During my penultimate year at the University of Surrey I was introduced to Tony Gee at a Surrey Scholarship event – ‘Meet the Companies’. Following the event I applied to work for the Geotechnical Group over my final summer break. I very much enjoyed working in the group and the type of work was a good mix of project and research work. On the back of my summer placement I was sponsored by Tony Gee for my final year.
Before I graduated I had been told about the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Environmental Technology at Surrey. Whilst I was keen to continue my academic studies I also wanted to start working and the EngD offered both. So I spoke with the University and the company to find out whether Tony Gee would sponsor me to do the EngD and what areas of research would be of interest. The focus of the course is to do research in industry, for industry and so the topic needed to be of benefit to the business.
I completed my EngD researching the decision process used in assessing contaminated land in 2009. Alongside this I was working on projects, mostly for the Geotechnical Group.
The EngD course I took included a number of modules related to Environmental Technology and my research. These covered sustainable development, environmental law, life cycle analysis and environmental management systems, amongst others.
These courses have given me a good grounding in environmental issues, enabling me to have input to the company’s Environmental Management System and ultimately take on the responsibility of Environmental Manager. It has also allowed me to take on Project Environmental Management roles and lead me to become a CEEQUAL Assessor.
Aside from the benefit of the modules the EngD has given me technical knowledge and also an opportunity to develop my research skills which has influenced my approach to problem solving in my day to day project work.
At the moment the thing I like most about my role is the variability. I work as a Geotechnical Engineer dealing with all sorts of technical projects and I get to be involved in Environmental and wider Sustainable design issues as well. That is all alongside my non-technical role as Environmental Manager.
That is one of the things I particularly like about Tony Gee; if you are interested and want to get involved in the company management systems you can.
I think that is one of the main things that made me want to come and work here. From my first summer placement I was working with the Group Director which was a great opportunity to learn from an experienced Geotechnical Engineer.
There is always an open door from any level and I think the new students coming through start to pick that up quite quickly. You really can just go and talk to the head of your group if you’ve got a question, they will always make time for you. From my experience I would say that sort of flat structure is prevalent across the whole organisation.
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