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Past Committee Members

Past Chairs

Dr. Duncan Murdock
Collections Manager
Oxford Natural History Museum (Academia)
2018 - 2019

Duncan currently works as the Collections Manager for the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, responsible for the day-to-day management of the Museum’s mineralogy and petrology collections, and parts of the invertebrate palaeontology collections. This includes storage, conservation and rationalisation of collections, documentation and digitisation, public engagement and collections-based research.

Duncan has an MGeol in Geology with Palaeobiology from the University of Leicester, and completed a PhD at the University of Bristol using pioneering Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Tomographic Microscopy to reveal the internal structure of the first vertebrate and brachiopod skeletons. Since his PhD, Duncan has held a number of postdoctoral research positions, including as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Museum of Natural History and Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, co-funded by the John Fell Fund. He joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018, also serving as the group's Chair.

Past Treasurers

Deborah Thomas
Principal Hydrogeologist
Envireau Water (Hydrogeology)
2018 - 2022

Deborah is a Principal Hydrogeologist at Envireau Water and has worked in Environmental Consultancy for seven years, predominantly in quarrying and water resourcing, including for Wardell Armstrong and Atkins. Her work has involved feasibility studies for mining projects in Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso and Russia, as well as contributing to UK-based projects of varying sizes, including landfills, large-scale infrastructure developments and quarries.

Having competed her BSc in Geology at Leicester University, Deborah undertook an MSc in Hydrogeology at the Birmingham University. She is a keen baker (a previous Geobakeoff winner!), walker and the proud owner of two rescue cats. She joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018, also serving as the group's Treasurer.

Past Ordinary Committee Members

Thomas Skiggs
Project Geologist
Rio Tinto (Exploration & Mining)
2018 - 2023

Tom currently works for Rio Tinto as a Project Geologist with a focus on exploring for magmatic Ni-Cu sulphide deposits in Finland, but previous roles have also taken him to both Kazakhstan and Serbia exploring for Cu-porphyries. This previous experience also includes working as a Geologist in Bosnia & Herzegovina with Adriatic Metals as well as for Altus Strategies, supporting various exploration campaigns across north, central and west Africa.

Before starting a career as an Exploration Geologist, Tom graduated from the University of Southampton with an MSci in Geology. He is a keen traveler, amateur photographer and looking to inspire the next generation of geologists! He joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018.

Joshua Hughes
Exploration Manager
Bluejay Mining (Exploration & Mining)
2018 - 2021

Joshua is the Greenland Exploration Manager for Bluejay Mining, leading the company's base and precious metal exploration campaigns as well as new project generation throughout the country. Prior to this, he was employed by Greenland's partially state-owned national mineral exploration company, NunaMinerals, and provided consultancy to several junior exploration companies and private equity funds on projects in Greenland, Malawi, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

Joshua is a graduate of Cardiff University with a Masters degree in Exploration and Resource Geology and has a research background in gold deposits and applied igneous petrology and geochemistry with the Universities of St. Andrews and Durham. He joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018.

Matt Webster
GIS Consultant
WSP (Remote Sensing)
2018 - 2019; 2020 - 2022

Matt is GIS Consultant and UAV operator at WSP in the United Kingdom, responsible for delivering GIS and drone support to multiple large-scale infrastructure projects. with mapping, analysis and quality assurances for technical project requirements. Prior to this role, he also worked as a GIS Quality Control Technician for Cyient and spent time studying Remote Sensing and Glaciology at the University of Southampton.

He holds a BSc in Geography from the University of Southampton and an MSc in Environmental Mapping from University College London. Matthew also sits on the committee of the Geological Remote Sensing Group and the Association for Geographic Information Early Career Network, and in his spare time can usually be found walking in the countryside or mountains! He joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018 and, after a temporary withdrawal, re-joined in 2020 before completing his term in 2022.

Katie McFall
Postdoctoral Researcher
Cardiff University (Academia)
2018 - 2019

Katie is an economic geologist and geochemist working as part of the "NL4D" consortium to investigate the controls on Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation in the Northern Bushveld Complex, South Africa. She is particularly interested in the geochemistry of critical and precious metals in the magmatic and magmatic-hydrothermal environment, how metals behave in high temperature hydrothermal systems and in the role of volatiles in layered ultramafic intrusions. She also runs the Cardiff University Fluid Inclusion Lab, which specialises in analysing high temperature fluids in unusual host minerals.

Katie holds an MSci in Geology from the University of Southampton where she also completed a PhD in 2016. For short periods during her studies, she also worked as a Geologist in mineral exploration for both Anglo American and Stratex International in Canada and Turkey respectively. She joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018.

Tom Backhouse
Chief Executive Officer
Terrafirma (Geotechnics)
2018 - 2019

Tom is an award-winning geologist and entrepreneur, who founded his business, Terrafirma, an innovative ground investigations company that provides intelligent solutions in the form of GeoData and Reports to support robust and future-proof decision-making. Tom holds a BSc in Geology and Physical Geography from the University of South Wales.

Tom is a passionate communicator of the value of GeoScience in our society. He has featured across public media as the face of documentaries on Channel 5 and the BBC and works with universities, schools and societies to improve public and professional understanding of earth and geo-sciences. He joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018 and has also served on the Council and Professional Committee of the Geological Society of London.

Ross Minall
Geotechnical Engineer
WSP (Geotechnics)
2018 - 2019

Ross is a Geotechnical Engineer working with WSP, with a background in geoenvironmental surveys, ground investigations and geotechnical design. His work has involved carrying out slope stability assessments, producing extensive ground models for Highways England Smart Motorways, supervising ground investigations for projects including HS2 and Network Rail, and overseeing rock surface inspections on behalf of Shropshire Council.

Ross holds an MGeol in Geology from the University of Plymouth and two further Master's degrees, one in Structural Geology with Geophysics from the University of Leeds, and the second from the University of Birmingham in Geotechnical Engineering and Management. When not staring at rocks or soil, Ross enjoys to kick box and the occasional hike. He joined the founding ECN Committee in 2018.

Serdar Aldanmazlar
Geological Engineer
TRR Consultancy (Geotechnics)
2020 - 2023

Serdar is an Geological Engineer with 12 years of experience in natural construction materials research, testing and performance evaluation of built environments experience. He holds a BSc from Ankara University in Turkey and is established as a consultant in London since 2019, becoming a Fellow of Geological Society in April 2020. He is currently working as a materials and quality consultant for multiple clients from different sectors including construction, mining, and manufacturing.

His professional interests include the use of recycled aggregates, physical and chemical interactions between naturally occurring and industrial byproduct aggregates and binders such as bitumen and Portland Cement, as well as short and long-term damage mitigation caused by minerals in built environments. He joined the ECN Committee in 2020.

Matthew Johnson
Senior Project Manager
Sixense UK (Geotechnics)
2022 - 2023

Matthew is a Senior Project Manager at Sixense UK and is currently leading the delivery of the geotechnical and civil instrumentation for the HS2 N1|N2 Area. He graduated from the University of Southampton in 2019 with a BSc in Geology, and then immediately spent a year out in Japan teaching English and working with the local Kumamoto government on a palaeo-climate research project. Unfortunately the project was cut short due to Covid-19 and Matthew found himself back in the UK. He started his own business and worked alongside several well-known companies as a Geotechnical Engineer and GIS Technician, establishing himself firmly in the UK Ground Investigation industry.

Matthew believes in the development of a strong foundation and so spends a great deal of effort working on training programmes and progression pathways for graduates and new-hires on his projects. His professional interests are in drilling techniques, geotechnical instrumentation, and modelling technologies. Matthew joined the committee in 2022.

Join the ECN Committee

The ECN’s Committee is made up of 10 elected members who serve 3-year terms, including a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Committee members are expected to actively participate in and promote the group’s activities through the attendance of meetings, organising events, and advertising the ECN and its undertakings.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please submit an expression of interest along with your CV to:

[email protected]