Employee Spotlight: Kerry Simcock

11 August 2021

Next up in our spotlight series is Kerry Simcock. Kerry joined us earlier this year as Project Manager for our Development Centres…

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Kerry Simcock, Project Manager at the Development Centres
Kerry Simcock, Project Manager

I’m a Yorkshire lass, having moved up from England in 2017 to join Scottish Water on the Graduate Programme.  Before that I studied at Newcastle University for my PhD in Organic Chemistry.

Science has always been a passion of mine and the programme gave me brilliant experience in sampling, process science and environmental regulation.  Following that I got a job as Senior Process Scientist to help build the team’s monitoring capabilities before moving onto the Development Centres.

I’m also very passionate about the circular economy and I try to reduce waste whenever I can.  Broccoli stalks have been a recent revelation – instead of chucking them away I put them into all kinds of meals.  Small things, but very satisfying!

What drew you to our Development Centres?

For me, there were several key aspects.  Firstly, the opportunity to work with companies on new innovations to solve particular problems.  There are so many challenges facing the water sector and its inspiring to work with people looking to change our future for the better. Secondly, the variety of projects coming through the centres offers me the chance to learn.  I’m very curious by nature, and as the role is science and sustainability-related, it really is the perfect fit!

What does a typical day look like?

Good question! It can be very varied to be honest, so it’s easier to say what a typical week looks like!  Mainly its lots of customer engagement via virtual calls.  Depending on the project, calls can be focussed on initial discussions about a technology or process right through to the finer details of what’s needed to support each trial. I’m also onsite quite a lot, taking samples and completing analysis. The rest of my time is taken up with reviewing funding applications for the Water Test Network, one of our key partners. 

Kerry Simcock
Kerry carrying out onsite monitoring (left) and volunteering at the Royal Highland Show (right)

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It would have to be the diversity and fast-paced nature of the work. It’s weird, but if I’m only just managing to keep on top of things, I’m happy with that pace. The team I work with are a real asset too. We have a brilliant collection of skills to support each other, so where I’m not confident in one area, I know who in the team to turn to for help and support. Can’t ask for much better than that!

How do you spend your free time?

I’ve recently made it my mission to visit places in Scotland that I’ve never been to before. St Andrews particularly stands out with its natural beauty, incredible history and lovely ‘homely’ feel to it.  I also have a soft spot for Stonehaven because it was after a chance visit that I vowed to keep travelling. Scotland is so beautiful and beats expectations without trying. Other than that I lead quite a boring life! I have ambitions of having an exciting answer to this question though, so come back in 2025 and I shall work on it!

Kerry Simcock
Kerry celebrating her PhD at Newcastle Uni

If you were granted three wishes what would they be?

Well firstly that I could dance well. My inability to dance doesn’t stop me, but I wouldn’t say what happens of the dance floor is particularly pretty…Secondly that I could grow an extra six inches. The top two shelves in my kitchen cupboards are unusable and I have such grand plans for the space…and thirdly, that I could hibernate at will. I just think…why not?!

If you could interview someone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I wouldn’t actually want to interview a person, instead I’d quite like to interview a tree. Not any tree – a really old and tall one! Imagine the things it could tell you! I also wonder if they would have languages and accents by species or by geography…

Recommend a book you’ve recently read.

I’ve just finished reading Devil in the Marshalsea by Tom Hawkins which I can strongly recommend. Set in a Victorian London prison, it’s a gruesome tale of murder and intrigue – a gripping whodunnit that kept me guessing all the way through!

Best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s always better to laugh than to cry. Things go wrong and nothing is ever perfect. It’s better to see the funny side and accept it and move on rather than let things get to you. Laugh, drink, sleep, try again.

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