Name: Richard Pennock
Occupation: senior geoenvironmental engineer, Card Geotechnics
Route to the job:Following a sandwich year working for Seacore installing large diameter rotary bored piles on the Second Severn River Crossing project, I graduated from the Camborne School of Mines in 1995 with a BEng in minerals surveying and resource management. With ESPRC funding I then studied for a MSc in geotechnical engineering at Heriot-Watt/Glasgow University.
After a year at Keller Ground Engineering as a contract site engineer, I joined Waterman Environmental to pursue my career in the geoenvironmental sector. In 2002, I joined Card Geotechnics to head the environmental services in its Leeds office and have since become northern area manager.
Typical day:The variety of tasks means time management is very important. My responsibilities include checking and writing technical reports, cost control, networking and business development, training of junior staff, liaison with contractors and clients, site work/meetings, solving problems innovatively and sorting out the occasional IT problem.
Highs and lows:Highs include gaining overseas experience on a highly gassing site in Beirut alongside Geoff Card, an international expert in this field. Working in the harsh marine environment on the Second Severn Crossing fresh from college was a unique learning curve but a definite high. So is gaining respect from your colleagues and passing on skills to developing graduate engineers. Lows are clients choosing cost over quality, reduced project timescales, problems recruiting high calibre staff and engineers not getting the same recognition as other professionals.
Ambitions:To become a chartered engineer, gain more overseas experience, diversify the services offered by the company, continually improve technical skills to provide innovative solutions to problems, learn from my peers to become a specialist in the area of hazardous gas and to continue to enjoy the work that I do with those around me by maintaining a good work-life balance.
Advice:Know your strengths and weaknesses and those of others around you. Encourage and listen to your colleagues. Work for both small and large companies to gain a broad range of experience in diverse projects in the early years to assess your future direction and area of interest. Continually seek challenges by taking on projects outside your immediate knowledge base/comfort zone.
Lastly, have fun doing it!