I had several years of experience behind me working in larger multi-disciplinary consultancies and wanted a change from being a nameless face on large infrastructure jobs. I had seen Rob’s posts across several platforms where he advocated that Arbtech was like a family and – though I’d seen and heard this promised a million times over – at Arbtech, it was actually true.
People who worked there raved about the company and, during the hiring process, I had direct contact with Rob who had a no-nonsense approach which I really valued from day one. It was the fresh start I wanted in a tight-knit environment. In addition, I wanted to be able to eventually relocate without having to start over and knew I could do this at Arbtech due to the nationwide coverage. I am so happy that I made the jump in May 2021.
I really love working from home and at my own pace. I hated big corporate offices where I struggled to get any work done due to endless meetings and loud office environments. I love the trust in this company to get your work done and make the client happy how you see fit, whether you’re an early bird or night owl, or prefer your site visits in one day or spread over the week, you tailor your working day.
But I’m never alone or secluded. Despite us all working from home, we utilise our Slack software so effectively that we are all just moments away from sharing and solving problems, seeking advice, or just having a conversation with people who are literally over four hours away from us. The socials we have at Arbtech help us put names to faces and bond over long weekends and, in turn, help us to gel as a team and be willing to help each other out at the drop of a hat. If one of my colleagues needs me to do a survey on the other side of the country, there is no doubt that I am going to do that for them because we all support each other here.
Most of my time outside of work is spent in a voluntary capacity within local and widespread ecology groups, such as the Shropshire Dormouse Group and Birmingham and Black Country Amphibian and Reptile Group. I have active roles in my voluntary groups helping the committees and training people towards licences. I believe in spreading a wealth of knowledge far and wide so more people are educated in order to help make better decisions for our nature and wildlife. I also think citizen science and studies are so vital for understanding more about population declines or increases.
Outside of this, I enjoy cold and/or wild swimming where I can. I learnt to swim down in Slapton Sands when I was younger and spent a lot of my weekends visiting the seaside where possible, tying in my swims with a nature walk afterwards to warm up!
And if I’m not teaching or swimming, you can usually find me in the seat of a tattoo parlour. I worked in a piercing and tattoo studio and love the trade and expression associated with tattoos. Several of the staff members have a number of tattoos and I love the individuality of it. I have recently completed a large back piece and will be finishing up an arm tattoo this year before taking a break to save funds for whatever next idea comes to me. I think they need to be more accepted in the workplace. To me, they show dedication, determination, persistence and personality.
If it scares you, even more reason to do it! I am not really a fan of change, but over the years, I have challenged myself to do things that I wouldn’t ordinarily consider or think myself capable of. This has been encouraged and somewhat enforced within my Arbtech world too, taking on new challenges such as attending classes for Brazilian Jujitsu, snowboarding and kayaking on socials.
The Arbtech crew includes a large number of thrill-seekers and doers. With their support, you feel unstoppable. A part of the old me was scared to leave the apparent safety of a large consultancy, but in doing so, I have been so much happier in my day-to-day life here at Arbtech, and I feel I am right at the beginning of such an exciting career here.
The first ever social I went on – to Norwich. I was apprehensive as I’ve never experienced a work social quite like it! A whole weekend paid for, all-inclusive, a cabin with a hot tub, a fellow newbie in the cabin to help me through any social anxieties, and nice activities for us all including a vineyard trip and kayaking in the on-site river.
It had a bit of something for everyone and the weather was really good too!
I have always wanted to go to either Barcelona or Portugal. Small, sunny weekend trips with great food and amazing views. Both Spanish and Portuguese are languages of close friends of mine, so it would encourage me to learn more than I know right now.
But in all honesty, I am open to any new country. Terrified of flying, but nothing a stiff drink can’t assist me with. I have travelled to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Spain, Germany, France, Austria (now thanks to Arbtech), Greece, Turkey, Tenerife, Italy and Japan. My favourite place by far was Japan. I spent a three-week honeymoon there exploring and eating my way around. Local cuisine is always a highlight for me when travelling, and somewhere with a beautiful landscape to walk it all off afterwards! But in actuality, the next new place I am visiting is Poland in February.
In five years’ time, I will be 38 years old. I want to be within Arbtech – still in a senior position – but I want to become hybridised and be a reliable ecologist and arboriculturist supporting team members across the company. I want to continue with the mental health first aid team and be someone people can come to for any qualms.
I see myself down in Dartmouth, with Nacho (my dog) and maybe another fur baby in tow, spending my evenings off work swimming in the sea and perhaps being part of one of the many rowing teams in the local area.
As mentioned above, moving to Dartmouth is one of my biggest life goals. It is the place I have been happiest in my life, and I have holidayed there every year since I was roughly five. In doing so, it brings together a few more goals I have in learning to row as a team and learning to surf and/or sail.
Being in Devon will put me closer to one of the principal arboriculturists in the company and in a better position to begin my journey to become hybridised.
In time, I want to be a very good senior in both ecology and arboriculture, but I don’t want to get too specialised, as I still want to be able to go out and survey and not end up overly desk-based in my career, as is the most natural path of progression. Usually, principals become quite desk-based, but I enjoy being outside the office and conducting the surveys, come rain or shine.
Katy joined Arbtech in May 2021
Meet the other members of our leading ecology and arboriculture team.