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Elections to council 2021-2022

Last Autumn Fellows were invited to nominate new members of Council to succeed the eight who will be retiring at the Annual General Meeting on 25 June 2021. One nomination was received for the post of President-designate and a further fourteen nominations for the seven remaining vacancies.
It is important that Council is representative of the views and diversity of all the Fellowship so Fellows are urged to participate in the preliminary ballot which will determine the list for the formal vote at the Annual General Meeting on 25 June 2021. The process for the election of members of Council is set out at section 6 of the Bye-laws and the process for the election of President is set out at section 7.

As in prior years, we have commissioned Civica Election Services (CES) to manage the ballot for Council on behalf of the Society. CES is the UK’s leading independent ballot services provider, and has extensive experience of overseeing ballots for a wide range of organisations. All Fellows for whom we have an email address should have received voting information direct from CES. All other Fellows will receive a postal ballot pack. If you have not heard from CES via email or post by 22nd February, or have other difficulties casting your vote, please contact Christina Marron at the Society.

The candidates’ election statements are below and will be included in the March issue of Geoscientist, in the postal ballot packs and can also be viewed on the CES website when you log in to vote.

Online voting closes at 23.59 on Wednesday 31 March. Postal ballot forms must be sent to CES (not to the Society) and must arrive by Wednesday 31 March 2021.


The Council elections are your opportunity to choose who should serve on Council to best represent the interests of all Fellows and to shape the future of the Society. Fellows may wish to make their choices having regard to the area of expertise of the continuing and retiring members of Council which are shown on the tables below. Their biographies can be found here. Council is particularly keen to strengthen representation from experienced academics.

Graham Goffey, Treasurer, is retiring from Council and Keith Myers was co-opted by Council in April 2020 as Treasurer-designate. His nomination for election is endorsed by Council.


 Name Expertise Sector 
 Mrs Joanna Alexander  Geoscience, Communications, Culture Change  Industry
 Dr Michael Daly  Continental Tectonics and Resources  Academe
 Dr Jennie Gilbert  Volcanology  Academe
 Dr Joel Gill  Social Geology, Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable Development  Government
 Dr Kathryn Goodenough  Mineral resources, igneous petrology, crustal evolution  Government
 Prof James Griffiths  Engineering Geology  Academe
 Dr Michael Kehinde  Hydrogeology  Government
 Mr Andrew Moore  Contaminated Land  Industry
 Dr John Perry  Engineering Geology  Industry
 Mrs Sarah Scott  Hydrogeology  Government
 Ms Gemma Sherwood  Engineering Geology  Industry
 Miss Jessica Smith  Engineering Geology  Engineering Geology
 Prof Robin Strachan  Tectonics, Geochronology  Academe
 Dr Alexander Whittaker  Tectonics and Landscape Dynamics  Academe
 Mrs Lucy Williams  Petroleum Geology  Industry

Name                             Expertise                                                                                     Sector  
 Mr Tom Backhouse  Risk / Environmental & Geological Hazards        Industry                 
 Dr Andrew Bloodworth  Economic Geology
 Mr John Booth  Engineering Geology  Industry
 Mr Graham Goffey  Petroleum Geology  Industry
 Prof Chris King  Geoscience Educator  Academe
 Prof Bryne Ngwenya  Microbial Geochemistry  Academe
 Mr Nik Reynolds  Contaminated land, Geotechnical engineering  Industry
 Dr Helen Smyth  Petroleum Geology  Industry

Supporting statements for Council nominees

Please find here the supporting statement for the post of President-designate:

Ms Ruth Allington

Ruth AllingtonIf elected, I would work 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.

Now semi-retired, I would 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.

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.

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.

Proposer: Iain Stewart
Supporters: Sarah Gordon and Nic Bilham

Please find here supporting statements for Council nominees:

One of the candidates is endorsed by Council because they have volunteered to undertake a key task for the Society.

Mark AllenProfessor Mark Allen

I am standing for Council to 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 would be a privilege to be on Council and serve the Society.

Proposer: Robert Holdsworth
Supporters: Jonathan Gordon Gluyas and Alex Whittaker

Andrew DobrzanskiMr Andrew Dobrzanski

I have been a committed member of the Society since studying A-Level Geology and have previously served on the Society's Information Management Committee. My research background is in igneous petrology, gemmology, and ore-deposit geology at Liverpool, Durham and Edinburgh Universities. I currently co-manage the Royce lnstitute facilities for materials science research at Cambridge University, and I am particularly interested in materials and metal supply chains and the reuse of waste materials. I believe the Society must play a key expert role in guiding future UK climate, infrastructure and resource policy. As Secretary of the Royal Chartered Newcastle Mining lnstitute I am well versed in charity, tenancy and lease law and dealing with legal issues under Royal Charters. I have promoted professional geological opportunities to students in the North East and have organised annual Geological Society events in Newcastle. lf elected I will: work with the regional groups to deliver more local events to change the Society's perceived London-centric image; work to attract and retain new Fellows in a post-COVID economy; further develop the professional training and support offered by the Society to University student societies and postgraduate students; and further champion the expansion of the Society's international geodevelopment partnerships. 

Proposer: Daniel Clark-Lowes
Supporters: Lesley Dunlop and John Bennett

Neil FrewinDr Neil Frewin

I have 27-years of industry experience as a geoscientist, much of that time with Shell, but also periods with Hess UK Ltd and BG Group. Although igniting my passion as a research geochemist in The Netherlands, I have spent much of my career in asset management and new business development. I am currently leading a regional geology team with Shell in London, a role that has a global basin and play remit.

I believe that stronger collaboration between professional societies will be key to survival and further growth. In that regard, I was recently President of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) and have played a substantive role in their strategic reshaping. The role of geoscience in society and the use of the Earth’s resources is also changing and I co-founded the “Exploring the Energy Transition” special interest group to address these trends.

I have a passion for public outreach and am a Trustee and Company Secretary of The Etches Collection – a museum in Dorset. Here I fulfil specific roles with respect to fund raising and online digital engagement to support the charity.

I am a Chartered Geologist and an editorial board member for the journal Petroleum Geoscience.

Proposer: H A Wilson
Supporters: Philip Thomson and Lucy Williams

Tim GoodDr Tim Good

The earth sciences face major challenges related to the energy transition and environmental changes at a time of declining student numbers and GSL membership and mixed public perceptions of the resource industries. If elected, I hope these are themes I can help the Council address through strengthening industry-academic collaboration and delivery of a high quality technical program. 

I have worked in both industry and academia. My undergraduate training (Hull) was followed by a NERC-funded sedimentology PhD (Reading) interpreting clastic depositional systems in the UK and Canadian Arctic. My industry career with BP and ExxonMobil (current employer) has included exploration, research and commercial roles and specialist assignments in sedimentology and geological modelling in the UK and overseas. As an academic at Heriot-Watt University I led an industry-funded reservoir characterisation research team on large-scale outcrops in Europe and North America and taught field and classroom courses for students and industry. 

I have been a Fellow of the Society for 35 years, have served on the Petroleum Group Committee, as a conference convenor and editor of Geological Society Special Publications on the application Outcrop Analogues to subsurface problems (SP 387, 436). I have participated in British Sedimentological Research Group activities over my entire career. 

Proposer: James Maynard
Supporters: Jonathan Wilson and John Underhill

Martin GriffinMr Martin Griffin
I 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 am standing for Council to advance equality, celebrate diversity and stand up for people who are from underrepresented groups. If elected, I aim to 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 and a Ground Forum Mentor.

Proposer: Jackie Skipper
Supporters: Chris Jack and Tom Backhouse

Ben LepleyMr Benjamin Lepley

My primary goal of being on the council is to assist with improving the perception of geology and the geosciences in the public eye, particularly with the aim of encouraging more students to study geoscience subjects. I would like to see more active public engagement and make geoscience enticing for young environmentally conscious people. I have worked for SRK Consulting as a mineral resource geologist for 12 years since graduating from Cardiff University. I have been a fellow since 2008and served on the Southern Wales GSL committee between 2009-2011. I gained Chartered Geologist status in 2014. I have also given talks and contributed to conferences arranged by MDSG along with being part of the FutureGeo group. As part of my role as co-chair of the public perception of mining committee with the Critical Minerals Association, I engage with a number of organisations including school and university education, academia, exploration and mining industry. I feel I can contribute to the committee with ideas on industry-academia collaboration, multidisciplinary thinking and public outreach. Thank you for considering my application.

Proposer: Mike Armitage
Supporters: Martin Pittuck and Robert Goddard

Pete LoaderMr Pete Loader

I 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 would be honoured to continue contributing to the Society’s educational impact.

Proposer: David Shilston
Supporters: Chris King and Iain Stewart

David McNamaraDr David McNamara

I would like to engage with the GSL at the Council level to help the Society progress its efforts in two specific arenas. Firstly, I aim to contribute to the Society’s efforts to improve support for the diverse geoscience community it represents. This includes raising community awareness of issues diverse geologists face with respect to fieldwork, developing international careers, and progressing academic careers, and designing best practises that the geological community can adopt and enact. I have experience with this at national levels when I represented early career researchers on the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Council, founded the RSNZ ECR Forum, and chaired the NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network. Secondly, I am passionate about helping communicate the incredible role geology plays in decarbonising our energy sector, contributing to climate change mitigation, and geologists’ unsung role in the manufacturing supply chain. I contribute to such efforts professionally as an Energy Group Committee Member, an IGI Energy Geoscientists Group committee member, external examiner for UoE’s GeoEnergy MSc, and publicly as an invited panellist in the 2021 TSG Plenary “Geology in a Changing World”. I would like to work with Council to develop and encourage GSL supported activities that address these geoscience topics.

Proposer: Stuart Haszeldine
Supporters: Corinna Abesser and John Wheeler

Stuart MillsMr Stuart Millis

I am a Chartered Geologist with over 20-years’ experience as a practicing engineering geological consultant. I am based in Hong Kong and have predominantly operated throughout the Asia region during my career. I have been highly active with the Geological Society of London (GSL), having been the Chair of the Hong Kong Regional Group (HKRG) between 2013 to 2016 and HKRG Secretary between 2005 to 2009 and 2010 to 2011. During my time as HKRG Chair, I also sat on both the Professional Committee and the Chartership Committee of the GSL. In addition to these roles, I have also been an Editorial Board Member of the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology since 2016, taking up the role of Assistant Scientific Editor (Geotechnics) since 2019. My long-standing involvement in GSL activities as well as my location outside of the UK places me in an ideal position to represent other Fellows located outside of the UK and give the Council a more international perspective to the way it operates.

Proposer: Kevin Ashley Styles
Supporters: Richard Martin and Samuel Kc Ng

Keith MyersDr Keith Myers, endorsed by Council

I would like to serve on the Council to help the Society through the challenge that faces Geoscience in maintaining relevance and growing its influence in a rapidly changing world. My current role is Head of Research for Westwood Global Energy Group, responsible for research output across the Group from Petroleum Geoscience through to the Energy Transition. Post PhD, I have worked in industry first in a large oil company and subsequently as the founder and Managing Director of several service companies. I have managed businesses of a similar scale to the Society and I am keen to make that experience available to the Society to ensure it continues to be financially robust and makes best use of its resources. I have been a fellow of the Society since graduating in 1984 and have contributed papers to many Society Conferences and Special Publications. I am also a member of the Advisory Council for the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

Proposer: Malcolm Brown
Supporters: John Underhill and Alyson Harding

David NeaveDr David Neave

Geoscientists will play a central role in confronting societal challenges over the coming years whether by helping to achieve net zero, mitigating the effects of climate change or improving the sustainability of resource extraction. However, public perceptions of geoscience are mixed, and student recruitment remains alarmingly low. Fortunately, the Society’s integration of academic, industrial and government expertise means that it is well placed to advocate for geoscience, now and in the future. I believe that key topics to ensure the Society’s continuing relevance and accessibility in the years ahead will include degree accreditation reform, improving the inclusivity and affordability of Fellowship, and ensuring the openness and sustainability of publishing activities. By serving on Council I would bring an early career perspective to these vital issues and champion the importance of attracting the new Fellows who will ensure the Society’s long-term success. I am currently a NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. I became a Fellow in 2013 and I chair the local organising committee of the Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group’s 2022 meeting. In addition to serving on Council, I am thus eager to contribute to the Society’s scientific programme across the UK through the Science Committee.

Proposer: Marie Edmonds
Supporters: Kathryn Goodenough and Ernest Rutter

Amanda OwenDr Amanda Owen 

I became a fellow while studying in London (2012). I hugely benefited from my membership during this period including access to Burlington house, guest lectures and networking opportunities. However, upon moving to Scotland (2014) I allowed my membership to lapse, as I felt that I was not benefiting from my membership in the same way. I have since become a fellow again (2020) as I want to see the Geological Society succeed and flourish. I am an academic at the University of Glasgow teaching on a variety Geoscience programmes and leading outreach efforts (e.g. Girls into Geoscience Scotland). I believe I have the experience that will allow valuable insights into the current state of play of student opinion and recruitment challenges that universities currently face. I am not currently a member of any of the societies committees or specialist groups but believe this puts me in a position to voice opinions and experiences of those who are not closely involved with the society. I am particularly motivated and interested in how the society can have a wider reach across different demographics which will ultimately build upon the work to increase the societies diversity and inclusion policies and practices.

Proposer: Gary Nichols
Supporters: Catherine Isherwood and Andrew Cunningham

Lucy ThomasMiss Lucy Thomas

I 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.

Proposer: Paul Nathanail
Supporters: Nicola Harries and George Tuckwell

Paul WinrowDr Paul Winrow

Although my professional career has been spent in audit and accountancy, I have held a lifelong interest in Geology, having studied Geology at all levels from O Level to PhD. After graduating from Durham in the early 1990s and obtaining a Masters from Aberystwyth, I returned to study some years later and completed a part time PhD in Palaeontology in 2015. I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society since April 2017.

I am currently Technical Partner at a large accountancy firm, having spent nearly 30 years in the audit profession. I have recently become involved in the audit of major international mining companies, including Gold, Zinc and Iron.

I have spent the last ten years as Trustee and Treasurer of the Palaeontological Association and am now looking for a fresh challenge. I would dearly love the opportunity to bring my professional and personal experience to the Council for the benefit of the Society as a whole. I believe that I will bring a different perspective and skillset to the Council, as well as extensive experience operating at Board/Council level.

Proposer: Paul Smith
Supporters: John Argent and Adam Law