in geology from RHBNC subsequently obtaining an MSc in Hydrogeology from the University of East Anglia. My first job was working for Soil Mechanics as an assistant Geologist and then as a hydrogeologist at STATS. In 2008, STATS were brought by RSK, which is where I am to this day.

I am currently based in Boxworth where I am Team Leader. I get involved in a wide variety of geoenvironmental projects and I provide technical support to RSK’s geosciences teams on controlled waters and NAPL risk assessment and am the technical lead for sustainability in land condition.

I am also the current AGS Contaminated Land Working Group Leader.

What or who inspired you to join the geotechnical industry?
I have always loved geology and from the age of 8 (when my Grandfather gave me his fossil collection), I knew I wanted to be a geologist.

What does a typical day entail?
I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day – which is partly why I like my job. I generally work 3 days in the office and one day at home. One day I could be in the office managing staff, tendering and writing reports, another day I could be delivering training at another RSK office.

Are there any projects which you’re particularly proud to have been a part of?
I wouldn’t say there is a particular job I am proud to have been a part of. I find all my projects interesting. No 2 sites are the same – the conceptual site model is always different, and each site has specific problems to address. I really like the varied nature of my work.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
The most challenging aspect of my role is juggling work life with having a family. RSK are very flexible allowing me to work part time and I work from both the office and from home. Now my children are getting older it is getting easier.

What AGS Working Group(s) are you a Member of and what are your current focuses?
I am a member and the current leader of the Contaminated Land Working Group. The group are working on a number of projects and my focus as Leader is to try and make sure that projects are progressed. Members do a lot of work in their own time and I’m always impressed with the effort that people put in.

What do you enjoy most about being an AGS Member?
The thing I enjoy most is meeting and getting to know new people from across the industry and the knowledge sharing.

What do you find beneficial about being an AGS Member?
The most beneficial thing is the knowledge sharing and knowing that everyone in the group wants to promote best practice and raise quality in the industry.

Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry?
The AGS is important to industry as we can promote best practice. It gives people / the industry a voice where there is uncertainty.

What changes would you like to see implemented in the geotechnical industry?
The geotechnical industry is still very male dominated! I don’t believe that women should be recruited just to get the gender balance right – they should be recruited on merit. There are more women in the industry now than there were 20 years ago and a lot more is done now in schools to show girls what career opportunities there are – but I think there is still a long way to go.

This article was featured in the July/August 2018 issue of the AGS Magazine which can be viewed here.