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Biographies of members of Council 2020/2021

Dr Michael Daly

President

Mike DalyI am a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford with research interests in continental tectonics and resource systems, mainly executed in Africa and South America. I have a small teaching commitment leading academic and industrial field classes in tectonics and stratigraphy, as well as giving occasional seminars at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. I also supervise PhD and Master's students.

A graduate of the University College of Wales, I started my professional career as a field geologist in the Geological Survey of Zambia. I followed this with a PhD in African Tectonics at Leeds University and then a 28-year career with BP Exploration Plc. 

In BP I was initially appointed as a research structural geologist and then held a series of leadership roles in geoscience and international exploration in South America, Scotland, Iran and the Middle East. I then spent eight years as BP's Global Head of Exploration and New Business Development based in London and serving on BP’s Group Executive Team.

Today I am a non-executive board member of CGG, a French Geoscience Technology Company, and Tullow Plc. I am Co-Principal Investigator on the UKRI-funded Copper Basin Exploration Science Project (CuBES). As a part of this research activity I work with several mining companies in Africa, developing their expertise in basin analysis and the understanding of sediment-hosted mineral resource systems related to metals important to the current energy transition.

I joined the Society as an undergraduate, have previously served on Council, co-convened the “Plate Tectonics at 50” conference in 2017, and co-edited GSL Special Publication 472 on Cratonic basins. 

As President I have three priorities: securing the Society’s future by assisting it to respond to the changing context of geology in the natural sciences and society at large; bringing my industrial experience and connections to the Society’s significant financial, strategic and diversity challenges; supporting and challenging the Executive Secretary and his team to deliver on Council’s strategy.

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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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Ruth Allington

ruth allingtonNow 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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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 Kathryn Goodenough

Kathryn GoodenoughI am a Principal Geologist with the British Geological Survey (BGS) in Edinburgh, where I have worked for 18 years. After a PhD studying alkaline igneous rocks in Greenland and a first job in geo-conservation, I joined BGS, initially doing Scottish and international field mapping. 

I now research the genesis and geodynamic context of mineral deposits, and lead a DFID-funded capacity-building programme that partners BGS with geological surveys in developing countries. Geologists in these countries are in great need of professional networks, and as a member of Council I would like to investigate ways for the Geological Society to collaborate with, and support the professional development of, our colleagues overseas. I am also a strong supporter of the Society’s diversity agenda, and particularly interested in ideas to fix the ‘leaky pipeline’.

I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society and Chartered Geologist since 2003. I served on the Awards Committee from 2011 to 2013, and was Secretary of the Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group from 2002 to 2009. I have also been a Mineralogical Society Council Member (2007 to 2009) and General Secretary (2011 to 2016). I sit on the NERC Peer Review College, am Petrology Editor for Geological Magazine, and have recently finished a term as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for the International Continental Drilling Programme.

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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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Mr Andrew Moore

Colin NorthI started out in 1989 with a Geology degree from Kingston Polytechnic. My first job was Engineering Geologist with a contractor immersing me in site investigation fieldwork, logging and reporting. In 1995 I joined the new Environment Agency to pursue an interest in hydrogeological assessments and develop interpretation, risk assessment and regulatory skills.

I moved to environmental consultancy in 1998 and managed teams of geoscience professionals. The 1990s was a busy period, gaining experience and achieving milestones including MSc Engineering Geology (1992), Chartered Geologist (1996) and Chartered Engineer (1999).

I am a Technical Director with WSP UK, promoting technical excellence across the Ground Risk Team and supporting clients on ground risk in infrastructure, property and industry sectors. I practise in contaminated land and have professional qualifications including Specialist in Contaminated Land (SiLC), Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) and Qualified Person (QP).

I have served as committee member of the North West Regional Group of the Geological Society for over 20 years and held the posts of Secretary and Chair. I am an active mentor, promote careers events, present lectures and am a scrutineer of candidates for Chartership.

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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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Mrs Sarah Scott

Sarah ScottI am a practising hydrogeologist and I have been working at the Environment Agency for over 29 years. I am responsible for ensuring that we regulate activities in order to protect groundwater resources and quality, much of this is related to oil and gas industry activities. I joined the Geological Society as a Fellow in 2005 and became Chartered in 2012. I have served on the Hydrogeological Group's committee for the past three years as Treasurer.

My current focus around oil and gas operations gives me a real appreciation of the importance of politics and communication when explaining contentious geoscience in ways relevant to the audience. I believe this is useful experience to bring to Council, and to help the promotion of geological and hydrogeological understanding in the wider world.

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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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Miss Jessica Smith

Vice President, Regional Groups

Jessica SmithAs the Secretary of the Central Scotland Regional Group (CSRG), my key motivation for joining Council is to bring the voice of the regions to the table. I believe that geographical diversity plays a role in ensuring that the Society remains relevant to the membership and can have a positive influence on the engagement of Fellows.

I joined the Geological Society as a Candidate Fellow while studying my BSc in Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow, and upon graduating in 2004 I became a Fellow. Thereafter, the practical experience gained in work combined with my MSc in Engineering Geology at Imperial College London culminated in my obtaining Chartered Geologist status in 2014. Supporting and enabling others to achieve this career landmark is something I take great pride in through my work activities as well as my involvement with the CSRG.

In my current role as a Senior Engineering Geologist with Atkins, I am privileged to be in a position where I can promote STEM careers to young people, and particularly to young women. It will be a great honour to continue do so as a member of Council with the Geological Society.

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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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Dr Alexander Whittaker

Secretary, Science

Alex Whittaker_councilI am a senior lecturer at Imperial College London. My research combines field, remote sensing and numerical modelling approaches to address how tectonics and climate drive landscape evolution over a range of scales. At Imperial I lecture in structural geology and tectonics, and I co-ordinate the department’s field programme, leading excursions to the Spanish Pyrenees and the Apennines.

I read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge between 1998 and 2002, before moving to Edinburgh University to do a PhD in landscape dynamics and neo-tectonics. Following an Entente Cordiale Fellowship at Université Joseph Fourier, France, I moved to Imperial College London. I was appointed a Lecturer in 2010 and Senior Lecturer in 2014.

I have been a Fellow of the Society for seven years and I received the President’s Award in 2009. I have subsequently served the Society in a range of roles; currently I sit on the Research Grants and Society Awards committees. As a member of Council I will also serve on the Science Committee.

The geosciences are central to addressing many of the problems that we and the planet face in the coming years, and the Society has a vital role to play in leading these discussions and linking research with both policy and practical applications. I am passionate about making our membership as diverse as possible, and I am keen to promote engagement with the wider public and policymakers who need to know why our discipline matters.

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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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