When I was asked to write a piece about Woman in Tanks and provide a photograph, my first thought was that I did not want to be ”Pidgeon Holed“ in the Tank Business since I felt that my career was more diverse than just tanks. I was worried that it may limit the customer base of my company ESGenuine.
My second thought was that thanks to COVID-19, I do not have a recent professional photograph with a decent haircut -it has been 11 long months since a hairdresser got anywhere near me.
The second issue was easily solved, I just decided to use a photograph from the private arena wearing a hat and hope that I would be forgiven. When I emerge from the COVID-19 induced chrysalis, hopefully this year, it can always be updated.
I then thought long and hard about the first issue. To my amazement I realized that I have been involved in the tank industry all my working career. Having earned my PhD in Chemistry from London University, I joined the industrial minerals (Borax) branch of Rio Tinto and started working on Arsenic pollution; the first pilots that we conducted involved the use of tanks to store and process liquid effluent. In addition multiple Borax sites had liquid bulk tanks in various process facilities.
At Rio Tinto/Borax I learnt how to be a Manager and I got my first taste for the importance of health and safety and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In 2007 I was head-hunted by the family-owned international company Mourik, a great company providing industrial services to multiple industries including the (petro)- chemical industry. Through my function as Head of Corporate Safety and later as an International Business Unit Manager I was involved regularly in the liquid bulk tank industry working with customers all over the world. It was really with Mourik that I learnt the most about this great industry. Following a thorough training given in-house by Mourik, I conducted my first entry wearing independent BA apparatus into a customer’s tank and was able to experience first hand how various tanks are constructed as well as observing the cleaning and maintenance activities. With Mourik I had the privilege to be involved in their innovation activities and see how technology can make the tank industry much safer.
From Mourik I took on the position of Group CSR Director in LBC Tank Terminals, an independent international organization head-quartered in Belgium. Together with the team we de-risked the organization and I proposed the first multi-year Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy plan. This saw LBC move from a non-rated sustainability status through to Ecovardis Bronze and then Silver rated. I left LBC last March and am delighted to see that they have just acquired the prestigious Gold Ecovardis rating. Kudos to all the colleagues who have worked so hard to achieve this rating.
I now have my own consultancy, ESGenuine and I am still involved in the tank business! I have customers in the terminal industry who I am helping improve their overall CSR ratings as well as customers in the packaging, logistics and production industries, who I help with their health and safety culture – and yes, the latter industries also have liquid tank storage.
So, as you see, like I now see, I have been involved in this wonderful industry all of my career and I wouldn’t have it any other way.