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Council Elections

Council Election results

The preliminary ballot for our 2024 Council Election was held 1–31 March. In the ballot, John Davis, Dr Andrew Dobrzanski, Leanne Hughes, Dr Ilias Karapanos, Louise McAra and Dr Kevin Stephen were the six candidates who received the highest number of votes. 

Eight candidates stood for the six Council vacancies, and we received nearly 2,000 votes from Fellows in the preliminary ballot.. 

Formal approval of the six candidates took place at our Annual General Meeting on 12 June.

The supporting statements for the six new Council members:

John Davis

I am an Engineering Geologist with about 38 years’ experience in industry as a contractor, client, and consultant. I am a Chartered Geologist, a Register of Ground Engineering Professionals (RoGEP) Adviser and currently a Senior Partner at Geotechnical Consulting Group LLP. I’m the current Chair of the Engineering Group and an active member of the Quaternary Research Association via its Engineering Group. I’ve been a Fellow since 1989, Chartered for 23 years, and EurGeol since 2002.

Why am I putting myself forward for Council? This is a classic ‘giving something back’ pitch. I’ve gained a great deal of benefit and a great many friends and contacts through my Society membership. As I approach partial retirement, I’d like to put this experience and knowledge to good use. I’ve learned via involvement in many construction projects, and latterly in construction-related disputes, that collaboration is key to organisational and project success.

My main areas of interest and activity for the past decade or so have been quaternary engineering hazards, soft ground tunnelling, and contractual methods of sharing construction-related ground risk. I also have several years’ experience as a trustee of a former employer’s pension fund. I’m also a member of the British Geotechnical Association, British Tunnelling Society, Geologists’ Association and Northern Mine Research Society.

Proposer: Dr Helen Reeves
Supporters: Prof James Griffiths & Emily Riley

Dr Andrew Dobrzański

The Society has an important role in supporting geologists to secure sustainable resource supplies and to provide a level-headed approach to development and energy policy. I can support Council in driving parliamentary geoscience engagement, supporting early career activities, and expanding the Society’s range of international partnerships to achieve this.

My geological research background is in igneous critical-metal ore-deposit geology. I have served on the Society’s Information Management Committee and the MinSoc’s Applied Mineralogy Group, and I’m currently Chair of the Society’s Discussion Group. As President of the Royal Chartered Newcastle Mining Institute I work with local industry on promoting key regional engineering issues, encouraging Chartership via the Society and other Institutes, and organising geotechnical and engineering events in Newcastle.

At Cambridge, I manage critical materials research programmes and interdisciplinary energy transition events, and provide responses to parliamentary materials, resource and energy consultations, alongside supervising Part IB geology students. I have worked with the Canadian and Australian embassies to develop international critical metal links and research with the UK.

This year will also bring news on Burlington House and the Charter and Bye-Laws review, and I can bring to Council experience in charity law and legal issues involving revising Royal Charters and Bye-Laws.

Proposer: Prof John Cosgrove
Supporters: Dr Daniel David Clark-Lowes & Lesley Dunlop

Leanne Hughes

I am a Survey Geologist with 15 years' mapping experience at the British Geological Survey (BGS). I specialise in mapping and interpreting Quaternary deposits for use by utilities companies, government agencies, and other stakeholders. I am passionate about knowledge sharing and enabling geologists to integrate mobile technologies into field mapping workflows, having been fortunate enough to work globally.

Joining as a fellow in 2009, I became a Chartered Geologist in 2015, then a chartership mentor and member of the Academic Accreditation Committee. Previously, I have served as Vice-President of the Geologists’ Association, where I implemented new communication threads to develop a wider reach. I’m actively involved in outreach and public engagement, running a Brownie unit and delivering STEM/Geoscience-themed activities to other local groups.

In my role on Council, I would like to collaborate and build the common values of the Society’s commitment to 'Advancing and sharing knowledge of planet Earth' with the BGS’s strategy to 'Understand our Earth', by considering how we can help grow interest in geosciences and keep geoscientific issues on the wider societal radar. We need to enable a diverse and skilled workforce to fill future skills gaps and foster a growing partnership between the society and stakeholders.

Proposer: Helen Burke
Seconders: Dr Laura Burrel Garcia and Joanna Thompson

Dr Ilias Karapanos

I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society since 2012, and I gained the Chartered Geologist status in 2016. I have more than 15 years’ experience in the field of hydrogeology both in the UK and Greece. Since completing a BSc in Geology, I continued with a MSc and PhD in Hydrogeology, before joining the UK water industry in 2011.

Throughout my academic studies and professional career, I have conducted and interpreted numerous pumping tests and designed and led groundwater pollution investigations. As a Senior Asset Manager at Affinity Water, my current role is to provide advice and technical support to various departments within the business, ranging from day-to-day operations to long term water resources planning including drought resilience and flood management of groundwater resources. I am also a committee member of the Groundwater Modellers’ Forum since January 2022 and a regular contributor to the Society's Hydrogroup conferences.

I believe that I can help communicate the Society's values by promoting collaboration across various stakeholders and diverse interest groups. I am an advocate for communicating science and technical aspects of hydrogeology to both technical and non-technical audiences, so that everyone understands better the planet we live in and preserves it for future generations.

Proposer:  Dr Michail Pagonas
Supporters: Matthew Cook and Dr Michael Kehinde

Louisa McAra

I am a Chartered Geologist with 24 years’ experience in consultancy as an engineering geologist. I grew up on the Jurassic coast and studied for a BSc in Exploration and Mining Geology followed by an MSc in Engineering Geology at Cardiff University. I completed my MSc dissertation in Hong Kong, where I worked for the next 12 years. This early part of my career gave me a foundation in slope stability, natural terrain hazards, and large-scale ground investigations and ground characterisation for major infrastructure projects. I became a Fellow of the Geological Society in 1996.

I am the current chair of the Western Regional Group and have been a Chartership Assessor for many years, as I feel strongly about supporting my professional body. I am also part of the Bristol University School of Earth Sciences Partnership Network. This group discusses how changes to the current curriculum can benefit future employers, the challenges facing University Earth Science education and retaining Earth Sciences as an A level subject.

I have a particular interest in professional matters and chartership and, as a line manager and mentor to junior staff, I want to bring my experience to Council to support the future generation of Earth Scientists.

Proposer:  Tracey Radford
Supporters: Gemma Sherwood and Elizabeth Withington

Dr Kevin Stephen

I am a recently retired schoolteacher with 30 years’ experience of delivering GCSE and A level Geology. I entered teaching following a PGCE in Science Education (Bath University), after degrees in BSc Geology (Portsmouth), MSc Petroleum Geology (Aberdeen), and PhD in Basin Analysis (Edinburgh).

I have a passion for Earth Science education. As Head of Geology, I built a highly successful Geology department in a NW England 11-18 state school. My past students have made careers in all branches of the Earth Sciences after studying at most of the UK’s universities. I have initiated strong links with industry and academia to expose my students to Geology’s diverse nature. My students have been annual visitors to Burlington House and regular victors in the Society’s Schools Geology Challenge. To develop the next generation of Geology teachers, I have trained graduates from HEI across the Manchester area. I have worked with both Geology exam boards in the writing of GCSE and A level examinations and syllabi.

The recruitment of new galvanised students into the Earth Sciences must be a key goal of the Geological Society and I would aim to keep Earth Science education at the forefront of the Society’s long-term vision.

Proposer: David Shilston
Seconders: Duncan Hawley and Michael Walsh

Council members 2024-25: continuing and retiring members of Council

Ruth Allington will stand down as President following the 2024 President’s Day and will be succeeded by the current President-designate, Prof Jon Gluyas. Dr Neil Frewin will stand for Secretary, Professional at the 2024 AGM extending his service on Council to 2027. 

The continuing Council members following 12 June will be:

Name Expertise Sector 
Prof Mark Anderson
Structural Geology and Tectonics
Dr Anna Bird Geochronology, Tectonics and Provenance Academe
Prof Sian Davies-Vollum Environmental Geology Academe
Dr Natasha Dowey Volcanic Hazards, Stratigraphy, EDI & Outreach Academe
Hollie Fisher Engineering Geology and Geomorphology Industry
Dr Neil Frewin (as Secretary, Professional) Petroleum Geology Industry
Dr Jennie Gilbert (Secretary, Science) Volcanology Academe
Dr David Giles Engineering Geology Industry /Academe
Prof Jon Gluyas (as President) Geothermal Energy Academe / Industry
Martin Griffin (Vice President, EDIA) Geotechnical Engineering Industry
Dr Michael Kehinde (Secretary Foreign & External Affairs) Hydrogeology Government
Prof Daniel Le Heron (Secretary, Publications) Sedimentology Academe
Ben Lepley Geoscience, Minerals and Mining, ESG  Industry
Dr Keith Myers (Treasurer) Petroleum Geology Industry
Dr Chiara Maria Petrone Igneous petrology, Petrography Academe
Gemma Sherwood (Vice President, Regional Groups) Engineering Geology Industry
Liz Withington Geotechnical Engineering Industry

*Current Council Members’ biographies are at:

Members of Council retiring at the Annual General Meeting on 12 June 2024:

Name  Expertise Sector 
Prof Mark Allen Tectonics Academe
Ruth Allington (President) Engr. Geol., Resource Geol., ESG, Mining and Quarrying Sector, Dispute Resolution Industry
Prof James Griffiths (Secretary, Professional) Engineering Geology Academe
Peter Loader Geoscience Education Academe
Dr Amanda Owen Sedimentology Academe
Lucy Thomas Chartered Geologist & Specialist in Land Condition Industry