Pocklington Probus Club meeting report: Gill talks of career in a tough environment

For the second consecutive month, the speaker at the Pocklington Probus Club monthly meeting resides in Huggate.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 3:45 pm
Gill Cowlam addressed Pocklington Probus Club via Zoom.

Gill Cowlam gave members an insight into what it is like to have a career which often involves being the sole female in an otherwise exclusively male environment.

Gill’s early interest in engineering led to her selected for a short ‘taster introduction’ at Imperial College in 1980 whilst she was still an A-level student.

In 1984 she graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.

She worked for BP for 25 years and in 2000 became an offshore installation manager with key responsibilities in the North Sea offshore oil and gas installations.

Gill made light of the many difficulties she must have skilfully overcome in being the only woman in a very tough environment.

Gill explained her involvement in the aftermath of a number of offshore accidents, including two helicopter crashes (the Bristow Sikorsky S-76A in 2002 and the Bond 85N in 2009).

Her work included the legal responsibility for the health, safety and welfare implications following these accidents. She stressed the importance of management of change, troubleshooting and integrity in her job.

She also elaborated on her later work in Baku, Azerbaijan, on the largest integrated oil and natural gas terminal in the world.

Her hair-raising experiences of the local total disregard for road rules and regulations will have struck a chord with Probus members who have spent time in India and various parts of Africa.

As customary nowadays, Gill used the Zoom facility for her talk, but the Probus Club is hoping to resume face-to-face meetings in July if pandemic conditions continue to improve.