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GE jobfile

Steve Branch

Age: 35

Managing director of LBH Wembley Geotechnical & Environmental, geoenvironmental specialist providing investigation, analytical, reporting and consultancy services

Route to the job: 'I graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic with a degree in engineering geology and geotechnics in 1986. After graduating I worked for a year with Ground Explorations as a soils engineer, joined Wembley Laboratories in 1987 and completed a part-time MSc in geotechnical engineering at Surrey University in 1991. LBH Wembley was established as an independent company by four former Wembley Labs engineers in 1992 after a brief spell with a Dutch parent company. We now have a staff of 10.'

Typical day: 'Roughly 75% of my time is probably spent in the office. I live in London, which is where much of our work and our clients are based. Most mornings I will therefore have a meeting with a client or visit a new site on my way to the office. Much of my time in the office is spent pricing new work and supervising existing projects. The remainder of the time is hugely varied; I have my own project work, which is mainly consultancy and covers geotechnical as well as contaminated land work and can include for example visits to sites, meetings with the Environment Agency, foundation analysis and specifying remediation schemes. A large part of every day is spent on the 'phone talking to clients about new and existing work.'

Highs and lows: 'I gain a huge amount of satisfaction from the success and growth of the company from its modest beginnings; the downside is perhaps the level of time and commitment that needs to be put in. I enjoy the opportunity to see inside some fascinating structures, such as national monuments, tunnels and Victorian reservoirs.'

Ambitions: 'There is huge scope for providing information electronically and I would like us to be providing paperless reports within the next five years. I would like to work in a confident industry that is respected, understood and valued by its clients, without having to become a lawyer.

Advice for would-be LBH Wembley employees:

'Always push for as much responsibility in your work as you can cope with, talk to clients whenever possible and understand the wider commercial implications of what you do. For contaminated land work understand the legislative framework, as it drives many of the decisions that are taken regarding purchasing sites and the level of remediation.'

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