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Dave Champness, Senior engineering geologist, Atkins


Senior engineering geologist

"I joined Atkins in May 2008, and after celebrating my five-year anniversary with the company I am still blazing a trail for engineering geology across the globe! I joined Atkins as an assistant engineering geologist after previously working for a small ground investigation company. I began life with Atkins in the Epsom office where I quickly established myself as a valued member within the ground engineering team. My first large-scale project was the M25 widening and due to my extensive ground investigation experience I was given the important role of engineer’s representative for the detailed drainage ground investigation and seconded to the joint venture offices in Rickmansworth. After a busy six months on the M25 site, I was asked to take on a role on an even larger scheme – the prestigious Crossrail project, Europe’s biggest infrastructure project.

After successfully completing 15 months on Crossrail with over 100 exploratory positions completed within the congested central London area (with no recorded service strikes or health and safety incidents), I decided to move to the Birmingham office in 2010. I moved to take the opportunity of experiencing a wide variety of projects and geologies. During my time in Birmingham I was involved with many infrastructure and energy projects for government and private clients. The most notable scheme related to survey work associated with the EAC (Electricity Alliance Central), where I contributed to numerous large-scale investigations and surveys of existing and planned National Grid infrastructure, with much conducted within a ‘live’ substation environment.

In 2011 came the call I had waited for. I was asked to manage a large-scale ground investigation in the Sultanate of Oman which was a great opportunity for me. Working closely with David Shilston, Atkins’ technical director and president of the Geological Society, I proceeded with an overseas adventure overseeing a complex site investigation in an arid desert environment. After eight weeks, a more knowledgeable geologist returned and I continued with the subsequent reporting and ground-breaking project work looking into the complex sulphate- and clay-rich rocks and soils. This work subsequently won internal commendations and was put forward for national UK awards.

After the success of this project I decided the time was right to move home to London and joined the Euston Tower office. In this role I have excelled in applying my geohazard expertise to large oil and gas clients, which has led to subsequent adventures in Turkey overseeing the investigation and remediation of landslides. In addition to this, on the back of my good work in Oman, I have been asked back by the client to assist with the detailed ground investigation and am due to fly out again to Oman in the coming months.

As a member of Atkins’ Ground Engineering Academy, I’ve really appreciated the training and mentoring I’ve received to help me progress towards chartered status. With my application for Chartered Geologist now complete, I will continue to be at the forefront of engineering geology excellence and am now looking forward to getting involved in our Ground Engineering Professionals Programme."

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