Senior Ecological Consultant and team leader, Oliver Silver, shares a typical Monday as a team leader within the ecology side of Thomson Environmental Consultants.
I’m more productive in the morning (when the office is quiet) so I’ve made a habit of getting in early. Many of us share this early bird approach at Thomson. Coffee first, then work.
Senior Ecological Consultants at Thomson manage many different environmental projects simultaneously. Projects vary in complexity, scale, location, sector etc. and this means that no two solutions are ever the same. To succeed as an ecological consultant among this continually moving landscape, one must create a list as well as drink coffee or tea regularly. Make a list, prioritise the list, execute the list.
Thomson holds a company-wide meeting, linking all offices via Skype every Monday at 10:00 am sharp. As a senior member of staff, I deliver exciting news from the preceding week and lay out the challenges and opportunities ahead for the Guildford Ecology team. Most weeks the team are out in the field using their protected species licences to investigate project sites and find protected animals. Roosting bats, breeding great crested newts and hibernating dormice are commonplace.
Remember the list? The goal is to knock one big-ticket item off by now. This could include building a complex quotation, reviewing a protected species report, to authoring a European Protected Species Licence. The variety of ecological consultancy work keeps things interesting.
By now, the office is buzzing with ecologists, bid managers, geospatial technicians and support staff. I’m lucky enough to manage my own team of ecologists, who operate under the name ‘Team Silverback’. We regularly hold ‘scrum’ meetings where team members have an opportunity to share what they’re working on and how they plan to achieve it. My role is to listen, rally resources and generally steer the team in the right direction. Each team member has different strengths and I encourage them to pursue and develop these at every opportunity.
The hacky-sac tradition. It’s difficult to explain, but incredibly addictive. The goal is to pass a small ball (or sac) filled with rice, between each player without using your hands and without the hacky-sac hitting the ground. It’s less about the game and more about the people. It’s an opportunity to be outside, de-stress and unashamedly laugh with your colleagues.
“Work like hell…like, every waking hour” – Elon Musk (a hero of mine). It’s easy to embrace this way of thinking when you genuinely enjoy what you do. On the flip-side, Thomson offers flexible working hours, openly listen to their employees and continually evolve internal policies to ensure a healthy work/life balance. With that disclaimer out the way, I can tell you that hard work is rewarded at Thomson and that provides me with a solid platform to drive career progression, daily.
When it comes to beautiful views, Surrey Research Park is hard to beat. Our office overlooks ponds, veteran oak trees and vast expanses of broad-leaved woodland with birds continually gliding overhead. This is the time to reflect on ‘the list’ and plan for tomorrow. At the end of the day I also like to encourage my team to problem solve and innovate in a less formal way by bouncing ideas off each other – how can we do things better, faster, more efficiently. We’re the experts in ecology and we’re working hard to keep it that way.
How we can help you
In many cases, a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is the first stage in any site assessment. These can be done year round, with the optimal timing being between April and September.
If you require the services of one of our expert ecology teams, whether it’s for a European Protected Species License, a dormouse survey, or a conversation about the requirements your project has for gaining environmental compliance, get in touch today. We can book your work in early, allowing you the benefit of our support and guidance along your project journey, enabling you to meet your goals on time and on budget.
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