Celebrating our Rising Star: Abi Smith

Published: 20 November 2023

We’re committed to nurturing new talent and celebrating outstanding achievements.

That’s why we’re so proud of Abi Smith, Water Quality Project Manager, who took home the ‘Rising Star’ award at the UK & Ireland Spill Association Annual Awards.

Water quality assessments are critical to demonstrate the impact of an uncontrolled discharge and in assessing the true extent of the pollution.

Delivering real results

Over the last two and a half years, Abi has completed over 500 water quality assessments following suspected pollution incidents, including being the first responder to 357 new spills.

In the last 12 months Abi has:

  • Allocated over 700 incidents
  • Allocated just over 500 reattendances
  • Managed to get two types of planned works (relating to assessing bathing water locations) up and running with one client to keep her team fully utilised when they are not attending pollution incidents
  • Attended 12 monthly performance meetings with our client and has presented on the service-level agreements and key performance indicators each month at these meetings
  • Led a team of 12 for just over a year, recruiting 9 of those herself

Leading by example

Over the past year, Abi’s role has consisted of weekly check-ins with team members during their probation period, site audits, and instructing staff as first responders to all new pollution incidents. She regularly shares best practice and teaches proven methods of completing work efficiently and to deadlines.

In August 2023, Abi took on several new team members after a successful contract extension. She has committed to developing her team’s skills by holding weekly team meetings and encourages collaboration through weekly site visits and knowledge-sharing meetings.

Constant commitment to quality

In Abi’s previous role as Water Quality Technician, her focus was on preventing pollution from escalating and further damaging the environment by responding quickly, gathering impact data, and advising on suitable next steps.

Over the last year, Abi has allocated Water Quality Technicians to approximately 700 incidents and given advice as to how best assess impact, and proactively revisited sites where longer-term monitoring was needed on 500 occasions.

She continues to show impeccable prioritisation and time management capabilities, quickly changing her daily plan to attend to urgent pollution incidents. Her exceptional attention to detail means she always exceeds requirements when checking the quality of technicians’ reports and has spent time training her team on meticulous checking of report quality, ensuring all client documentation reflects our professionalism and competence.

By ensuring the correct categorisation of impact is awarded, Abi’s accuracy and precision potentially saves the customer up to £100k per incident on ODI fines.

Cost-saving client care

Following Abi’s recent promotion to Water Quality Project Manager, she now advises on appropriate impact assessments in inland, estuarine, and bathing water environments. The sources of pollution Abi manages are extremely varied, from sewage treatment works final effluent to issues in the network, such as a manhole or combined sewer overflow discharge. Her field knowledge continues to grow, and she has assisted in adapting procedures for sampling in marine environments.

Identifying Group-wide opportunities

Abi has become very proactive in involving other areas of the group in response works, remediation, and post-incident surveys.

During her working day, Abi discusses with her local depot the incidents that have the potential to require a clean-up response in addition to water quality monitoring. She has also identified work for group company Oneline for jetting work and OHES for sonde deployment.

Abi is conscientious towards all colleagues and clients and always goes above and beyond in her work ethic to meet deadlines.

Hugo Jenkins, Head of Water and Ecology

Refining internal and external procedures

Abi has been at the forefront of delivering several different planned works programmes for her clients, which assists them in monitoring the bathing waters in their region and highlights defects and potential risks in water utility infrastructure. These concerns can then be rectified before failing and causing an incident. This vital information helps water companies actively prevent pollution events and significantly reduce risk, liability, and potential for environmental harm.

Hugo Jenkins, Head of Water and Ecology said: “Abi joined Adler and Allan in November 2019 as a Water Quality Technician. Her natural organisational abilities, professionalism, and dedication to delivering results were evident immediately and she earned two well-deserved promotions, firstly to Assistant Project Manager, and secondly to Project Manager of a team of 12 staff in the Southeast region of the UK.

“The interest she has for the role she does and affability with the client has helped her to network with other staff within the organisation, which has been key to bringing in more work to the wider Group. Abi is conscientious towards all colleagues and clients and always goes above and beyond in her work ethic to meet deadlines. Nothing is too much trouble for her.”

Culture of excellence

Abi's commitment to quality leadership and exceptional contributions highlight the culture of excellence that we foster within our workforce. This award not only recognises Abi as an outstanding individual; it also acknowledges our dedication to developing and recognising talent.

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