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Cliff Wren

Age 43, development director, Stent, UK

Route to the job
I graduated from Kingston Polytechnic in 1982 with a BSc in Geology. As a newly qualified geologist I was expecting a career in the mining or oil industry. However, a worldwide slump in exploration in the early 1980's forced me to reconsider and after spending short periods working for the British Geological Survey I was offered a position as a contract engineer with Stent Foundations. Through the 1980's and early 1990's I was fortunate to work on some of the UK's highest profile geotechnical projects. Spending time in estimating and bid management also enabled me to become involved in the "up-front" end of our business. I spent a time as piling manager for Westpile in Malaysia before re-joining Stent in 1994. Twenty-six years after graduating I undertook a part time MSc in geotechnical engineering design and management at Nottingham Trent University, proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Typical day
I think it is true to say that the one reason that most people give for not leaving the geotechnical profession is that "it provides variety". Every day is similar and at the same time different. I still get a buzz seeing a project through from inception to completion - one reason why I'm enjoying the role I'm in.

Highs and lows
Just to do the best job I can and enjoy it while I am doing it - nobody can ask for more than that.

Advice
Keep smiling, don't lose your sense of humour and remember you never stop learning!