Dr Stephanie Wray

Title: Dr Stephanie Wray, Chairman

Keywords: Entrepreneur, Environmental consultant, Mammal expert, Oenophile, Contralto, Frustrated cowboy, Reluctant blonde.

Abstract: I have worked as an environmental consultant in the UK construction industry for about 25 years which, frankly, is making it more and more difficult to sustain the popular myth that I am “about 40”.

I am variously described as an ecologist, EIA practitioner and sustainability consultant and have worked on several hundred development projects in the transport, energy, property and water sectors. Unlike the traditional stereotype of an ecologist I rarely wear sandals, don’t care for yoghurt, and drive a Range Rover. I am, however, passionate about ecology as a numerate scientific discipline – working with complexity and, as Douglas Adams would have it, triangulating the vectors of inter-connectedness of all things.

My PhD was on mammals and over the years I have worked with hares, rabbits, badgers, deer, dormice and many species of bat, including the biggest fruit bat in the world, Livingstone’s Giant Flying Fox. I carried on working with protected species of mammal as a consultant and developed guidance on surveying and mitigation of impacts on bats, badgers, and dormice. I was very proud to be awarded the Mammal Society medal for this work in 2011, and to join the venerable ‘grey beards’ of my profession.

I became an ecological consultant by accident when a small firm in Bristol wanted “a personable ecologist” to do some marketing for them. It was a 3-month contract and I stayed 2 years, leaving to co-found the leading ecological consultancy, Cresswell Associates. I managed the firm for 10 years until I negotiated its sale to the Hyder Consulting Group. I then joined the Hyder board and ran their successful environment division, leaving in 2010 to take up a contract with National Grid advising on the consenting of major capital projects. During this time, I completed my MBA at the University of Bath (I know, over-achiever) and developed diverse research interests in lean construction, organisational culture, change management, and strategy. Since then I have held a range of consulting and interim management posts, including roles at ERM and PBA, and I am currently the President of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).

I was delighted to join the board of Biocensus as non-executive chairman in 2011, as not only does the team comprise some of the loveliest people I have ever worked with, but Biocensus feels like a “next generation” ecological consultancy. They take all of the scientific rigour, pragmatism, professionalism and real client care that I have always striven for, but wrap that up in a lean and innovative business model that is ideally suited to the current economic climate.

Outside of work, I enjoy western riding, training my bilingual gundog (he is badly behaved in both English and Italian) and pretending that I listen to the Archers ironically.

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