Climbing the ladder
Environmental Consultant Charles Haine describes his career route to becoming General Manager for consultancy firm Posford Haskoning Environment Gulf, based in Bahrain.
Charles has worked for Posford Haskoning since 1994 but last year grasped the opportunity to help set up, manage and run the company’s first exclusively ‘environmental’ overseas office – in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Prior to environmental consultancy, he worked as an environmental officer for a plastics company and a marketing company.
Following a Geography degree (with environmental science and planning) at Birmingham, I gained a Masters qualification in Marine Resource Management from Heriot-Watt University in 1992. The latter, which involved carrying out a real Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), economic feasibility study for a new marina, studying auditing techniques in the oil and gas sector and marine biology modules provided an excellent grounding in coastal issues. This is an area in which Posford Haskoning staff are leading specialists. However, my first job was not directly relevant to this. In the early 90’s it was a case of obtaining any position with the word ‘environment’ in the title, such was competition for jobs.
As an Environmental Officer for a plastics company in sunny Skelmersdale, I had to do battle with cynics and traditional engineering attitudes, a theme which is still encountered frequently in the industry today! The learning curve was steep and I gained essential experience in implementing audit findings, setting up an Environmental Management System (EMS) to BS7750 (now ISO14001), waste management and giving presentations at Board level. When this 14-month contract was complete, I attended 15 interviews for environmental jobs and came second in two (it was hard in the early 90’s!). Following a six-month temping job at a vibrant Twickenham-based marketing company, I got back on the career path as Graduate Environmental Scientist with Posford Duvivier (1994).
One of my role’s during these early years was to develop skills in ‘environmental noise’. This involved practical training in measurement and analysis (Institute of Acoustics course) and many nights carrying our surveys in bizarre locations (e.g. Birkenhead Docks, Torquay harbour and Snowdonia National Park) to help assess the potential for development projects to cause sleep disturbance to sensitive receptors.
For me, working in consultancy is not only about technical input but managing commissions to time and budget, serving a Client, consultation with the public and marketing the company’s services, whilst at the same time raising awareness about positive environmental management and sustainable initiatives. I truly believe the work we do contributes to society in a positive way.
My other project experience includes EIA work for a new golf course and hotel in Cambridge, the redevelopment of Stanlow Waterfront for Shell UK and environmental audits in Bulgarian shipyards. I have also researched EMS for UK, Italian and Dutch ports and local authorities. My project management experience also includes the prestigious Bristol Channel Marine Aggregates Research Project, a number of major sewage treatment scheme assessments for Anglian Water Services and Post Project Evaluations of coastal defence schemes for MAFF. By 1998 I had gained promotion to Environmental Scientist and then Senior level. There are three more levels to which one can aspire.
I am currently the General Manager for the Bahrain office in the Arabian Gulf (two-year placement), where responsibility includes input to, and management of, EIAs, proposal writing and getting to grips with all financial aspects of the business. I have worked on 12 major Gulf projects including an EIA for the Formula One International Racing Circuit and large-scale (i.e. 20km2) dredging and reclamation projects for leisure/residential/resort developments.
My travels have taken me to Kuwait (power station), Oman (new port and shipyard) and UAE (expansion of aluminum smelter). With staff to manage and promoting the firm, there is never a dull, or quiet, moment. We have to win many projects in a tender process so there is also an element of pressure and competitive edge, without which I would become bored. The work is very varied, takes you to different locations and involves talking to people from different backgrounds and cultures.
Employment History and Education
|2001 to date||General Manager, Posford Haskoning Environment Gulf (Bahrain)|
|1994 to 2001||Environmental Scientist, Posford Duvivier (now Haskoning) Environment|
|1992 to 1993||Environmental Officer, Fibracan Limited|
|1992||1992 Technical Assistant, National Waterways/Watershed Systems/Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh Joint Project|
MSc in Marine Resource Management (RICS approved) with Distinction (Institute of Offshore Engineering, UK) 1992
BA (Hons) Geography (University of Birmingham, UK) 1991
Certificate of Competence in Environmental Noise Measurement (Institute of Acoustics) 1995
|Professional Membership:||Associate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (AIEMA)|
Posford Haskoning is the UK branch of Royal Haskoning, an independent Company of professionals, whose consultancy activities are based on technological and business know-how, focused on the interaction of people and their environment. The scope and synergy of the capabilities in our company ensure an innovative spirit and the capability to deliver outstanding quality in all that we do. Originally part of UK-firm Posford Duvivier, we are now part of a company employing 2,300 staff with a wide range of knowledge and experience. Our UK offices can be found in Peterborough, London, Hayward’s Heath, Exeter, Newcaste-upon-Tyne, Greater Manchester, Edinburgh, Elgin, Dublin and Caernarfon.
We are committed to working enthusiastically with our clients to achieve sustainable solutions in an increasingly complex society. We offer effective, personalised services locally, based on globally acquired expertise, which add value to our client’s businesses.
Royal Haskoning has subsidiaries and partners throughout the world. Through our network of branch and project offices in Europe and overseas, we have access to all major international markets.
The Group is organised into eight main disciplines, or Business Groups, which operate across geographical boundaries. They are:
- Architecture and Building;
- Coastal and Rivers;
- Infrastructure and Transport;
- Mechanical and Electrical;
- Spatial Development;
- climate change;
- safety and risk;
- mobility of goods;
- mobility of man;
- transformation of space.
Content of this article/career:
Mr Charles Haine:
Tel: 00973 9191218