Dr Sarah Richards, Senior Principal Geoenvironmental Engineer at Coffey, a Tetra Tech company, has been appointed the new president of the Australian Land and Groundwater Association.
As a preeminent leader who has been working in the contaminated land consulting and research industry for over 25 years’ Sarah is well positioned to represent the interests of the diverse range of members across Australasia.
Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Adelaide and followed that up with a PhD in Organic Modification of Clay Minerals from Monash University. On her appointment, Sarah said “I am proud to be part of this industry and am excited about the potential that ALGA can realise as a broad industry association supporting advances in the prevention, assessment and remediation of contaminated land and groundwater.”
Sarah enjoys applying her knowledge to solve real life problems, finding ways to improve the status quo and thinking outside the box. A career in science enables her to travel across Australia and the world, work across multidisciplinary teams and make a lasting contribution to sustainability. In recognising International Day for Women and Girls in Science Sarah shared her insights into how an education in science (including engineering) gives you the scope to be a broad practitioner or a deep specialist.
“By developing your way of thinking in the scientific method you also develop life skills by observing carefully and reviewing everything with healthy scepticism before making decisions and continuing to review them. This scientific method helps interpret how things around you work and supports being a good problem solver. And as long as people keep having problems, a career in problem solving will be secure. Of course, the downside of honing your scientific method is that you may find yourself shouting at the TV a lot. Beyond the broad application, gaining a deep understanding in specific disciplines is also very rewarding. There are so many streams of science and fields of application that with dedicated focus you can become the specialist in your area of interest within your circles. Initially this might just be the person everyone at the BBQ asks about asbestos, but over time and study that develops into a broader circle of influence.”
The Australasian Land and Groundwater Association (ALGA) was formed to provide a forum and identity for the Australasian contaminated land and groundwater industry, and to support the many professionals working in the field. The core focus of the association is to support advances in the prevention, assessment and remediation of contaminated land and groundwater.
ALGA's mission is to promote the protection, restoration and management of land and groundwater for the benefit of human health and the broader environment across Australasia.
ALGA has a broad base of members including land owners, property developers, industry, consultants, scientists and engineers, contractors, regulatory and government agencies, the legal profession, laboratory staff, financiers, insurers, researchers and academics.
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