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Changing industry

Today's water industry is very different to the one Pointer joined as a young local government engineer in the wastewater sector.

'I fell in love with civil engineering from the very first day at work, ' he says. 'My career plan - in so far as there was one - was gradually to move up the professional and managerial ladder in government service.' This plan had to evolve after local government reorganisation in the 1970s when the new water authorities were formed.

'I've always seen that as the biggest change in the water industry in the UK - even bigger than privatisation, ' says Pointer.

Boundaries were for the first time determined by natural river catchments; water and wastewater businesses were brought together and resources could be planned comprehensively 'from source to sink. That transformed the business, ' he says.

He welcomed the subsequent privatisation in 1989, both for his own career and for the industry. 'It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.' Joining Anglian also marked a change of direction, with a move into the finance arena.

'That gave me a great breadth of experience - you gain a lot from working with other people.'

The work exposed him to the scale of capital investment ahead.

People worried about whether the industry could cope, he recalls, but it did so remarkably well. 'I've been proud to be part of an industry that has, by and large, delivered. Yes, prices have gone up - but service is a quantum leap better than before privatisation.'

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