Name: Chris Eccles
Occupation: survey manager and regional manager (Northwest) of Exploration Associates, a division of Environmental Services Group
Route to the job:
'After graduating from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1987 with a BEng in engineering geology, I joined the company Soil Mechanics and then completed an MSc in soil mechanics at Imperial College. Then I rejoined the company, working on investigations for probjects ranging from domestic premises to the Jubilee Line Extension. In 1997, I moved within the group to Exploration Associates'office near Chester to take on my current role as survey manager, responsible for two offices. Our activities include topographic and hydrographic surveys, land and marine geophysics and oceanographic studies, in the UK and overseas. I am also responsible for the company's regional ground investigation business in North Wales and North-west England. '
'Days are varied. I can be out visiting sites or clients, or in the office. A typical office day involves reviewing quotations and programmes of work, managing some of our projects myself or dealing with personnel and other managerial issues that arise from running a large team in more than one office. '
Highs and lows:
'My current job is my best yet thanks to the diversity of techniques used and in the range of locations. We are carrying out a radar survey in Camden, swathe bathymetry in south-west Scotland, a geoenvironmental investigation of a former chemical works in Cheshire, marine geophysics in Cote D'Ivoire, and geotechnical investigations on the M6. Time demands provide highs and lows, creating rewarding challenges and frustrations. A career low was relinquishing management of the Maidstone office which I set up from scratch prior to being at Chester. '
'My main aim is to manage a larger department providing a wider range of quality services to stringent technical demands. I am coming to the end ofmy threeyear term on the BGS committee and this, among other things, has widened my view of the world of ground engineering. More than ever, I would like help with enhancing the status of the wider geotechnical community. '
'Whether you intend to pursue a career as a contractor or a consultant, a good technical grounding is essential. I recommend obtaining an MSc, balanced with a few years on site getting good practical experience and a 'feel' for ground conditions. '