Hello Martin – tell us about a typical day in Geo-Environmental at REC.
Geo-Environmental is one of the five main services we provide to clients at REC. It involves looking at land quality from a contamination and geo-technics point of view and advising them on any clean up and foundations. There are often a lot of specialists and stakeholders involved on any given project and I spend a lot of my time communicating with clients and our team both in the office and nationally. I can often speak to more than 50 people in a day!
What is your experience in the environmental consultancy sector?
I Joined Mouchel 11 years ago as a graduate hydrogeologist and spent a lot of time working with local authories on minewater rebound, maintaining drinking water supplies with water companies, dewatering schemes and even a geothermal district heating scheme on the south coast.
Parsons Brinckerhoff (now WSP) offered me a fantastic opportunity to work in the contaminated land sector which also came with a move to Manchester in 2013. The work was quite a change and this was my first foray into the property sector, something I have become heavily involved with over time. There was a lot of risk assessment work for groundwater and human health. I worked for some time on the Moorside Nuclear project (currently cancelled) and there was a lot of trips to Birmingham for HS2.
My real love however has been for the ‘North’, having studied in Leeds, with a family from Liverpool and living in Manchester for close to 6 years now. So, when REC approached me to run the Geo-Environmental business up here, I jumped at the opportunity.
Are there any projects you’re working on at the moment that are particularly interesting?
It still surprises me just how varied the work is at REC. On any day I could be authorising a report for a small hospital extension of half a dozen beds or looking at vast data sets for a Manchester masterplan project like Mayfield. For anyone who’s seen the huge stockpile next to the Mancunian Way, we’ve been working out the best uses for it.
I’ve also had some interesting industrial clients lately with VitaFoam and Soreen. Visiting factories is always fascinating as you’ll learn something new about how things are made.
What makes REC different?
The support of our colleagues at the laboratories of Concept Life Sciences means there is a huge knowledge base to draw on when we need it. Our junior team members get exposed to so many types of project that progression and promotion often comes quickly for them. Focusing purely on environmental services gives us a clear identity with our clients and I find we are often appointed for multiple services.
REC is constantly growing, our Geo-Environmental team has expanded significantly in recent months and we now have a team of 30 Geo-Environmental specialists who work across the UK from Scotland to Plymouth!
What three words would you use to describe your role?
Fast Paced Fun
How do you stay connected within the industry?
Anyone who has met me knows I love to network and meet people. I’ll often be at two or three events a week. I also sit on a number of committees including the Forum for the Built Environment (fbe) which promotes the built environment sector in Manchester. My work with the Manchester Young Professionals aims to bring together people in their 20s and 30s across different sectors and with the Geological Society I promote understanding of geoscience to co-professionals.
What advice would you give to people wanting to start a career in the Geo-Environmental sector?
Get a work placement either for a few months or for a whole year as part of an undergraduate or master’s course. This provides really useful practical experience which is difficult to learn when studying a university degree.
What gets you up in the morning?
Next door’s kids? My alarm? I’m very sociable and have always loved being in the thick of it. The work I do is helping shape the city of Manchester, somewhere I’ve become very proud of and I love walking around and seeing the projects I’ve worked on getting lived in and enjoyed by so many.