Insider Insight: Christine St John Cox

Managing consultant Christine St John Cox at Ricardo Energy & Environment, shares her career insights

Christine St John Cox. Photograph: Ricardo Energy & EnvironmentWhat is your current role?

I wear many hats within the business. These include managing consultant, knowledge leader, team leader, business area manager and associate director at Ricardo Energy & Environment. Most of the time I get to work with businesses who are thinking about sustainability but there are also times when I get involved in projects based on completely different subject matter. Generally, my work is constantly evolving and changing, and no day is the same.

What helped you get where you are in your career?

I studied Mechanical Engineering at Bath University, but I not sure that you could say I came out top at University. I did however get a Graduate job at Atkins who sponsored me to do a Masters and then I got chartered with the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. They have all been great qualifications and have been useful in demonstrating ability.

Ricardo Energy & Environment have always given me the chance to do what I wanted. I found them a breath of fresh air when I joined back in 2004. That is included looking at new technical areas, and considering how to develop and evolve business.  I arrived as a senior consultant and have been promoted a number of times to get to where I am based on the support and opportunities that they have given me.

What qualifications are the most necessary or most beneficial in the renewables sector?

I think this probably depends upon what part of the renewables sector that you are planning to work in. There are many relevant degree, and masters courses available. Then there are various professional bodies either aligned with the renewable or with the whole industry that could be considered.

What have been the pivotal moments in the field?

For me there have been a few projects that have been particularly memorable. The first was probably working with Tom Carnack from CDP at that time on their first Public Procurement Programme Report back in 2009. It was an amazing experience and the project was shortlisted for a civil service award. More recently I authored a paper with John Watterson which he presented to the IPCC on GHG reporting and at the moment I am looking at the vision of being an energy manager in 2030 and how the world will have changed.

How do you get the most out of your team and colleagues? 

My view is that we are one team; we are all equal and drive in the same direction. We share knowledge, have fun and the work together. To get the best out of us all we need to play people to their strengths, give them praise and reward, and that is what I aspire to.

What happens on a typical day at your company?

For me it is not ever really the same, and it is the variety that I like. Each day varies but it also varies between people. Some people will be working on more desk based modelling whilst others will be out talking to customers or collecting data.

Is sustainability really becoming embedded in corporate culture and careers? 

I would like to think so, and to a point where we do not even see it as sustainability. At the moment, at a cooperate level I don’t seeing it business as usual, rather we still think of it as a something that needs to be run as programme or an initiative. My view is that in the future it will happen without us even realising it.

What other advice do you have for people about to embark on a career as a green entrepreneur?

I think that the big challenge with the industry is about having a balance between understanding the commercial world, and the technical detail that comes with the environmental and renewables sector.