Celebrating young careers

February 19, 2018

Congratulations go to RSK’s Matthew Sweeney of the RSK geoscience team who has won the Western Regional Geological Society heat of the Geological Society Early Careers Award, narrowly beating Josh Taylor of Structural Soils (an RSK company) into second place. The competition is open to all Fellows of the Geological Society with less than 10 years’ experience who are working towards chartership. Matthew and Josh were selected from a list of entrants to give 10-minute presentations on their chosen topics.

Geoenvironmental consultant Matthew chose to present on the material suitability and testing specifications to develop and deliver a flood attenuation scheme as part of a large housing development.

“At this project in the west Cotswolds, we took a multidisciplinary approach to include contaminated land and drainage infrastructure that fed into the wider development scenario and future proofing the flood risk by developing a storm water attenuation pond to contain runoff from the wider development area. Targeted ground investigations and focused material suitability testing were key in delivering the project,” Matthew explains.

Data manager Josh chose to present on integrating and visualising ground investigation (GI) records for interpretation and communication.

“We had been asked to summarise all the data that had been collected by numerous contractors over an extended period of time into a format that would enable detailed analysis of complex geological units over the proposed route of a 30-km cable. The data had to be easily understandable to all the staff who were to be utilising it, from technical project planners to the operators of on-site directional drilling rigs. The utilisation of a multifaceted database, in combination with a series of simplified output drawing tools, enabled large volumes of data to be easily displayed and understood,” comments Josh.

After much head scratching by a panel of experienced judges and series of probing questions from the audience of geological professionals, Matthew was judged to have won by the slimmest of margins.

“We felt that both presentations offered very different insights to the work undertaken by young professionals today,” comments Mike Addinall, Structural Soils senior geotechnical engineer and young careers officer for the Geological Society Western Regional Group. “The understanding and manipulation of large volumes of data are increasingly important in the modern world, and this was clearly and concisely demonstrated by Josh. We felt that the importance of high-quality primary data collection and subsequent analysis and manipulation were accurately demonstrated by Matthew, along with a broad range of geological and geoenvironmental considerations. Matthew presented in a clear, confident manner and interacted professionally with the audience.”

Matthew now moves forward to the national finals, which will be held at Burlington House in London, UK, on 8 June.