Demystified: Environmental Engineer Has An Edge In Industry
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Gary Winder’s career in environmental and civil engineering began at the University of Newcastle in the late 1980's. After graduating with a civil engineering degree, his professional career has centred on environmental consultancy and the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
In this interview, Gary tells us about his engineering journey so far – and the challenges he has faced.
Tell us a little about your professional background.
I began my career as a site engineer at a company called Watson Hawksley. After working in a project management role, I knew this was a path I wanted to pursue and I progressed on to several project management roles at various leading environmental consultancy firms over several years.
In 1998, I became the regional director at Encia Consulting Ltd before moving onto a director role at WYG [an engineering consultancy] in 2004. Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to oversee several major redevelopment projects, including the redevelopment of former industrial sites and North West Portland [USA].
What are you working on at the moment?
In February, I was appointed managing director at Resource and Environmental Consultants Ltd (REC), a UK-wide consultancy which has just celebrated the opening of a 14th UK office in Aberdeen.
I also act as the Chair of the CIWEM (The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management) Contaminated Land Network. In this capacity, I act as both the Chair and a member of the Contaminated Land Network steering group, which has over 400 members.
What does your role entail on a day-to-day basis?
As an experienced project manager I oversee all aspects of a redevelopment project. We may be called upon to redevelop various industrial sites – including chemical, engineering and colliery – and it is my job to liaise with public and private sector clients.
I’m often required to communicate with local authorities and stake holders in this capacity, as much of our work will impact on both private and government-owned land.
I oversee multi-disciplinary teams throughout the duration of the projects and I also have to take financial costs into consideration, in order to account for any abnormal expenditures.
Which projects do you most enjoy managing?
I couldn’t choose one specific project! Although my background is primarily in the redevelopment of brownfield sites, resolving complex issues and liaising with clients and our team makes every project a pleasure to manage.
What are the biggest challenges currently facing the industry?
One fundamental challenge is having the capacity to keep up with constantly evolving, extremely technical subjects. In this respect, we have to respond to changes in our environment, such as accounting for climate change and an ever-increasing population.
The subjects we deal with means that we are required to evolve, adapt and learn indefinitely. We are ideally placed to react to needs and demands, but in a highly competitive sector, staying at the forefront of new developments is fundamentally what gives us our edge.
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