Please introduce yourself, give your job title and explain in a few sentences what it is you do?
Darren Kempson, Senior Land Officer. I coordinating National Grid’s projects with third parties dealing with individual stakeholders or businesses and other statutory undertakers. I would normally be the face to face contact for external parties dealing with legal agreements, access rights or communicating the project work on a localised basis.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Managing expectations. We work very hard to ensure that the project runs smoothly with minimal impact to those around us. Unfortunately not all our work is welcomed and once work on site starts whether it is digging up a cable in the road, climbing an overhead line or building a tunnel. I need to communicate between those affected by the work, those carrying out the work but also those managing the work. In some cases we can try and introduce something to a project that may help one person or group but it can adversely affect someone else and it can be quite a balancing act. It is true what they say you cannot please everyone but I feel it is my job to try.
What aspect of your work do you find most rewarding?
Problem solving whether it’s with operational staff, Landowners or local residence being able to find the best outcome that can benefit the majority and hopefully most people are happy with the outcome. I enjoy a public consultation where you can explain a project and help people understand the aims and goals. It is nice to see peoples interpretation of a project change once they know all the facts and although they may not be 100% behind the project it’s nice to shake their hand as they leave.
What are you most looking forward to doing again once the current pandemic passes?
My job is very outward facing and I am keen to get back out and meeting people face to face, I have found it difficult to help the project and those affected by the project from my spare room.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day?
I enjoy a social, couple of beers, golf but more recently I have taken to running
What advice would you give someone who wants to join the construction and engineering sector?
It is a very rewarding area to work in but it does come with its obstacles if you like a challenge it is the best place to be.