The first Staff Focus from EMEC is Elaine Buck, Technical Manager, who tells us about her career journey.
Elaine started by studying Radio, Television and Film, before changing to Marine Sciences, planning to become a Marine Biologist. She then spent 20 years in the Oil and Gas industry, before the environmental impact of fossil fuels saw her consider a switch to renewable energy. After completing her MSc in her mid-40s, she started working with EMEC. Elaine reminds us that there is no wrong path into a career, and we will all experience many twists and turns on our career journey, constantly learning new skills.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
Most of my days are spent in meetings, most are a mix of internal and external meetings. For example, an internal meeting would be an operational review with the Operations and Technical team. An external meeting will be with a potential or new client that will be testing at EMEC or if it is a project partner meeting many individuals discussing how much we have achieved in the current project. I do have to schedule in focus time so I can develop content for strategic areas I am working on or reporting on test results.
How did you end up in this role?
Do not worry about your path, it will be a winding path with lots of switch backs!
The journey is the most important part. I am definitely not a straightforward path.
In school I was studying Radio/Television and Film, sold real estate, then went back to school to get my BSc in Marine Sciences hoping to be a famous Marine Biologist. Well, that took me into surveying Oil and Gas for 20 years! I lived all over the world in my Oil and Gas roles. I left Oil and Gas because I saw the damage we were doing and saw the beginnings of a great industry in marine renewable energy. I joined EMEC after my MSc at 46 years of age (learning is a lifelong journey!) and have not looked back.
What is the best thing about your job?
People, technology, and people!
What is the worst thing about your job?
Working by email! I am a people person so in person or Zoom meetings to discuss is way better for me than email.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Patience, you have to have patience when you work in a sector that is just learning and developing. The development trajectory is unique for each device and group we work with.
You have to have problem solving skills because you will run into a lot of issues and fitting in and working with diverse teams to overcome those issues is fundamental to keep the project or technology development on track.
Inspiration and energy is also important when leading a team. Believing in capabilities and trusting your team is fundamental to staying personally sane but also allows room for your team to shine.
Good communication is of course important in all areas of your work not to mention your personal so that is a no brainer for me.
What qualifications do you have?
I am a qualified multitasker and planner. Mother/Wife/Manager/Volunteer/Sports/Crafter/Designer.
Why does the above matter to my role?
Being a mother helps establishes boundaries and is also helpful for team building. Being a wife helps by established commitment but is also helpful for strategic delivery. Being a manager is useful with people’s insight’s and helps in developing people to their highest potentials. Volunteering helps to get stuff done without pay and outwith normal working hours. Being a Crafter and Designer helps with the creativity for problem solving and idea generation including service development.
The above qualifications are developed over time, it is experience but that is what you will get on your journey.
My other qualifications are:
BSc in Marine Science
MSc in Renewable Energy Development
As well as qualifications in strategic marketing and finance and finishing my certification in project management.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Yes, if you love variety having a job at a test centre where you get access to many different technologies is the way to go. If you want to specialise then going with a company that specialises in one or two technologies is ok too but my role at EMEC provides the variety I love.
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