When and why did you join APEM?

I joined as a senior consultant in 2005, moving north to the Manchester office from Southampton where I’d been working at an aquatic research laboratory. I was drawn by the chance to be part of an independent consultancy with a strong focus on fisheries research across both freshwater and marine environments. I joined alongside Stuart Clough, who is now a company director.

It turned out to be a great time to join. The company was going through a period of rapid expansion and I helped guide our fisheries work as it grew, particularly in the area of fisheries engineering.

How did your career progress at APEM?

With my background in fisheries engineering, in my first week with the company I put together a tender for a large piece of fish entrainment work – and we won!

This led to lots of late nights driving around intakes on the River Dee, which was tiring but great. I also have this project to thank for my budding relationship with Luke Teague. Luke is now APEM’s health and safety manager and we’ve been married for the last seven years.

The project paved the way for APEM to make a name for ourselves within fisheries engineering, which has been my focus ever since. I’ve worked on all manner of brilliant projects for a diverse range of clients, including some really interesting R&D studies such as developing an ultrasound deterrent for the protection of shad at water intakes.

After plenty of time out and about in the field as well as managing projects in the office, I worked my way up through the company continuing to specialise in fisheries science and ecology. During my 12 year career at APEM I have been head of the fisheries and marine ecology teams.

In 2011 the company was expanding again and opening offices around the country, so I volunteered to head up a new location in Wales. Four of us moved from Manchester to an office that I had found just outside Cardiff. Now there are ten of us with representatives from the aquatic consultancy, field and laboratory teams. We have a real family atmosphere and are fuelled predominantly on cake and treats.

Recently I moved into an exciting new role as divisional director of physical aquatic consultancy and head of the fisheries team. I’m very proud to have been part of APEM for the last 12 years and to have developed my career alongside its growth and development.

What have been your highlights?

A really big highlight happened this year, when we won a Water Industry Achievement Award for a project on shad that we carried out for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. It was a big and innovative project that involved specialists from right across the company. It was quite challenging with plenty of late nights so it was really good for all the team’s hard work to be recognised.

APEM has also always been a big supporter of the Institute of Fisheries Management, which is really a key body in my line of work. I’m now into my second term as chair of the institute’s Welsh branch, which is fantastic.

What’s the best bit about your job?

Setting up the Cardiff office and seeing the team here make it a success is something I’m very proud of. I also love being part of the wider aquatic consultancy team and the best bit is that I get to do the specialist fisheries work that I find so interesting with the support of a great team. It’s the people I work with, and the clients I work for, that make this a great job.

One thing you’ve learned from working at APEM?

It’s really important to have a good team of people from a range of disciplines who have different but complementary skills and experience. That sets you up to work together to give clients the best possible outcomes.

Plans for the future?

I’m looking forward to developing my new role as a divisional director alongside the work we do in aquatic consultancy, in terms of not only the fisheries team, but also other areas such as river restoration. And of course, I’m always looking for ways to raise the profile of the company and build our client base here in Wales.

Top tips for people in your field?

I think what really works is to get a broad range of experience within the field that interests you. Also, don’t underestimate the value of networking and building good contacts.

And for people in the fisheries field, consider joining the Institute of Fisheries Management. There are loads of benefits and it’s a great way to network – maybe I’ll see you at an event sometime.

If you have any queries, please contact Nicola Teague, Head of Fisheries.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.