We catch up with Jack Chadaj to find out more about him and his varied role as Environmental Technician for REDS Group.
I joined REDS Group in January 2020 after graduating from the University of Southampton with a Bachelor of Science in Geography. I’ve always had an interest in humanity’s impacts on the natural world and mitigation strategies to preserve the environment in the face of natural and manmade hazards. Seeking a role that would push me to grow my skillset, and with a diverse range of services and projects, REDS Group is an ideal place for me to start my career.
When I first joined, I had very limited experience with environmental spill response. But having done a dissertation in coastal flood defences, many of the principles and theories were remarkably transferrable so I was up to speed quickly.
Where I had no experience was the fuel and civil engineering sectors, however this was well understood by REDS and I had excellent support and tutelage across the following months from project leaders and all fellow colleagues.
These days my role is diverse across the company and no two days are alike. I work closely with the environmental team in delivering spill response, monitoring and remediation services. Conduct HAZMAT and COVID-19 decontaminations. Assist the civil engineering team with constructing and decommissioning fuel installations.
Whenever my friends ask me what it is I actually do, it’s difficult to give a concise answer. I could give a list as long as my arm and still have missed a few things.
My favourite projects are mostly when we work for the lighthouse authority Trinity House. Those projects almost always present unique challenges and are often in fantastic locations.
Throughout the summer of 2020, we delivered routine COVID-19 decontaminations of their three ships, that was a cool project.
Also, in February 2021, I went out as part of a team of four to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel for three weeks to finish off renovating the northern lighthouse. Spending three weeks on the peaceful island with no phone or internet signal, working on a lighthouse and eating my lunch watching seals swim past was unforgettable!
I love keeping busy and utilising a wide set of skills. My favourite weeks are ones with several different jobs across the UK where I get to work with lots of people across the company and its services and where we are faced with different challenges every day. Being faced with tough problems and people putting forth ideas and working together to come up with innovative solutions leads to some of the most satisfying moments for me.
I think one of the biggest challenges for the oil industry is if, and how it will transition as a fuel provider. As a finite resource, extracting and burning fossil fuels is a harmful and unsustainable approach to fulfilling our energy needs as a planet. And with global awareness of the issue ever increasing, the pressure is mounting on the industry to change.
In the short term, it is unfeasible to demand a complete shutdown of fossil fuels. Oil based products are engrained in every aspect of modern civilisation and infrastructure to such an extent that many of the technologies required to improve upon them are in their infancy and far from being mainstream. I doubt much will change over the next 10-20 years, but it’s interesting to ponder where we’ll be in 100 years.
In my experience, most spills and hazards we attend have occurred as a result of poor practice or equipment failure. So, my advice is to make sure your equipment is checked and serviced by appropriate professionals, and your employees receive adequate training. Not just in the use of their equipment and safe practices on the sites they work on, but also on initial response procedures. As long as it’s safe to do so, any initial actions they can take to reduce flow or contain the contaminant can pay great dividends in the future and minimise more severe impacts.
Date Posted: 17/06/2021