1. What is your role at Opus?
I am a Senior Environmental Scientist working with the contaminated land team for the Midlands office in the United Kingdom. My day-to-day role includes undertaking contaminated land Investigations, desk based studies, supervising soil, gas and groundwater investigations, monitoring remediation works, preparing factual and interpretative reports, liaison with key stakeholders like clients, landowners and regulators, and day to day project management.
I am one of a few employees trained and experienced in conducting detailed human health risk assessments and I have recently been appointed as the secretary for the in-house contaminated land interest network - a committee dedicated to promoting and safeguarding our discipline.
2. What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
Every site is different, including its location, historical context, proposals for development and degree of contamination. This makes my role interesting, varied and sometimes very challenging. As a result, I am always broadening my knowledge and learning new skills to successfully fulfill my role and to meet our clients’ requirements and expectations. I am also lucky enough to be involved with contamination projects on an international scale and, after six months of secondment to the Christchurch office in New Zealand, I still find myself getting involved with New Zealand projects whilst back in the UK.
3. What has been your biggest career achievement?
Completing my master’s degree in 2013 enabled me to take a big step in my career progression. Not only did I get the opportunity to work in New Zealand for 6 months, I also achieved a senior position within the company. Whilst in New Zealand, I worked on contamination projects related to the earthquake re-build which I found to be very rewarding and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of learning new legislation and guidance and putting this into practice. Over the past couple of years I have also taken on more responsibilities as a result of my progression, including project management and mentoring and training of graduate and junior engineers. I am also currently working towards chartered status within the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).
4. Outside of Opus, what do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy walks in the countryside with my Husband and my very bouncy dog Pip, and horse riding at my local trekking centre, as it’s a great way to let off some steam. I also enjoy holidays, eating out and regular family gatherings.
5. What advice would you give to people beginning their career?
It was daunting entering a large consulting engineering business fresh from University but if you are willing to take on the challenges that you are presented with, you will find that the hard work you put in at the start of your career will help you achieve your professional goals much easier. Stick with it through the tough times, because the hard work usually pays off. Seek out the opportunities for training and development inside and outside the company. I have regularly attended lunchtime and evening seminars to keep up with my continued professional development as well as taking the opportunity to complete my master’s degree on a part time basis whilst still gaining experience and mentoring from my workplace.