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Member profile: David March MEI
When did you first become interested in energy?
I first became interested in the environment and climate change at school, probably pre-GCSE. From there my interests expanded into the energy sector and how it influences climate change. It was not until I started work for a construction company called Apollo that I became much more closely involved in energy. It turns out that measuring carbon footprints can take you a long way!
What inspired you to pursue this career? And what path did you take to get there?
After leaving University with a degree in Physical Geography, I really wanted to use my degree and make a difference. My dissertation was all about reconstructing environmental change during the Roman era and it really hit home the difference that a degree in climate can make. Did you know Brits at that time were possibly making wine as far north as Yorkshire?
After a lot of work and a few disappointments I started work as an Environmental Advisor in the construction sector. My first project was to build and launch a carbon reporting platform for our 150+ sites. From there I gradually expanded my responsibilities and took on the role of managing our office utility portfolio with our TPI (third party intermediary).
Tell us a little about your current job
I am currently Head of Environmental Sustainability at Orbit Group where I am developing a new and driven team of environmentalists with a mission to deliver our Orbit Earth environmental programme.
Previously, I was the Environment Manager for ENGIE in the UK & Ireland. My role was very diverse, but principally involved driving forward our performance against a whole series of environmental objectives incorporating carbon, waste, water, biodiversity and sustainable procurement.
I feel very excited and privileged to be working in the sectors I am and in particular to be playing a leading role in the Zero Carbon Transition. I enjoy the fact that we are making a real impact across the business and more widely, particularly in relation to the Zero Carbon agenda and tackling climate change.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in energy?
The energy sector is incredibly diverse and so I think my main advice would be to explore and research as much as possible. There is a tendency in recent times to distrust experts and undervalue technical knowledge. I would suggest that this will be short-lived and that you should try and build up some real solid expertise in areas to carve out a space for yourself.
Where do you think the energy industry is heading? And what part will you play in getting there?
I would be amazed if the zero carbon agenda goes away any time soon. I think more and more companies will look to make their zero carbon declarations and that this will provide big opportunities for many in the sector whether it be advice and consultancy, innovative technologies, renewables and big data. This will be the big talking point for years to come and will be very exciting to be involved in.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a keen gardener and have my own allotment so much of my spare time is spent enjoying the outdoors and the (literal) fruits of my labour. Fresh food from the plot always tastes much better than something from the supermarket and is immensely satisfying. Of course, growing and eating local also reduces the carbon footprint of what I eat substantially.
And finally… What does being an MEI mean to you?
I saw becoming an MEI as a great way to push me to broaden my knowledge and engage more widely in the sector. Being an MEI is important is making me a more well-rounded professional that does not just focus on environmental or health and safety issues. Linking my work to energy and associated costs and revenue streams give me greater influence and impact both in tackling our operational emissions and those of our Clients.