Sarah van Enk
Programme: PhD Earth Sciences
Employment: Operations Director/Environmental Geologist at Geotron UK Ltd
I learned the skill to think for myself and keep going at something until it was done.
“Following graduation I took a position as an Environmental Consultant with URS in Manchester. In this role I was responsible for managing site investigation and remediation programmes throughout the UK for a variety of corporate clients.
“I spent much of my time on site supervising drilling programmes and completing other aspects of site work whilst also completing office-based reporting and interpretation of results.
“In 2002 I left URS to start up a drilling business with my now husband, in partnership with an international drilling contractor based in the Netherlands. This was the start of Geotron UK which has grown from two people to a current workforce of eight.
“My day to day job comprises all aspects of company and project management. I am responsible for all accounting tasks (book keeping, VAT, payroll, invoicing etc.), HR, Health & Safety and Quality Management.
“I undertake the majority of all estimating and quote preparation, and manage drilling and vacuum excavation projects on a day to day basis. I liaise with clients, subcontractors, suppliers and our crews to ensure the smooth running of each of our contracts. I am also responsible for on-line email marketing and keeping our profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter up to date.
“I love the freedom and flexibility of working for myself and the knowledge that success of the company will mean direct success for my family.
Launching my career
“During my studies I enjoyed the research aspect of my PhD and being able to create my own pathway through the three year programme. I enjoyed the freedom of working on my own, with support available from supervisors and colleagues when needed.
“The main skills I obtained were the ability to think for myself and have the dedication to keep going at something until it was done. I learnt to see problems as potential opportunities.
“My advice to potential students is: be prepared to work long hours, often alone (in a small dark room!) and enjoy the freedom of working in an academic institution.”