When and why did you join APEM?
I joined APEM as a field scientist in 2001 having been employed by Thames Water as an aquatic scientist. I had been driving a van around London collecting water samples from reservoirs, rivers and public facilities like leisure centres, libraries and civic centres. After a year of spending half of my life stuck in traffic jams the position at APEM came up and I grasped the opportunity and moved to Manchester.
I’d already travelled and worked all over the world and I realised that I’d seen more of the rest of the globe than I had of the UK. So joining APEM got me out of London and into a job with a lot more ecology and a lot more opportunity to explore the UK.
Sixteen years later im pretty sure I’ve been to every city in the UK and been immersed in pretty much all of the major river systems across Britain.
How did your career progress at APEM?
I started out on a temporary contract, doing a bit of whatever was needed. This was just as foot and mouth hit the UK in 2001, which was a very challenging time for the company as the countryside became almost completely out of bounds. At that time APEM had just eight employees so we all mucked in and got through difficult times doing what we could, when we could.
I then progressed onto a permanent contract as a full time field scientist and as APEM expanded I began leading field teams across the UK. I led the development of the field department as a subdivision within the company, with our own equipment stores for an ever growing equipment inventory.
Once promoted as a principal scientist, I was managing the whole field team department across the UK with a team and kit in each of our offices. This prompted a change in my job with most of the work done from our HQ in Manchester and a lot of time spent on the phone.
My current role as associate director has come with another set of challenges but I still manage to get out and about whenever needed (often as the last resort).
What has been the best bit about your job?
I’m immensely proud to head up what I consider to be the finest field survey department in the UK, if not Europe. So the best thing about my job is working with the team around me and their commitment to the organisation whilst improving the environment around us.
I feel privileged to have contributed to the conservation of British wildlife (especially the fish of course) and I genuinely feel that APEM is in a position to support protection of water resources in the future.
Tell us one thing you’ve learned from working at APEM
Hard work and tenacity brings rewards. Developing the APEM field team has been a real challenge for me and others in the firm, but it is well worth it. Working together and supporting each other with day to day activities in the field has great rewards and really brings the team together during the tough times.
What are your top tips for people in your field?
Work hard and find a niche area of expertise that you find fascinating and talk about it with your colleagues (over a pint or two). Most importantly, just occasionally take a step back and remember how lucky we all are.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to continue to expand the field team, taking the opportunity to encourage and support other people in a successful career in the sector. We’re looking to expand into new markets in Europe and the US, and also to diversify wherever we see opportunities, most notably in supporting catchment management initiatives.
If you have any queries, please contact Peter Dennis, associate director.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.