Dan Pope, senior acoustician at Atkins, gives us a glimpse into his role.
How would you sum up what you do on a typical day?
Just how varied the job is day to day is exactly what I love about it. I’ll be in client meetings in London one day, sat in the office the next, and driving to West Wales for a site visit the next. The huge variety of what we do is what keeps the job interesting.
What would you say is the best bit about your day?
Again that depends where I am but sometimes it’s something as simple as someone bringing cake into the office, sometimes it’s seeing a beautiful part of the country I had never seen before. Twice now I have visited areas for work and later dragged my family back there on holiday.
And what is the biggest challenge?
Consultancy can be a pretty full on job a lot of the time, with a lot of competing pressures, so juggling various clients’ requirements and deadlines as well trying to balance your personal life can be a challenge.
What made you decide to become an acoustics specialist?
Acoustics is a job a lot of people fall into rather than aim for. I was good at physics and maths and I loved music, so I decided to study audio technology as a BSc Hons degree, but I had no idea when I made that decision what I was going to do for a career or even what an acoustic consultant actually was.
What makes a good acoustics specialist in the environment industry?
My personal tip here is to keep learning. Always be aware of where you need to learn more and who you can learn from. Ask questions and listen to the answers. It takes a real mix of people to make a good environmental consultancy. No one can be perfect at everything, or know everything you’d need to know. The key is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and building a team where everyone can work together to cover everything that needs to be done.
What advice do you have for people about to embark on this kind of career path?
Take opportunities and don’t be afraid. You learn the most when you are at the edge of your comfort zone.