Kate Marks C.WEM FCIWEM CEnv CSci

How long have you been a member of CIWEM?

Graduate Member since 2003, Fellow since 2020.

What does being a member of CIWEM mean to you?

Being a member of CIWEM is a key part of my commitment to the environment. As a recognised environmental professional I feel I have a stronger voice in shaping policy and operations in my organisation, and in the communities we support.

What advice would you give to anyone considering starting out on the application process?

Talk to others who have been through the process recently, I also attended the Fast Track to Chartership Workshop which I found made the process less daunting and helped motivate me to knuckle down and do it!

How do you think your membership/professional registration will support you in your career?

For me it wasn't about supporting me in my career, it was about being a role model for those who come behind me. I've been involved in several skills groups in my years in the Environment Agency and have always encouraged people to obtain a relevant professional membership, I just never got round to obtaining my own and that was starting to feel a bit hypocritical!

Please describe your job role and day to day activities that your job entails?

I lead the awesome and hugely exciting Digital Services team, a part of Incident Management & Resilience in the Environment Agency. The team is responsible for designing, developing and continuously improving the flood forecasting and warning systems used to provide information to our partners and the public, and our situational awareness systems that support our incident planning and response, including logistics tools, and incident reporting and tracking systems used by our duty officers and incident rooms. Day to day, the role is very varied, from looking at user research from my team on how we can continuously improve systems for our customers, to securing funding to enhance system resilience. I'm also the Faith and Belief Champion for the Environment Agency so I'm often to be found supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives.

What inspired you towards a career in this sector?

I've grown up in a variety of beautiful places, from the coastline of South Devon, to the island of Guernsey and back to Dartmoor. This gave me a passion for the environment and I initially studied Environmental Sciences at university where I was drawn to the overlap between hydrology and remote sensing. One PhD in flood modelling using LIDAR later and my career was set!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Hard to pick one, I've had a career of highlights! Particularly relevant to CIWEM, I was asked at short notice in 2008 to pick up the content design of the predecessor conference to the CIWEM Flood and Coast Conference. It took me out of my comfort zone (I'm a huge introvert!) but allowed me to challenge preconceptions I then had about myself. I didn't do too bad a job as I stayed on to design the following two years too! So hugely excited to see how it has grown and how the partnership between CIWEM and the Environment Agency will take it forward in the future.

What do you see as the biggest changes facing the sector over the next 10 years?

Working in incident management, I'm seeing the impacts of climate change on the range of incidents we manage, for example from droughts to floods, and as a sector and nation, we need to change over the next 10 years to be able to respond better. The FCERM Strategy talks about creating a nation of climate champions and I think we in the sector need to embed and live this ethos.

Correct as of August 2020.

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