Inside Seequent

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Name: Phil Child

Job title: Senior Consultant, Ground Information Management

Company name: Seequent, The Bentley Subsurface Company

What does the company do and what areas does it specialise in?

Seequent has long been established in providing software solutions to geoscientists, serving mining, energy, environmental and civil industries.  After joining the Bentley Systems family in 2021, the infrastructure elements have recently been bolstered.  We now talk more of ‘subsurface’ to emphasize the commonality between engineers and geoscientists as this better reflects the people we serve.

Where is Seequent located?

Seequent is headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand with offices across Europe, the Americas, Australasia, and Africa.

How many people does the company employ?


How long have you worked at Seequent?

Bentley’s Ground Information Team joined Seequent when it became The Bentley Subsurface Company; given the nature of what we do, working more closely with other teams focused on subsurface modelling and analysis made a lot of sense for us. So officially I’ve been with Seequent for less than a year, but if you trace back to the original company before various organisational changes I actually joined Key Systems Geotechnical almost twenty years ago.

What is your career background, and what enticed you to work for Seequent?

Many years ago, I began working for my dad, a geotechnical consultant.  At the time I was a long-haired, English graduate and only intended to stay for a stopgap.  That stopgap turned into six and a half years, and it was there that I gained access to the HoleBASE software.  I then worked within construction alongside the IT department as a document management specialist.  From there, I joined Key Systems Geotechnical as an Applications Manager.  Since then, I’ve held various roles but have always been client facing.  This suits me well as it has been the interaction between the person and the software which has always fascinated me the most.  Perhaps unsurprisingly I’m particularly fond of training and public speaking, that English degree proving to be useful after all!  On the way I also picked up an Environmental Studies degree and studied Law for a while.  At some point I’d like to finish the latter of those but first I need a find a year I can dedicate to study.

What is your current role within Seequent and what does a typical day entail?

As a member of the professional services team, my role involves providing consultative assistance to organisations who are implementing our software.  This typically involves providing coaching assistance, contact meetings and other supporting activities.  In some cases, this includes the development of components such as templates, import mappings or other bespoke resources.  Alongside this, we often support the activities of other departments in the team, such as sales, support, or development.  Additionally, I might put time into other activities which are more specific to my individual role.  For example, I like to evolve our training resources whenever the opportunity allows.  Also, I currently sit on the Data Management and Instrumentation and Monitoring AGS working groups and engage in supporting activities (currently, that seems involve a lot of proof reading!).

What are the company’s core values?

We believe that a better understanding of the Earth creates a better world for all, because when everyone can see the full picture, they can make better decisions that benefit people and the planet. We stand for enabling sustainability for both people and the planet, building community within geoscience and locally, and progressing science by driving innovation and ideas.

Are there any projects or achievements which Seequent are particularly proud to have been a part of?

There are many but something I believe Seequent should be proud of is the culture it has created.  Despite being a sizable organisation, it takes time to celebrate its successes.  This might be the success of colleagues but equally extends to those of our clients.  This serves as a useful reminder that we are all involved in important and useful work, whether we are true ground specialists or providers of services.

How important is sustainability within the company?

Sustainability is key with a focus for considering the ‘handprint’ as well as the ‘footprint’ we can have.  That is, we consider not only our own impact but the impact of others; how we can develop our software and services to aid others to deliver more sustainable offerings.

How does Seequent support graduates and early career professionals who are entering the industry?

As with many companies, colleagues are encouraged to engage in STEM activities at a variety of levels, so you could argue this supports pre-under graduates!  Of course, there are the typical internships, induction courses and mentoring schemes one might expect.  However, there are also specific individuals within our organisation whose role is to engage with universities and foster those relationships.  This provides the students of today with access to the tools and skills that they will be using in the workplace tomorrow.  Further, I believe this can be especially important for geotechnical engineering as I have encountered some students who were otherwise unaware of the existence of this industry!

How has COVID-19 impacted Seequent today? Are there any policies which were made during the pandemic that have been kept to improve employee wellbeing and productivity?

Although remote working has long been the norm for some of us, COVID-19 has normalised this.  This has the added benefit of helping everyone be more focused on the face-to-face meetings, perhaps seeing them more as opportunities than we did three years ago.  In conjunction with this, there is a greater openness to consider and discuss issues of wellbeing.  For example, we have a growing number of mental health first aiders.

Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry?

I feel the AGS provides a vital role to what is a relatively small industry.  What strikes me time again is that ground investigation in the UK is rather like a family – everyone knows everyone else and is very passionate about what they do.  The AGS provides a metaphorical gathering for this family.  It gathers those of similar interest in a non-partisan way to serve and seek the best both for and in our working lives.

What are Seequent’s future ambitions?

For those of us in the Ground Information Management team, we now sit alongside a broader group of software specialists who provide related but distinct products.  I think we can all look forward to a greater interaction between those products and specialities!