As Team Manager for Contaminated Land Management (CLM), Queensland, Erin Corby believes that every practitioner in the broader Environment unit has the fundamental desire to make the world a better place.
“Making a tangible difference to our communities is what I’m passionate about, and the opportunities to do this at work is what keeps me motivated,” says Erin.
“The work we do is concentrated on improving and remediating land so that our clients can use the space to create something amazing. After starting my career in Sydney, I have had the opportunity to work in the UK and Norway, including trips to Denmark and Zambia, contributing to some unique CLM projects around the world.”
One of those projects came as a legacy of World War II and the Cold War. Erin says, “The Norwegians used the natural geography around the coast to their advantage by using natural and enlarged caverns to house large fuel storage tanks at several distribution terminals from the Arctic to the south. The tanks were hidden from view to protect against enemy attack.
“We were asked to decommission the distribution terminal caverns tanks they had built and return the sites to the way it was before. Given the area is of natural significance and with stringent environmental regulations, the regulatory work around the project meant remediation was challenging. It proved to be an invaluable learning experience for me, and as it turns out, it was one of the most amazing projects you could ever work on as a lover of nature.”
Having since relocated to Brisbane, Erin is eager to expand her skills in urban planning. She adds “I’m currently undertaking a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Queensland, and am keen to move my career in this direction.
“Since joining WSP in 2017, I have been blessed to have such a supportive workplace where you are encouraged to take ownership of your career. I have never felt so supported to strive for personal and professional goals as I currently am at WSP.”
Erin looks up to the firm’s Director for Environment, Jenny MacMahon, as a source of inspiration. She says, “I’ve known Jenny since I was a graduate and she took a genuine interest in me, as she does with other members in the team. Empowering her people is one of her hallmarks and she has shown that bringing your personality into your career is important.”
Erin, a leader in her own right, believes that if a manager, like Jenny takes the time to nurture trust and engender respect, it goes a long way to creating a successful team and great culture.
One difference Erin does acknowledge, is that there is better female representation in the environment sector than in engineering. “Our industry has better gender balance than most – in fact, I’ve had more female managers than male! We’ve done great job at empowering women and in some respects, we are leading the way in professional services,” says Erin.
With her master’s degree concluding at the end of the year, Erin spends her downtime with her family at the beach, going on adventure holidays and tending to her chemical free veggie patch.
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