Meet Our Team

Contaminated Land – Taylor

Groundwater – Florence

Environmental Management – Petra

Infrastructure Advisory – Olya

Geospatial – Nic

Water Infrastructure – Derek

Geotechnics – Hannah

Water Infrastructure – Grace

Taylor Rooney  |  Contaminated Land

Taylor Rooney | Contaminated Land

BSc Medicinal Chemistry | University of Auckland

How did you find out about PDP?
I was super lucky to know someone working at PDP in the Contaminated Land team who told me about the company and all the exceptional work PDP does with a great emphasis on environmentally-based consulting… I applied immediately!

My initial impression was that PDP focused on delivering polished, high-quality work for clients all over NZ. Now that I have been working here for some time, I have found PDP has proved to be a highly adaptable company with a significant emphasis on providing tailored solutions for our clients and an extremely welcoming people-first culture.

Typically, I have a mix of office and field time – most of my time is spent travelling around Auckland and sometimes the rest of New Zealand looking for and sampling asbestos in houses, commercial buildings, industrial sites and in the ground. Having such a hands-on sort of job make my days so enjoyable. You can’t beat a hot kiwi summer in full, head-to-toe PPE! Having the opportunity to work outside in the sunny fresh air is tough – I guess someone has to do it.

My favourite project so far has been our National Asbestos Survey project for one of our largest clients. The project is massive in scale – nothing I’ve worked on even comes close, so I get to learn a lot of new things about the environmental conditions of the job and how to handle them. It’s fun to work with our Geospatial team on the survey application they developed – looking at the geographical maps and planning our work from there is makes our jobs so much easier and gives us a good indication of what’s happening on the site. Doing pretty much everything in-house is something I’ve not been able to do before. It allows us to work faster to have direct access to so many diversely experienced colleagues.

What would you tell someone about working here? 
I strongly urge you to apply ASAP to be a PDP graduate. Don’t miss it if you have the chance! PDP is a fantastic place to work, and we’re all a family away from home. You know you’ve found something special when you actually want to spend more than 40 hours a week with the same people.

What is the best thing about being part of the PDP team / your team?
I love working in the asbestos division of the Contaminated Land team. PDP really just feels good to work at. It’s cool to be a part of a company growing and maintaining such a good culture.

Petra Wedlake  |  Environmental Management

Petra Wedlake | Environmental Management

BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Science | University of Auckland

I first discovered PDP at the information evening at the University of Auckland [cue: sigh of relief from our hard working HR team!]. Everyone there was so passionate about their work, and they all seemed to really love being part of the company. And when I started work here, I discovered this was really the truth! It’s super people focused, with a real push for collaboration and learning between teams, and plenty of opportunities to be involved in varied, challenging projects.

For me, a standard day looks different depending on the season, and often on the weather! In summer we’re busy with field work, getting out and about to undertake different monitoring and sampling projects. I’m typically involved in water quality and ecological monitoring, so there is a lot of opportunity to travel and get outdoors. If I’m in the office I also have a long-term data management project which keeps me busy. It’s great to have a balance of the indoor and outdoor work, and the background project to fill time in between the monitoring and sampling.

As an environmental scientist, this work can be done in all sorts of locations. You should take a look at our field work equipment room! Kayaks, waders, life jackets! It can look a little more like your bach lock-up than a storage room.

What has been your best project so far?
I helped with a fish relocation during a stormwater wetland upgrade. The work involved setting nets overnight to capture freshwater fish, then relocating them further downstream while earthworks were taking place onsite. We caught A LOT of eels, as well as some smaller native fish species.

What made it interesting / different / unusual?
We were required onsite for fish relocation a number of times over the course of several months so it was exciting to see the project progress over that time. It was my first experience on an active construction site, and I got really interesting insight into the current state of urban stream systems. It was an awesome introduction to the work our Ecology and Water Infrastructure teams are involved in.

What is the best thing about being part of the PDP team / your team?
Being part of the Environmental Management team gives me opportunities to be involved in loads of different projects, from catching fish, stream sampling, soil infiltration and stormwater infrastructure monitoring, to writing resource consents and other planning documents and working closely with clients. There are loads of opportunities to learn new skills in a supportive team environment. PDP has just given me the best start to my career I could have hoped for.

Nic Ensor  |  Geospatial

Nic Ensor | Geospatial

BSc Geography and Environmental Science | University of Canterbury

I first found out about PDP through a friend from university who worked at the company. I was looking for a job in the last year of my degree and asked about geospatial opportunities available. I hit the ground running with some beefy projects when I started.

What was your first impression of our business?
Tight-knit and organised, with a close focus on employee well-being and a reputation for excellent quality work. Now that I have been here a while, my impressions were pretty accurate. However, since I’ve been here, with COVID happening, the employee well-being focus has been improved further. With the introduction of employee health insurance through Southern Cross and the security of income protection, you get peace of mind.

When we are working from the office, I start my day in the fresh air battling the rush hour Auckland traffic on my bike, trying not to get hit by a car. I arrive at work full of adrenaline and get stuck into generating report figures/maps and creating internal/external web apps for field data collection to present to clients. Then on the regular occasion, I have meetings with colleagues about project progress, phone calls with clients and more to break up my screentime. It’s all go, but I love it.

What has been your best project so far?
There have been too many to pick a single one. But if I had to pick one… Recently I enjoyed working on a geotechnical project at a site outside a paper mill. I had the opportunity to work with many different types of data. Just the sheer amount of different data types that I had to work with to make the project come together was intense. It included regular vector data, CAD data, high-quality drone imagery, LiDAR data and LASS point cloud data that needed to be viewed and worked within 3D. I found it an enjoyable challenge and something a little different to what I usually do day-to-day.

What is the best thing about being part of the PDP team / your team?
The geospatial team (and PDP as a company) is small and tight-knit, so it doesn’t feel like you’re a ‘cog in the machine’. Your contribution is widely recognised and produces meaningful results, which is pretty cool for work satisfaction.

What would you tell someone considering a graduate role with PDP about working here?
It’s a great place to start your career. Great mentors, flat management structure, and everyone is happy to answer questions, no matter how simple you think they are!

Hannah Parker  |  Geotechnics

Hannah Parker | Geotechnics

BE (Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering | University of Auckland

I found out about PDP when one of my uni friends started here as a grad. I went along on their ski trip as her “plus one” and realised that PDP is a pretty rad company. That was four years before I started here, but I knew I wanted to try and get a job with this team.

I’m in the Geotech team, which is a smallish group and so we get to know each other well. We work collaboratively right across the team, as a grad I am involved in all types of work. To be honest, the Geotech team is the best team at PDP so I am super lucky.

My standard day here?
In a non-COVID world it looks pretty great. I cycle to work around 8:30am and have a catch up with my colleagues as we all arrive. We grab a coffee and plan out the day. I usually pour another one as I get cracking on a project. This could be planning for upcoming fieldwork, reporting, design, or slope stability assessments. The team helps me with any questions I have, and I will ask those questions of my colleagues in the office or using our Teams channel which is a super handy way to connect with other colleagues across the country.

Sometimes I’ll head out to site for an inspection or sampling. It’s really varied work and a lot of fun. Geotech work is about the engineering behaviour of earth materials – so we tend to get involved with all the other teams, helping them understand the likely behaviour of the earth in relation to their stormwater, groundwater, water infrastructure or contaminated land work.

A great work memory?
Recently I had the opportunity to do some fieldwork in Taranaki. A group of us spent two days working in the beautiful native bush as part of a site investigation. Our days included four-wheel driving, some hiking, hand augering and a lot of scala tests.  There was a lot to get done in a very small amount of time and the site had some unique challenges which made it even more engaging (and fun).  The highlight of the trip for me was hearing a Kōkako. As a lot of the fieldwork we do is at places like wastewater treatment plants, landfills, or urban environments, the beauty of this trip was quite something.

What would you tell someone about working here?
You will get a morning or afternoon tea on your first day, make sure you cut the cake quickly before people get hangry! But seriously, you also learn a lot on the job and will get to work on a range of fun and challenging projects.

What is the best thing about being part of the PDP team / your team?
The Geotech team is small and you get to know everyone well and work collaboratively with the team.  We have an awesome bunch of people that bring heaps of joy, I have overheard it being said that we are the best workgroup.

Florence Mills  |  Groundwater

Florence Mills | Groundwater

BSc and MSc Geography | University of Otago

I first discovered PDP at the NZ Hydrological Society Technical workshop in Blenheim. The two experts at the exhibitor stand were both very chatty and loved sharing stories from epic projects they had been involved with while working for PDP.

My first impression of PDP was how diverse the range of work and projects that the company worked on were and the how friendly and relaxed vibe of the office. Since working here, I found my first impression was on point. I now have personally been involved in a range of diverse projects. I also genuinely enjoy the people-focused culture of PDP and the variety of committees and social events on offer.

My day can be pretty varied but will commonly focus on water resource projects. Summer periods typically involve site visits to stream gauge/sample, help with ecological surveys, monitor groundwater or any other fieldwork that depends on fine weather. During office days, we have project meetings where we focus on data processing/analysis and report preparation. Following a project at each stage is super rewarding, from collecting information/data to data processing and analysis to finally, the big beast of report preparation, conclusion and recommendations to the client. You have a lot of ownership over the work. Groundwater is definitely the best team in that sense.

What has been your best project so far?
Difficult to pick one, however during the past six months, I have been seconded to Trustpower a couple of days a week to help their Hydrology team with fieldwork and processing data for the Kaimai Power Scheme.

Being seconded to another company is super interesting as you get to learn about a whole new area of work that you may not otherwise have been exposed to. My experience with the Trustpower Hydrology team has been fantastic as I’ve learnt about the electricity industry and how a hydropower scheme operates. Having the opportunity to visit the Kaimai scheme on multiple occasions and see areas that are not generally open to the public is really cool to see.

What would you tell someone considering a graduate role with PDP about working here?
Give it a go! PDP is a great company to work for and is unique. The smallish business stance allows you to try your hand at a range of fascinating projects and won’t pigeonhole you into one area. This is important when starting your career as it allows you to test the waters of different workgroup areas and find what you are passionate about. The team here are extraordinary, so welcoming and encouraging. It is the perfect leap into your career journey.

I love the people here. The vast mix of super cool young, vibrant professionals and senior experts with tons of outstanding experience makes you feel like you can develop exponentially and learn so much from everyone in the company.

Olya Albot  |  Infrastructure Advisory

Olya Albot | Infrastructure Advisory

BE (Hons) Geology and Environmental Science | University of Auckland

Olya Albot – A different sort of Graduate Role
In her five years with PDP, Olya has traversed a different graduate pathway to many. In many ways, her path reflects the journey we are all on, making changes to address the impacts climate change will have on us, on our careers, our lives and ways of inhabiting this planet.

Olya first joined PDP as a graduate in the Contaminated Land team in our Wellington office, with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Environmental Science. When she joined our team, she was a passionate climate change advocate and voice, but 5 years ago, climate change-specific roles in the industry were outliers only. After around 18 months with the team, she could see that climate change work was evolving and that some clients, in particular, were going to increasingly require impact assessments to be undertaken. This still was not a full-time opportunity for Olya or our Wellington team, but she had another plan on the go.

Through her work and studies, Olya could see that wetlands offered great potential for climate monitoring, and perhaps longer-term, as places where carbon could be sequestered in the same way forest plantations are currently used.

The best way to summarise her research is to use Olya’s words from her Research Proposal Summary:
Aotearoa New Zealand recognises the potential of wetlands in carbon markets and government emission reduction plans. However, the carbon sequestration potential and the response of coastal wetlands to sea-level rise have not been adequately investigated (e.g., the Climate Change Commission has highlighted this as an area requiring further research). This project has the potential to provide essential data needed to include coastal wetlands in New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and other pathways that aim to implement climate change policy and mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions.

With support from the Wellington Technical Directors, Olya dropped her work hours at PDP to part-time and started her PhD. The research led her to spend her summer in beautiful Northland, monitoring the Rangaunu Harbour coastal wetland, then to Miranda and the Firth of Thames and finally to the Pāuatahanui Wildlife Reserve near Wellington.

Olya’s part of our wider Climate Change team at PDP, which now has a senior Leadership presence through Technical Director Chris Cameron. She works alongside many of our people who have a greater interest in climate change, whose academic and industry projects are striving to provide options and solutions for the rapidly advancing impacts of the changing climate.

We are so proud to have Olya on our team and to be able to support her in her meaningful research. We are excitied to see the impact of her study on Climate Change policy in Aotearoa/New Zealand, in addition to the work our clients are also doing to mitigate climate risk.

Derek Anderson  |  Water Infrastructure

Derek Anderson | Water Infrastructure

BE (Hons) Civil Engineering | University of Auckland

I found out about PDP through a friend who had just started working here, and they seemed like (and are!) a rapidly growing consultancy, but one that really values their team members. I was keen to work for a firm that was recognised for its expertise, as well as being a great place to work.

I have found that the PDP experience matches up to that – although the Auckland COVID lockdown has certainly made the “team spirit” part of things tough, we have been able to continue to do fieldwork, had some days in the office over January, and make the best use of Microsoft Teams to connect online.

As a graduate engineer, my usual day consists of answering emails, attending design meetings, writing reports, and carrying out design calculations. Most of that work is desk or office-based, but we will go out to site as well.

What has been your best project so far?
The design of a large upgrade to a wastewater treatment plant in the Waikato – these plants are complex and challenging projects to work on, and from a water engineering perspective, they are super interesting.

What made it interesting / different / unusual?
Having been involved from the outset of this ongoing project, I have an appreciation for both its scale and complexity, as well as the intended impact it will have on both the environment and the local community. No one particularly likes wastewater treatment plants but they are an essential infrastructure service or what we also call a “lifeline utility”. Modern WWTPs have incredible technology to make sure that all the waste is processed to the greatest extent possible.

What would you tell someone considering a graduate role with PDP about working here?
PDP is a specialist environmental consultancy, focussing its attention on complex and bespoke jobs. What this means is that your work here is also complex, challenging, interesting and detailed. From an engineer’s point of view, these are great projects to work on.

What is the best thing about being part of the PDP team / your team?
Collaboration, comradery, ownership, and continuous opportunities for growth as an engineer. I enjoy my team, my colleagues (even when we are stuck on Teams meetings and not face to face!) and our culture. I’m really looking forward to spending more time in the office this year once the current COVID wave is over.

Grace Wood  |  Water Infrastructure

Grace Wood | Water Infrastructure

BE (Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering and BSc Geology | University of Auckland

I found PDP via the old standard: Google! I was looking for an intern role and specifically wanted to work in environmental engineering. PDP was one of the first consultancies to pop up and then I discovered they have an intern programme as well. I was super surprised by how welcoming everyone was when I started as an intern: it’s pretty daunting coming into a workplace for a short period of holiday time when you don’t know anyone. But it wasn’t long before I was roped into joining the company touch rugby team and the running club.

My absolute number one thing about PDP is how they really look after us as employees. The past year has been tough with the very long lockdown in Auckland, and the constant uncertainty of COVID. Having the Employee Assistance Programme available to all people in the business has made a real difference to my overall working experience. None of us wants to be stuck working at home, but the team has made the best possible effort to make sure we are all okay.

In a “normal” world I’m mostly in the Auckland office (Newmarket) and occasionally out on site. If I’m in the office, I’m usually working on the environmental science side of water engineering. This could be anything from reporting on river water quality and designing stormwater pipes, to an analysis of contaminated land and geology. I love the diversity of work I get as a graduate.

What has been your best project so far?
The project I have enjoyed the most is the reconsenting of wastewater treatment plants in the Matamata-Piako region. I’ve been looking at the existing discharge environments (Piako and Waihou rivers) and how we can improve the level of treatment at the wastewater treatment plants.

What made it interesting / different / unusual?
It’s been really cool to be involved in such a large project. The scale of the project means we work alongside both the local council and iwi, which has been a great learning experience. It’s opened my eyes to the complex nature of environmental issues and the many considerations involved in civil engineering projects.

What would you tell someone about working here?
I think PDP is a great company to be a graduate in. The diversity of work you are exposed to, and the wellbeing-focused culture makes it a real winner.

What is the best thing about being part of the PDP team / your team? 
The coffee machines. Haha. Probably the 10/10 company culture.