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Falling for Ofwat

It was New Civil Engineer that led Dr Bill Emery to join the team at Ofwat. 'In 1989 I saw an ad in NCE from Ofwat seeking a head of engineering intelligence, so I threw my hat in the ring and was lucky enough to join Ian Byatt as one of his three leading policy advisors, ' Luck probably had less to do with the appointment than Emery's impressive CV. He was working as the strategic business manager for Yorkshire Water Services at the time and already had 15 years industry experience, was a chartered civil engineer, and had an MBA and a PhD in public health engineering as well as his civil and structural engineering degree.

Initially Emery only intended to stay with the regulator for five years. 'Then I was going to get back into a real job but 15 years later I am still here, ' he says.

'This job is fascinating. This industry has changed so much and the periodic reviews are serious events.'

More change is on its way.

From April 2005 the Office of the Director General of Water Services (Ofwat) will be abolished and replaced by the Water Services Regulatory Authority. Rather than having a single director general to sign off the price determinations, it will be done by the new board.

'Effectively we do operate as a board but [the change in structure] will place a huge additional workload on top of what the non-executive directors already have to do, ' he says.

Emery travels extensively for his work. Next week he is off to Mexico to talk to the government about how regulation works in the UK.

He regularly travels to other countries, most recently Australia, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

So it is no surprise that he is choosing a quiet break in North Wales for this years' family holiday.

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