“I knew I wanted to be an engineer from an early age after my love for Science and Geography led my school careers advisor to match me with the engineering industry” advises Grace. “I was encouraged by family and school teachers to pursue this career path and a family connection led me to KMM, a company acquired by RPS in 2004”.
Over the last three decades Grace has been involved with some of the UK and Ireland’s most exciting coastal and river engineering projects, a niche area of engineering that exploits her love for geography. “One of my greatest achievements to date has been supporting Irish Government with the implementation of environmental legislation, undertaking significant projects in catchment management and drainage, and representing them in workshops through GB and at European level” advises Grace. “Throughout my career I also have supported significant coastal, flooding, port and energy infrastructure projects and since having written parts of the first environmental statement when these came into force in early 1990s”.
“Working for an innovative, market leading company has always been important to me and when I joined KMM, they were one of the first companies in Belfast to use computers for environmental modelling. Now, as RPS, our drive for innovation hasn’t slowed down and we are continuously at the forefront of software application and development”. The team were the first consultancy to use Geographical Information System technology in the early 90s and continue to work with software developers to find new ways of doing things.
“I enjoy being able to provide solutions that make a difference. I am also proud that my RPS career has led me to become chartered as an engineer, scientist and water environment manager and that I have become a fellow of three professional bodies: Engineers Ireland (EI), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).
The term engineer is often typically associated with civil or structural, but it is important for young people looking at careers to know the broad range of environments you can work in. It is such a worthy career and so diverse which means there is an opportunity for everybody to find a strand of engineering that suits them”.