A journey that takes you through all the stages and fields of an industry is always worth sharing. The Geotechnical Industry offers a wide variety of opportunities through various departments and expertise. Not only is the industry one of the strongest backbone of construction, but it is also a necessity for safety procedures, monitoring, and long-standing of all kinds of structures.
Today, we look at the journey of Steve Billingham, the CEO of Rite Geosystem, Encardio-rite’s Subsidiary in the UK.
Steve Billingham started his career in geotechnical instrumentation about 30 years ago, installing instrumentation worldwide on a wide range of projects. He then moved on to environmental monitoring and gas monitoring, looking at gasses such as methane, biogas renewable energies, NO2, Co2, etc. Much recently, he has moved back to the geotechnical industry, working in the same department as he was at the start of his career.
Steve fondly recalls how he started in the industry with a tempting newspaper advertisement. As the field promised worldwide travel, the thought of becoming an instrumentation technician seemed fascinating. From the technician to the CEO today, Steve has truly embraced every aspect of the industry through patience and hard work. However, there are no newspaper job calls today. The job market is online, with electronic CVs, databases, and search engines.
Advising the younger aspiring crowd, Steve stresses the importance of physical meet and talk with industry professionals in the time of online media. “If you’re interested in joining this industry, go to exhibitions, some geotechnical exhibitions, construction exhibitions, and really get a good idea of what the company is doing and what the people do, and what roles are available,” emphasises Billingham. He also adds to the importance of getting introductions and responses from the people in the industry.
As Geotechnical offers various roles, covering all kinds of disciplines, including science, mathematics, creative thinking, design, etc; there is always a possibility that you might find your career in this field. There are project managers, people managers, team players – the entire spectrum of opportunities. The most interesting and inviting part of the industry is the versatility it offers – you could be working in the office one day, and the next day, you could be out there, getting your hands dirty in the whole process. If the construction industry sounds inviting to you, the geotechnical field can be one of the career options.
Steve also talks about the changing technology and innovative solutions of the industry, with new sensors, equipment and projects sprouting at every corner. Apart from the ever-changing ways, there are some fascinating projects like high rise structures, deep tunnels, long tunnels, land reclamation, bridges, etc.
Reminiscing about the start of his career, Steve passionately remembers his experience of cycling a second-hand pushbike underneath London. The project involved going down the central shaft in London and then cycling for a mile to reach the place where the installation was taking place. The most inviting part about the industry is the vast number of projects and opportunities. The industry is moving towards renewable energy that would introduce even more interesting and varied projects for everyone. Advising anyone who wants to join the industry, Steve highlights the importance of contacting people, doing research, refining skills, thinking about your work preference and involvement to ensure that the industry would be a right fit for you.
Steve Billingham is the current CEO of Rite GeoSystems in the United Kingdom, catering to a host of responsibilities. Talking about the work culture and the current pandemic distance, Steve thanks the change in technology for seamless contact with his colleagues in India, North America or the Middle East. “The support online and the access to colleagues hasn’t gone away, we can do it all very easily,” says Billingham.