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Meet Emma Beech


Geotechnical Engineer

Job description: 

Designer of geotechnical structures (retaining walls, foundations, rockfall catch fences, road subgrades, drainage etc), provide recommendations for the design of such structures and offer geotechnical solutions for our clients.

Work background: 

2007-2008 Halcrow, a design consultancy in the UK, as a summer student (full & part time).  I worked in their Environmental team dealing with contaminated land and working on the environmental side of a large flood alleviation project (wetland production, ecological impacts etc).  2008-2009 Ritchies, a specialist geotechnical contractor, as an Assistant Geotechnical Engineer (full & part time). This work was mainly site based and involved managing site investigations based around southern Scotland and reporting the findings to our clients. The size of jobs varied from small private housing developments to being involved in the large team working on the geological investigations for the replacement Forth Road Bridge.  2011 onwards, Tonkin & Taylor, Geotechnical Engineer.  I have been involved in a variety of work including natural hazard assessments, wind farm investigations, liquefaction assessments, land developments and now working in the Memorial Park Alliance on a large NZTA project.

Favourite part of job: 
  • Being active and working outside, particularly on rural jobs, along with constantly building on the technical knowledge needed to design effectively
  • The challenge of finding a solution that will fit within the site, budget and geological constraints that a project may involve – every project is different
  • Discussions with work colleagues from different backgrounds and getting their feedback
  • Planning and managing works to meet the clients’ requirements
  • Working with the public and helping them to understand the consequences of natural hazards and how it affects their homes
Least favourite part of job: 

When a strict budget or time period seriously limits the quality of the work you can provide.


MEng Civil Engineering with Environmental Management, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Interests outside work: 

Anything outdoorsy: mountain biking, hiking, hanging out at the beach or exploring more of NZ.  And for when the weather is awful, I like to read, make random crafts and play musical instruments. 

Watch the video where Emma talks about her work (15 Mb mp4 file).

Meet Emma Beech, a Geotechnical Engineer working with the Memorial Park Alliance. Image: NZTA.