A weekly feature on the lives and loves of people from our city.
My day: A day typically starts at 6am with breakfast with a bit of a read to wake up my mind. The walk to work along the river and through Grosvenor Park to City Road sees the best of Chester. – and I’m normally in there by 8am so it’s a peaceful walk!
Black & Veatch, where I work, is an engineering consultancy specialising in water treatment and flood risk work in the UK. This involves working in a team either in assessing problems and developing design solutions or meeting landowners and other interested organisations on site. My projects cover the North, the Midlands and North Wales and so a site visit can often take a full day.
Lunch is normally the opportunity to catch up on the outside world and <em/> news, personal emails and, vitally, any updates from Huddersfield Town Football Club!
As well as developing engineering designs my job involves looking for new work and managing project finances and staffing.
After work I continue on to my second job as chair of Chester Operatic Society. Organisational and rehearsal matters take up much of my time. We’ve had a variable set of venues recently but we’re keen to return our main show to Chester for the first time since the Gateway closed. Our forthcoming performance of Sondheim’s Company is at the Vanbrugh Theatre at the King’s School at the end of May.
We’re also working hard for our next performance, Volunteer Street, telling the story of an ordinary Chester couple at the outbreak of the First World War, at St Mary’s Centre in early July.
Dress: In the office we present a professional, smart appearance. Out on site, however, safety is paramount – there can be a lot of vehicles moving which makes it vital that you can be seen. So my safety wear includes hi-vis, hard hat, safety glasses, safety boots, and gloves. It’s a little different in the evening, with Chester Operatic Society, where I have to consider costumes more than uniforms.
What is the favourite part of your job? We really make a difference to people’s lives with flood defence works, water and wastewater treatment. I was the lead designer for the Nottingham Left Bank Flood Alleviation Scheme for the Environment Agency, which provided improved flood defences for around 16,000 people over a 25km length. The scheme passed through some very sensitive and public locations and I enjoyed the challenge of balancing the priorities of different stakeholders.
What is your least favourite part of your job? As a civil engineer you sometimes don’t get the chance to be as creative with the designs that you produce as you’d perhaps like. With Chester Operatic Society it’s the difficulty in trying to find non-performing members who want to help in putting on the productions.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now? I’m passionate about the performing arts. Being able to do that on a professional basis would be a joy.
How do you relax when you are not working? I like to walk as much as I can. Most of my nights are filled with rehearsals or meetings for Chester Operatic Society.
When I can I also try and see other arts events such as Chester Philharmonic Orchestra at the cathedral, Tip Top Productions at the Forum or Theatre in the Quarter productions.
What is your favourite film? Edward Scissorhands.
What is your favourite book? Toiler’s of the Sea by Victor Hugo. It’s a beautifully reflective and slightly mad book.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? Having grown up in the area of Yorkshire where it was filmed I’m one of the few people who will admit to enjoying Last of the Summer Wine. I’m fairly sure that I’m one of Compo, Clegg or Foggy – I’m just not sure which one yet…
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame? I’ve sneaked onto TV through work a couple of times. The first occasion I was working on an interesting project to slide a whole building in Leek using grease skates and I appeared on the news saying ‘stop!’
However, my 15 minutes of fame come with the audience reactions after shows and concerts. I’ve especially enjoyed performing in Alexander’s and I look forward to Chester Operatic Society performances at the new theatre at the Odeon site!
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