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Biographies of members of Council 2021/2022

Ruth Allington

President

ruth allington

Now semi-retired, I bring to the role 39 years’ experience a consulting engineering geologist in the minerals industry, as a professional mediator and expert witness, and many years of active contribution to the Society and the wider geoscience community. I am passionate about promoting effective inter-disciplinary collaboration and high professional practice standards within and beyond geoscience; these underpin sustainable solutions and public confidence.

A Fellow for 39 years, I hold CGeol and EurGeol titles. I joined the Engineering Group in 1981, serving as Hon Secretary, Vice-Chair and Chair between 1985 and 2000, and was awarded the Glossop Medal in 2012. I have served on the Editorial Board of QJEGH and have been a member of PERC for 15 years.

A member of Council from 2000-2005, I served as both Vice-President and Professional Secretary. For more than ten years, I represented the Society on the Council of the EFG, including four years as President. My vision for the Society is that it delivers value and support for our diverse Fellowship whilst being true to its aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the Earth, to promote Earth science education and awareness, and to promote professional excellence and ethical standards in the work of Earth scientists, for the public good. I look forward to working energetically with Council, staff and all the Geological Society’s communities and stakeholders to ensure that the study and practice of Geoscience is recognised as the essential basis of solutions for a sustainable planet.

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Mrs Joanna Alexander

Joanna AlexanderIt’s a unique time to be a Geologist. Humankind is becoming acutely aware of our dependence on a healthy planet, the need to use resources sustainably and respond to the climate emergency. I want to help the Society use this moment of profound change as an opportunity, not only to adapt and evolve, but to lead and inspire.

After studying Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, I worked as an Exploration Geoscientist with BP for 10 years. During that time, it became increasingly difficult for me to ignore my concern about climate change. Since leaving the oil industry I’ve worked with charities and businesses, promoted corporate purpose and influenced investors to consider environmental risks.

My experience has shown me that the benefits of change, both personally and for organisations, greatly outweigh the discomfort. It has also shifted what being a geologist means to me. Geology used to be what I did, but now my love for the Earth defines why I do anything. It’s my motivation.

I hope my positivity about change and sense of purpose will be infectious – to the Society and individuals. I will champion the skills of geologists and support them in creating positive impact through their careers.

(Chartered Geologist since 2016)

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Prof Mark Allen

mark allenAs a member of Council, I will use my experience of research, industry and education to help the Geological Society serve its members and society.

My current role is Professor in Tectonics in the Earth Sciences Department at Durham University, where I have worked since 2005. Active research projects and teaching cover a range of subjects, including continental deformation and magmatism, seismic hazards and climate change. I interact with the UK’s research councils, including two years as Director of the NERC Iapetus Doctoral Training Partnership. My previous employment was at CASP, Cambridge, on hydrocarbon industry-funded projects across Eurasia and North Africa (1993-2004).

With this background, I hope to encourage more communication between different sectors of the geosciences, and to promote the subject to prospective students. I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society since 1993, served as a member of the Petroleum Group, acted as Secretary of the Northern Regional Group, and been on the editorial board of Petroleum Geoscience. I have convened several conferences for the Society, and am an active member of its Tectonic Studies Group. It is a privilege to be on Council and serve the Society.

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Prof Mark Anderson

Prof Mark AndersonCurrently Professor of Geology in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Plymouth, where he has worked since 1991, Mark was Head of Earth Sciences for 8 years and then Head of School for 7 years, stepping down from that role in July 2020. His active research projects and teaching fall under the broad umbrella of plate boundary deformation processes, and all incorporate significant elements of fieldwork.

Mark has been a Fellow of the Society since 1985, a Chartered Geologist since 2015 and has served as Secretary and Chair of the Society’s SW Regional Group, Executive Secretary of the Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments and Executive Secretary and Chair of University Geoscience UK. In 2021, he chaired the review panel for the Society’s university degree course accreditation scheme. He was awarded a Coke Medal in 2017 in recognition of his contributions to science and significant service to the geoscience community.

As a member of Council, Mark will use his experience to help the Society serve its members and wider society as the main voice for geoscience in the UK. He is also committed to make the membership more diverse by removing barriers to inclusion at all stages in the academic and professional development of future generations of geoscientists.

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Dr Jennie Gilbert

Jennie GilbertI attended my initial Society meetings as a geology undergraduate while at Imperial in the 1980s. Inspired, I became a Fellow in 1986. While a PhD student in volcanology and geochemistry at Cambridge, Society meetings – in particular Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group (VMSG) meetings – were highlights because these were opportunities for me to present my work, extend my network and learn beyond my discipline.

I continued into academia via post-doctoral positions in volcanology at the University of Bristol and later secured a permanent post at Lancaster University, which is where I am currently based. I have previously served the Society as a committee member and secretary of VMSG, and a member of the organising committee of two VMSG meetings held in Lancaster and other meetings sponsored by the Society.

As an academic, I offer knowledge and skills in research and teaching in Earth sciences; I hold a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy qualification. In addition, I am deeply interested in equality, diversity and inclusivity issues, and geologic conservation. I have benefitted from opportunities with the Society and am ambitious to help others do similarly.

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Dr Neil Frewin

neil frewinNeil Frewin has 27-years of industry oil & gas experience as a geoscientist, much of that time with Shell, but also periods with Hess UK Ltd and BG Group. Neil has spent much of his recent career in exploration asset management and new business development, with roles in Oman, China, Australia, Mexico and Canada.

Neil is currently leading a regional geology team with Shell in London, a role that has a global basin search remit. Neil was a recent President of the PESGB (2017-2019) and a founder of the “Exploring the Energy Transition” special interest group. He is a fellow, a member of council and trustee of the Geological Society. He is also a Trustee of The Etches Collection, a museum of Jurassic marine life located in Dorset. Neil is a member of several advisory boards, including the UK Centre of Masters Training, Royal Holloway University of London School of Life Sciences & the Environment, and the Haliburton STEPS research program.

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Dr Joel Gill

Secretary, Foreign and External Affairs

Joel GillDr Joel C. Gill is International Development Geoscientist at the British Geological Survey and Founder/Executive Director of the not-for-profit organisation Geology for Global Development. Joel has a degree in Natural Sciences (Cambridge, UK), a Master's degree in Engineering Geology (Leeds, UK), and a PhD focused on multi-hazards and disaster risk reduction (King’s College London, UK).

For the last decade, Joel has worked at the interface of Earth science and international development and plays a leading role internationally in championing the role of geoscience in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Joel has been a Fellow of the Society since 2012, was elected to Council in 2019 and to the position of Secretary, Foreign and External Affairs in 2020. He is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

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Dr Anna Bird

Dr Anna BirdAnna Bird, a Reader in Earth Science at the University of Hull, has worked in academia since 2007. Her broad research interests mean she has the opportunity to interact with a wide spectrum of the geoscience community from Quaternary scientists to members of MSG, TSG, and industry partners. She is also active within UKRI, serving on NERC standard grants panels and a Future Leaders Fellowship sifting panel.

Anna became a Fellow of the Society in 2014 when she won membership for the Young Author of the Year Award. Before becoming joining Council, she was already sitting on the Science Committee, and had been serving on SiG committees since 2011 holding the role of chair of MSG (2015-2018).

Anna is keen to work to strengthen the link between the Society and universities to ensure that we build a clear picture of Earth Science career pathways to attract and retain students to reverse Earth sciences’ declining student numbers. In addition she is passionate about increasing outreach and diversity and eager to further these agendas within the Society and beyond.

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Mr Martin Griffin

martin griffinI am a Principal Geotechnical Engineer with COWI. I am dyslexic, dyspraxic, autistic and partially sighted. These are the conditions which have shaped me, but they don’t define who I am. I am a workplace Equality Diversity Inclusion (EDI) Office Champion advocating disability awareness in our sector. I have 20+ years professional experience with consultancies working on national and international projects.

I promote and advance equality, celebrate diversity and stand up for people who are from underrepresented groups within the geoscience community. I am on External Relations Committee and also

represent perspectives of those who are on the periphery of the geoscience community and be a positive and proactive voice for such people in decision making at the Geological Society.

I graduated from Exeter University in 1995 with a 2-1 in Industrial Geology. In 2008, I became an active Fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the Engineering Geology Group. I became a Chartered Geologist in 2017 via the 20-year route. I am also a European Geologist, Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the IOM3 awarded for my dedication to EDI. Currently, I am Geological Society Scrutineer, journal peer reviewer for QJEGH and IAEG, STEM Ambassador, a Ground Forum Mentor and a National Executive Committee Member of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmentalists.

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Prof James Griffiths

Secretary, Professional Matters

James GriffithsI have been an FGS since 1980 and CGeol since 1991. I completed my PhD research at King’s College London in April 1979 before embarking on a 40-plus year career in geology that has been divided between industry, working as an engineering geologist, and academia.

At the Geological Society I was chair of the Engineering Group from 2006 to 2008, and I have served on the QJEGH Editorial Board, the Books Editorial Committee and the Science Committee. I was elected to Council in June 2018.

My interest lies in promoting professional standards in all aspects of geological practice through accreditation of geology degrees, supporting company training programmes and furthering recognition of the importance of Chartership for all geologists.

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Dr Michael Kehinde

Michael KehindeI want to serve on Council, working with others, to help the Society achieve its outcomes and enhance its public brand. I bring onboard experience as trustee, school governor and as EDI champion in the Environment Agency as Founder/ex-Lead of the B.A.M.E. Network and as Steering Group member of Defra’s Project Race.

I want to focus on improving the way we communicate the critical role of the geosciences in attaining the global Sustainable Development Goals and in securing resources for the future; and on stretching EDI to include empowerment.

Prior to joining the Environment Agency, I worked in the water resources and environment management sector in Europe and Africa as consultant to industry, to national government and to UNICEF on various local, national and international projects; and I was a senior university academic involved in teaching and research at the University of Lagos.

I have been a Fellow of the Society for six years, became Chartered in 2014 via the 20-year route, and belong to the Hydrogeology Group. I hold an MSc in Applied Geology and PhD in Hydrogeology and speak German fluently. Additionally I am a Prince2 certified project manager with good track record of managing successful projects.

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Mr Peter Loader

pete loaderI have been a geoscience educator for over 45 years. I became a Fellow in 2000 at a time of great change in the school geology curriculum which I helped develop as part of my role as the Chief Examiner for one of the awarding bodies. After working on the Society’s Plate Tectonic website, I was invited to serve as a member of the education committee in 2013 and as Chair from 2016. Through the Society’s Geoscience Education Academy and the Earth Science Teachers Association, I continue to support science and geography teachers in their delivery of the Earth science elements of the national curriculum. Whilst this remains an important part of the Society’s business plan, the need to extend this to specifically train the next generation of GCSE and A level geology teachers has recently become all too clear if we are to help reverse the decline in the uptake of geoscience at all levels.

The current economic situation necessitates that the Society’s education work must be appropriate and strongly prioritised to take account of the reduced level of manpower. As a member of Council I am honoured to continue contributing to the Society’s educational impact.

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Dr Natasha Dowey

Dr Natasha DoweyNatasha Dowey is a senior lecturer in geoscience and environmental hazards, and Course Lead of BSc Environmental Science, at Sheffield Hallam University. Natasha’s research specialisms include volcanic hazard analysis and action research to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the Geosciences. She is an advocate for sustainable, equitable geoscience and is founder and Editor of Geoscience for the Future, an initiative that highlights how geoscientists are making the world a better place and connects geoscientists with schools for outreach events. She is EDI Champion trustee for the charity Geology for Global Development.

Prior to her academic career, Natasha spent seven years as a research geoscientist in the oil and gas sector following her PhD in volcanology at the University of Liverpool. She has an MPhil in igneous geochemistry and a BSc in Environmental Earth Science from Aberystwyth University.

Natasha has been a Geological Society Fellow for almost 20 years. She wishes to support the Geological Society in leading the way to make geoscience more equitable, for both those studying and working within it, and for the communities geoscientists serve. She is keen to explore how best the Geological Society can use its respected voice to engage the public in a sustainable geoscience agenda that makes the discipline more relevant and attractive to geoscientists of the future.

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Dr Keith Myers

Treasurer

Keith Myers

I am Head of Research at Westwood Global Energy, a global oil and gas research company, responsible for research across the business. I graduated in Geology from the University of Edinburgh and went on receive a PhD in Sedimentology from Imperial College.

I joined BP as a geologist in 1987 where I had both senior technical and commercial roles. 

After leaving BP in 2000, I was the managing director of an energy software company and an advisor to numerous energy companies on strategy and partnership issues. I was the co-founder and managing partner of Richmond Energy Partners, providing research and advice to investors in smaller oil and gas companies. REP went on to launch the Wildcat exploration intelligence service which is now relied upon by E&P companies globally. REP became part of Westwood Global Energy Group in 2015 following its sale to Energy Ventures private equity.

I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society since graduating. I have published papers on a range of topics, including in five Geological Society Special Publications, and co-authored a textbook on Sequence Stratigraphy.

I have a keen interest in the oil sector's governance and have been an Associate fellow at the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House. I have led capacity building initiatives for the parliaments of several emerging oil and gas-producing countries and I serve on the advisory group for the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

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Dr Amanda Owen

amanda owenI am an academic at the University of Glasgow teaching on a variety Geoscience programmes and I am involved in a variety of outreach efforts (e.g. Girls into Geoscience Scotland).

My research focuses on understanding both modern and ancient fluvial systems that are fond within sedimentary basins. I have particular specialisms in understanding the 3D architecture of fluvial deposits as well as interests in how fluvial systems respond to extreme events (e.g. climate change).

I am currently the academic recruitment lead for the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, head of second year Earth Science and teach on a number of honours courses with field components (e.g. Sedimentary Geology, Basin Analysis. Landscape Dynamics and Minerals, Metals and Mining), all with sustainability at the heart of the courses.

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Dr John Perry

John PerryI have been a Fellow for 40 years and a Chartered Geologist with national and international expertise in engineering geology for construction. Within the Society’s Council, I will assist in maintaining and improving the technical and professional awareness of geology and engineering geology, particularly in the field of sustainability.

I believe the Society has a lot to offer in promoting the environmental, economic and social pillars of sustainability. I am also keen to employ my commercial, financial and development experience to the benefit of the Society. I would like to continue to develop its marketing and societal profile, and to look at different fundraising methods.

I have a broad mix of experience in research at a national and international level (Transport Research Laboratory), in research implementation (government departments) and in industrial practice and commercial drivers (Mott MacDonald, a large international consultancy). I have experience in commercial business development and global leadership from the last ten years.

I am a past chair of the Engineering Group, co-author of two Engineering Group special publications (numbers 16 and 21) on stone and clay, and a past member of the QJEGH editorial board. I have over 20 publications in engineering geology.

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Miss Hollie Fisher

Hollie FisherHollie Fisher is a Senior Engineering Geologist with over seven years’ experience with Atkins, working on a variety of water and infrastructure projects across the UK and abroad. Prior to starting her career, she studied BSc Physical Geography and Geology and MSc Engineering Geology.

Treasurer and Trustee for the charity Diversity in Geoscience, an Enterprise Advisor for local schools and an active STEM Ambassador, Hollie is a keen advocate for diversity and inclusion within the geosciences, with a focus on outreach to secondary school children within deprived areas in the UK. In 2019, she won the Rising Star Award at the EMAP

Ground Engineering Magazine Awards due her contribution to STEM initiatives and her passion for advocating that a career in the geosciences is available to all.

She is the current Chair of the South-East Regional Group and has been active on the committee since taking part in the Early Careers Geoscientist Competition. As a member of Council, Hollie hopes to use her experience to further diversify the Society and make it more visible and approachable to future geoscientists from variable backgrounds.

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Ms Gemma Sherwood

Gemma SherwoodI am a Senior Geologist for EDF Energy, working on the construction of Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station. I read for a Geology MSci (University of Bristol) and later studied for a MSc in Geotechnical Engineering (University of Birmingham). I became a Fellow of the Geological Society in 2008, achieving Chartered Geologist status in 2016 and was listed on the RoGEP in 2017. I am proud to have won the Glossop Award in 2017.

I have been on the Western Regional Group committee for five years; serving four years as Programme Coordinator and currently as Chairperson. While on the committee, I have restarted our regional heat of the Schools Geology Challenge, organised multiple field trips and lectures, and promoted entrants for the Early Career Geoscientist Award.

I am passionate about promoting STEM subjects, regularly volunteering as a STEM ambassador at schools and science festivals, aiming to promote and encourage Earth science careers. I believe that I can help Council to realise the Geological Society’s Strategy 2017-2027, particularly engaging with schools and stimulating public awareness.

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Prof Daniel Le Heron

Prof Daniel Le HeronDaniel Le Heron is Professor of Sedimentology at the University of Vienna whose main research area lies in the understanding of ancient glaciations and their deposits.

Dan has been a Fellow of the Society since 2000 and has had a close association with many of its activities, particularly in publications. He was awarded the JGS Early Career Award in 2008, and over the past 10 years has organised and co-organised several major conferences and published outputs in three Special Publications. He has served on the Energy Group Committee, and since 2018 on the Books Committee. In addition, he is an Associate Editor of the ‘Journal for Sedimentary Research’, and has acted as guest Associate Editor for ‘Sedimentology’.

Dan is excited to serve as a member of Council and keen to use his extensive experience both in publishing and on Society committees to support the Society grow and face any forthcoming challenges, in particular the increasing complexity of the publications model.

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Prof Robin Strachan

Secretary, Publications

Rob StrachanI am passionate about developing the role and importance of the Geological Society as the preeminent face of geosciences in the UK. I am currently Professor of Geology in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth, recently having stepped down after 10 years as Head of School. I have been a Fellow of the Society since 1983 and a Chartered Geologist. I served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Geological Society from 1997 to 2005 and was then Chief Editor from 2005 to 2011.

I was awarded a Coke Medal in 2012. Since 2012, I have served on the Books Editorial Committee as one of the Society’s Books Editors. In January 2018 I commenced a four-year term as an Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin. 

I have a particular knowledge of, and interest in, scientific publishing as a result of my extensive editorial experience supporting and managing the Society’s flagship journal, and assisting in the development of Special Publications (co-editing three) and Memoirs. This experience coupled with my international contacts means that I will be able to serve Council and the Society very effectively.

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Miss Lucy Thomas

lucy thomasI became a fellow of the Geological Society in 1995 whilst undertaking my BSc in Applied Environmental Geology at Portsmouth University. I am a Chartered Geologist, a Specialist in Land Condition and Suitably Qualified Person.

My career commenced at a structural engineering practice where I undertook site investigation to facilitate brownfield development. I loved transforming disused manufacturing sites into beneficial use and consolidated my skills in risk-based remediation.

I am now RSK’s Chief Scientist and the Managing Director of RSK’s African businesses; a challenging and rewarding role that enables me to increase diversity in our industry, promote the latest science in our operations and engage with stakeholders.

I am an active member of NW Regional subgroup having spoken at career and evening events. I was also Chair of the Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment and of the National Brownfield Land Forum.

Now is an exciting time for geoscientists. We are instrumental to delivery of the UNSDGs and with COP26 in Glasgow we must capitalise on this opportunity to promote our science and inspire the next generation of geoscientists. I would love to help deliver these opportunities using my collaboration, facilitation and international business skills.

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Mr Ben Lepley

Ben LepleyBen has worked for SRK Consulting since graduating from Cardiff University; first as a mineral resource geologist for 12 years and since early 2021 as an environmental consultant.

He is a Fellow since 2008, a Chartered Geologist since 2014 and also served on the Southern Wales GSL committee between 2009-2011. Ben is co-chair of the public perception of mining committee with the Critical Minerals Association and as part of this role engages with a number of organisations including school and university education, academia, exploration and mining industry.

Whilst on Council he would like to build on opportunities for industry-academia collaboration, multi-disciplinary thinking and public outreach. Geoscience is fundamental to understanding and tackling climate change but there is a lack of public understanding of what it is and why we need it and the Society is well placed to push this message further. In addition, as a Council member he is keen to improve the perception of geoscience in the public eye, particularly with the aim of encouraging more students to study and choose a career in this diverse and rewarding area.

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Mrs Lucy Williams

Lucy Williams

  • Chartered Geologist
  • Society Fellow since 1993
  • Chair of the Petroleum Group 2018 to 2019
  • Member of the Society Awards Committee
  • Geoscience Manager at Rockhopper Exploration
  • 27 years of industry experience
  • BSc in Geology (UCL), MSc in Petroleum Geology (Imperial College)

It has been an absolute pleasure to Chair the Petroleum Group and I am proud of what the Group delivers, from technical conferences, publications and awards to representation of petroleum geoscience on behalf of the Society. In this role I worked closely with the Society and appreciate the tremendous work it does to support the broad discipline of geoscience.

I will apply the considerable organisational and governance experience I have gained from convening high quality scientific conferences and workshops into the Society’s broad events programme. I consider it a great honour to serve on Council and I will be an advocate for my industry in the Society, and equally strive to see the Society proactively support all geological sciences associated with delivery of the future energy mix, aimed towards a low carbon economy. I passionately believe the Society is uniquely placed to assume this role.

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