Lesley has worked at TSP Projects four years this July. Since joining the team she has grown and developed, taking on more responsibility and now managing staff, something which she had never done before. Over the past two years, she has also found time to undertake two major professional development projects, achieving a Diploma in Acoustics from Leeds Becketts University and becoming a Trainer in Waste Management for the Chartered Institute of Waste Management.
These two achievements mean that TSP Projects can now offer noise assessments for projects and run a Waste Management training centre in York.
Lesley’s team look at the environmental impact of projects through assessing and mitigating risks in order to limit their impact.
The team assess proposed designs and where there is impact, they liaise with designers to try and change location or specific design elements to reduce it.
“You can’t always reduce the impact, so consents may need to be requested before work can take place on listed buildings and listed structures. If this is the case, we liaise with local planning authorities to get the consent in place ready for construction to begin.”
As a Senior Environmental Consultant Lesley is involved with coordinating jobs and projects. Her responsibilities range from managing the workload of her team, ensuring work is delivered on time, to budget and to at the very least a satisfactory quality.
Why engineering and environmental management?
Lesley always knew she wanted to be involved in environmental management of some kind “I was lucky, I was one of those people who went to university and thought I knew what I wanted to do. I got into the course and really enjoyed it.”
By starting her career working on varied projects with lots of different contractors, Lesley was able to discover which part of environmental management she was really interested in. Waste management and sound are her specialisms and she describes why they are of interest to her.
“There are so many opportunities to reduce the net waste that construction sites generate. There is a lot of waste generated in excavation and it is always difficult to know what to do with it – in a role like mine you can influence that in the design stage by asking questions and offering alternatives
Do you have to have large excavation for foundations or could you build on a raft? You try to design projects with as little waste as possible and then look at opportunities to reuse on site or seek the options to take it off site under different regulations.”
Alongside mitigating the impact of waste in the design phase Lesley appreciates that sound pollution can have a huge impact on people’s lives and enjoys the challenge of trying to find ways to decrease it. “Construction is normally temporary, but you have an operational railway or building to consider as well. Say you are building a new railway or a new factory, that could have long term impact on the environment, nearby properties, or schools, so again there are requirements to try and reduce that impact as much as possible.”
What are you most proud of?
One of Lesley’s major projects and the one which led to her nomination for the Business Excellence Awards was assessing the environmental risks on the Trans Pennine route upgrade.
The role was quite intense and involved a lot of different people. Lesley was tasked with managing resources both from within TSP Projects, and an external team of sub-contractors for 450 ground investigations and 20 structures. She kept archaeologists up to date with what ground or site investigation was required, planned investigations, and supplied feedback about any issues. The contractor then decided on a programme of work for each site, which in some cases required an archaeologist to revisit the site for a reassessment immediately before work could begin.
“The Trans Pennine route upgrade is what I like doing. I was heavily involved, out on site and communicating with lots of different parties. It was the job I enjoyed the most and the one I got the most from.”
How would you encourage others to become engineers?
When asked about encouraging others to become engineers Lesley focusses on the variety of opportunities available; even for those who haven’t studied or worked in engineering before.
“My job involves liaising with lots of different parties, so if you are good at communication that is great. You may be interested in the environment as a whole, and become a generalist, but there are so many specific areas you could specialise in as well.”
“Engineering can be challenging but really, really rewarding and interesting. I think it is a great career, you don’t have to have a relevant degree, we have someone with a pharmaceutical background, English, business and civil engineering – you can start as an intern and just give it a chance.”
How would you encourage women and young girls to enter engineering, rail and construction industries?
“It’s not unusual to be a woman in engineering industry, there’s lots of women working in engineering – you are treated as an equal and there is no difference between man and woman as far as I see it. There is equal opportunity for everyone to develop and you will be encouraged as a woman to undertake different roles and learn different aspects – it’s not a scary place really. Yes, site environments are different, but I think it is something you would enjoy and is a great experience.”