NAME: Jack Townsend
CURRENT TITLE: Geo-Environmental Consultant
AREA OF EXPERTISE: Geotechnical and environmental engineering
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: Nearly two years of industry experience
EDUCATION: BSc in Geology and MSc in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics both from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom (UK)
What’s your job like?
My job is currently approximately 70% fieldwork predominately undertaking ground investigations across the UK to assess the geotechnical and environmental properties of the ground.The remaining 30% is in the office collating data gathered from fieldwork and production of reports to send off to various clients.
What’s a typical day like?
A typical day usually consists of a long drive to the site. Upon arrival, a quick site reconnaissance is required to determine locations of exploratory holes. I am a liaison with drillers and excavation operatives to discuss health and safety and potential challenges that may be present throughout the day. A series of ground intrusive techniques are used, enabling samples to be extracted and logged for environmental and geotechnical purposes that will be tested to enhance our understanding of the ground conditions, thus providing a safe, economic and efficient foundation for engineering whatever the development may be. The day will end with a debrief, tidy up and possibly installation of monitoring pipes. Samples will then be carted off to be scheduled and tested and subsequent results of fieldwork, lab results and observations will be reported for the client.
No two days are the same. The industry provides numerous opportunities to specialize in a variety of aspects of engineering from foundation design to remediation of contaminated soils. Opportunity to work outdoors, travel and involvement of large civil engineering projects is always a bonus.
It can be challenging to work long hours away from home, work during the night and meet tight deadlines whilst maintaining the high quality the industry expects of you.
What’s your advice to students?
It was only a couple of years ago that I was a student myself, so without sounding patronizing I would say the skills you gain from things outside of earth sciences such as communication and leadership through sports and bar work for example can be vital when entering industry and progressing your career.