I am a senior geo-environmental engineer in the geosciences team at international environmental and engineering consultancy RSK. Based in our Hemel Hempstead office, I am a project manager, health and safety lead for RSK’s UK contract with Shell, on the ASG Safety Working Group, and have recently been invited to join the CL:AIRE Technology and Research Group. I am also a STEM ambassador and outside of work I am a Guide leader, volunteer at a local theatre, play hockey twice a week (and find time for the gym!)
What or who inspired you to join the geotechnical industry?
I was never pushed to study engineering or take it on as a career, however having a father who is a civil engineer might have helped. From a young age I did not know exactly what I wanted to do and, to be honest, I still do not know what is in store for the future. At A-level I chose the subjects I enjoyed the most, which for me was physics, maths and physical education. Then when it came to choose a degree, all I knew was that I did not want an office job. I saw the engineering geology and geotechnics degree at the University of Portsmouth and it seemed like it was made for me: a perfect balance of fieldwork and class-based study leading me in to the geotechnical industry.
What does a typical day entail?
To be honest there is no ‘typical day’ in this industry and I have found that no two days are the same. Every project we work on has its own challenges that need to be overcome. For me, this makes the job exciting and enables me to develop my knowledge and skills every day.
Are there any projects which you’re particularly proud to have been a part of?
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the projects I have worked on during my career with RSK but if I had to choose I would say working as health and safety lead on RSK’s Shell contract, as it has hugely shaped my career in terms of both development and my role within health and safety. In addition, my geotechnical expertise has improved significantly since working with Redrow on a large housing project, where I have been involved in the construction of several retaining walls.
What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
The most challenging part of my role is having the courage to say ‘no’. Project opportunities arise on a daily basis and knowing your limits within regards to time commitments and expertise is a big part of being successful. Whist I would like to be able to help with everything, I have learnt the hard way that sometimes we have to say no.
What AGS Working Group(s) are you a Member of and what are your current focuses?
I am currently a member of the AGS Safety Working Group. Our focus is the creation of bespoke and clear guidance for ground engineers. We are currently working on updating several existing documents.
What do you enjoy most about being an AGS Member?
I enjoy being able to share the skills I have learnt with others in the industry as well as being able to network and gain new insights from others.
What do you find beneficial about being an AGS Member?
The AGS helps to provide support to the industry and being part of the group enables me to have access to the excellent guidance they provide, and gain support and knowledge from other members.
Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry?
The AGS is an important hub for the industry and it is a great way of networking and sharing new ideas. It also provides essential guidance on ever changing standards and sheds light on complicated legal jargon.
What changes would you like to see implemented in the geotechnical industry?
I would like to see an increased use in technology. The world is ever changing and every day we are seeing further developments to improve our future. Rather than fearing its capabilities we need to embrace what technology can do to improve or replace existing techniques.