Staff Spotlight: Charlie Kendall
What is your role within Geotechnics?
I’m an Engineering Geologist at the Exeter office.
How long have you been working with us?
It will be 3 years in January.
What first brought you to Geotechnics?
I worked in the oil industry for a year and I just didn’t really enjoy it. I had a couple of friends who were doing geotechnical engineering and I thought it sounded very interesting. I emailed Anne Simpson, the South West Regional Manager, to ask if I could have some work experience and she asked me to come in for an interview.
How do you think the company has changed since you started here?
It has definitely become a lot more focused on health and safety, which is brilliant. It’s a really good company, and a very supportive company to work for. Their mental health campaigns have been quite relevant to me, and it’s nice to work at a company that’s supportive of issues like that.
I think that kind of thing is so important. I think Geotechnics is different: when I worked in the oil industry for a global company I was just a number, but working at Geotechnics everyone matters. In the Exeter office, it’s almost like a close knit family.
What was it like when you first started working at Geotechnics?
I was very nervous because it was very different to what I was doing before. I was quite lucky because I joined the company at the same time as Dan Reynolds, who I’d been to university with. He already had some industry experience, and he taught me a lot of what I know now. I was very grateful and very fortunate to start at the same time as him.
The early mornings and the long days were hard to get used to at first, but it’s great being able to live in the South West. It’s great to be able to be out and about – even if it’s raining and miserable it’s nice to go out! I’ve never been somebody who can only sit behind a desk, so for me this is the perfect sort of job.
What is a typical day like for you?
I would say every day is different. I’m getting more and more into the management side of things, so I start a job at the beginning. There can be a lot of paperwork and background information that we need to know, so there’s a lot of work behind the scenes before we can even get to site.
After that, once I get to site I’ll be setting up, running inductions, making sure everybody knows what they’re doing and what the rules are. Then my job is getting everybody going: getting people drilling, keeping everybody motivated and completing the job to the best of our ability.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Being out and about, and working with such a brilliant team at the Exeter office. It was quite enlightening for me when I went to an event for Women in Engineering Day. I think I’ve been very fortunate: I feel lucky to work in an office that’s split half-and-half between women and men. I hadn’t really thought about the overall statistics for women to men in this industry. It’s almost like a little bubble down here where everything’s equal! It’s a really positive place to work.
What have been some of your favourite projects to work on?
I’ve done quite a few jobs around Gosport and the Portsmouth seafront. It’s always nice working by the sea - that’s my favourite thing! I like getting my teeth stuck into a project and seeing it from the beginning - through all the pre-start work like writing RAMS to sending off the factual reports at the end. Being able to see a job all the way through to completion is very satisfying.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the industry?
Prepare yourself and show that you’re willing to try everything. Going out in the middle of the winter when it’s pouring with rain isn’t fun, but if you show that you can do it you’re going to gain respect from a lot of people. And don’t be intimidated – it seems quite intimidating at the beginning, but it’s a really good industry to be in, and there are lots of really fun projects to work on.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I do a lot of rock climbing. We live about twenty minutes from Dartmoor, which is famous for its granite tors. So it’s rocks during the week and rocks at the weekend!
I moved to Exeter for this job and I had no friends here. I found out that there was a climbing centre and I thought, “Right, I need to make some friends – and I really want to learn to climb!” I put myself out of my comfort zone to try and meet some people. I did a course and met a lot of friends there, so it was well worth it.
What is a surprising fact that most people would not know about you?
I climbed Mount Etna this summer. It was amazing! We didn’t want to do the normal touristy side of things, so we hiked up. We did a day’s hiking to the top to the see the volcano.
Being a geologist, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was something that I’d been wanting to do for years, and it was brilliant. We got up to just over 2500m and it looked like we were on Mars! It’s just so big – you can’t get a scale on things. It’s just absolutely mind blowing.
Charlie Kendall is an Engineering Geologist at our Exeter office. For more information about our work in the South West, please contact Regional Manager Anne Simpson.
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