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A Bit of Hayes McKenzie Staff History

Here at Hayes McKenzie, we strongly believe that it is the staff that work here who make, and have made, the company what it is today. Many of our current staff have been here for 5 years or more and Mike, who went away for a bit and came back, started here even before Rob, who is our longest continually serving staff-member (apart from Andy and Malcolm of course), came here full-time.

Until 2004, Andy and Malcolm had been running things largely on their own, but with help at times from Gavin Irvine who went on to set up his own company with Dave O’Neil at Ion Acoustics. In 2004 Sheila Brown joined us in Salisbury to help with our accounts and Rob came to Salisbury shortly after for summer vacation work as part of his MEng course at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at Southampton University. Our first permanent full-time employee was, however, Andrew Monk-Steel who, like Rob, came to work in Salisbury from ISVR, but as a fully formed graduate with a BEng and an MSc in Automotive Dynamics. He was followed, shortly afterwards, by Mike, in Machynlleth, who came from the acoustics department at Salford University. Sheila handled things for both offices briefly but, in 2015, she was joined by ChaNan Bonser as office manager in Machynlleth.

Andrew left after couple of years for a possibly less frenetic work life in the acoustics department at Mott MacDonald and made space for Andy Roberts who had been working for us in Australia as part of our joint venture with Australian Power and Water (APW). Andy was only meant to stay with us for 6 months but he ended up staying for about 3 years before returning to Australia in 2009 to work for wind turbine manufacturers RePower (now Senvion) in their Melbourne offices.

Around the same time as our Salisbury office moved to new premises at Dean Hill Park, we were joined temporarily by Toby Cambray, also originally from ISVR, who had also spent some time at the English Cogger Partnership (now Sustainable Acoustics) in Winchester. Toby had already got further degree study lined up in Sustainable Architecture at Cardiff University so he was only with us for 9 months. He did, however, join up with Rob the following summer as part of an attempt to sail round the UK.

Just before Toby left we were joined in Salisbury by Sylvia Broneske, from the acoustics department of turbine manufacturer Enercon in Germany. Sylvia had good experience in wind turbine noise, also having worked at Windtest (now DNVGL). Becoming disconsolate at the wind energy situation in the UK, engendered by the 2015 Conservative government, and combined with the impending gloom of Brexit, she took the difficult decision to move to the noise team at Innogy in Swindon, which will eventually lead to her moving back to Germany. In a bizarre twist, National Wind Power, possibly our first client, became Npower Renewables which became RWE Npower which became Innogy. The summer of 2007 also saw us with a summer placement student in the form of Rhodri Lawrence in Machynlleth, who subsequently went back to complete his studies at ISVR.

Shortly after Sylvia joined, we were also joined by Tom, like Mike from the University of Salford, who had also worked for GE Renewable Energy on wind turbine noise as part of his degree course. He effectively replaced Mike, in Machynlleth, who left shortly after to work and travel in New Zealand before returning to the UK to work at URS (now merged with Aecom) in London before eventually returning to Hayes McKenzie in late 2011. Andy and Malcolm’s wives Val and Sue were also pressed into service around this time to help out in the two offices with contributing a great deal to a big study for the (then) Department of Energy and Climate Change on the way wind farm noise assessment were being carried out in practice.

In 2008 we were joined in Salisbury by Joel Braham, a recent graduate from the ISVR, who sadly decided after a year or so, that life as an acoustics consultant was not for him. He now runs a very successful business at the Good Egg in London and we have even done a bit of work sorting out some extraction fan noise issues for him (and experienced many a satisfying brunch in Stoke Newington). Tom Sedgman, formerly at the Building Design Partnership (BDP) in London and Paul Jindu, with experience at AECOM, SLR Consulting and Bickerdike Allen Partners, both joined in 2009. Paul left to work at Hoare Lea Acoustics in 2012 and Tom left to study for an MSc in Computer Science at Aberystwyth University in 2013. He now works at Desktop Enterprises, a software company near Bristol.

Seth joined the Salisbury office in 2009. Like Toby he had also been working for English Cogger in Winchester and brought a wealth of experience from the broader reaches of the acoustics world which, at the time of frenetic wind farm activity, was passing us by to a certain extent. Robin arrived shortly afterwards in 2010 from ISVR, becoming a driving force, along with Sylvia, in developing our quality control and, eventually, our UKAS accreditation for the acoustic testing of wind turbines.

2011 brought changing times to Hayes McKenzie with ChaNan leaving to concentrate on her business running tipi and yurt holidays, in rural Wales, just around the corner from our Machynlleth office. She was replaced by Mandy Dean, who had previously worked as PA to well-known Guardian columnist and commentator George Monbiot, who lives nearby. And then, later in the year, and virtually all at once, Mike came back, Sheila sadly left after about 7 and a half years to seek her fortune elsewhere, to be replaced by Morag from landscape architects Indigo in Salisbury and her own business Dalbergia, confidently stepping into her shoes, and the Salisbury office moved to its present location.

In 2012, we had so much measurement equipment going in and out of the two offices that we decided that we needed a technician to manage it all. We decided to start it off as a part-time temporary position which we gave to Chris Bradford, who had previously worked for 24 Acoustics in Romsey, and who stayed with us for 3 months sorting things out in our Salisbury office. He was quickly followed by Andy Mileham, who had 20 years keeping things up and running for the Royal Signals Corps in the British Army so was definitely well able to keep Hayes McKenzie’s equipment in order. Andy stayed with us until mid-2016 and is still sorely missed although Charlie has stepped ably into the role he forged; managing it along with his role as a junior consultant which he came to later in 2016 from the BBC in Cardiff. In 2013, Morag left for a while to have a baby and we took on Dunstan Langrish as a summer placement student who also came back in the summer of 2013 and who worked for us on and off until November 2014, when the lure of an alternative career in the music industry proved too much for him. Dunstan now works for Clarke Saunders Acoustics in their Exeter office. Morag’s replacement was Jackie, another very competent accounts and HR manager who came to us from the famous Sandy Balls holiday village in the New Forest. Jackie got on with us so well that we couldn’t let her go when Morag came back so now they both work part-time managing our accounts along with Rick, an old friend of Andy and Malcolm’s (Andy and Rick actually shared a student house in 1980/81!), who joined us from the Centre for Alternative Technology, when Mandy left in 2015.

Departing from our general procedure of only taking graduates from the acoustics courses at Southampton and Salford Universities (and enterprising Germans of course!), in 2014 we took on Alex Woodfield, a graduate from the world renowned Tonmeister course at Guildford University who was becoming rapidly disillusioned with the idea of a career in the sound recording industry having worked long nights making coffee at Sarm Studios in London. A keen surfer, and fancying Borth Beach near our Machynlleth office, he spent his first year there before re-locating to Salisbury in 2015, being replaced in Machynlleth by Andrew Mitchell, a new graduate (and marching band instructor!) from the physics department at Cardiff University. Val and Sue both left in 2016 due to a significant reduction in our workload meaning a significant tightening of our belts but Alex became a driving force behind our much needed re-branding and new web site before heading off to the acoustics team at Dyson in early 2017. Andrew, an American citizen, decided that life in the Dyfi Valley was not for him and Malcolm helped secure him a new post at Newson Brown Acoustics in southern California with its somewhat kinder climate!

In April 2017 we had Aedan Mansfield, a 3rd year acoustic engineering student from the ISVR, in for a week to get to know him and test out his python coding prowess, which went well so we asked him back for a 4 week placement in August 2017 to get a taste of acoustic consultancy whilst also helping us develop various in-house analysis tools.

And that just about brings us up to date except that, in a new and exciting development, we have recently retained Ian Flindell as an associate external consultant. Ian has been a lecturer and researcher at ISVR since Andy and Malcolm were undergraduates, and we have always had a close working relationship with him, particularly in respect of aircraft noise projects. In addition, we are always looking for experienced, or even keen graduates, to work in our Machynlleth office and, at the moment in Spring 2017, are looking for a replacement for Alex with a minimum of two years of experience in Acoustics Consultancy. Watch this space…!

By Dr Andy McKenzie

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Date Posted

18 Aug 2017

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