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Martin S. Griffin

Geotechnical engineer, Martin Griffin answers our questions.

ND diagnosis or self-identify as:

Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexia, and dyspraxia.

Current job title:

Senior Mining Geotechnical Engineer for a niche mining international consultancy based in London.

What does your job involve?

My role focuses on the behavior of soil, rock, and other materials. I use and apply scientific principles and engineering techniques to assess the properties and behavior of these materials to support the safe and efficient design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure projects. I investigate the characteristics of soil and rock formations, including their composition, strength, permeability, and stability. I am involved in managing site investigations, interpreting laboratory tests, and analyzing data to evaluate the suitability of the ground for projects. Based on my findings, I provide recommendations for foundation design, slope stability, retaining structures, and mitigation of geotechnical hazards. I collaborate with other professionals, such as architects, structural engineers, and construction teams, to ensure that geotechnical considerations are integrated into the overall project design and implementation.

Degree/apprenticeship or route to current job:

I nearly failed all my A Levels, and started as a laboratory technician. I then was strongly encouraged to do an apprenticeship / HND long-winded way to get a BEng in 1995. I successfully graduated with a 2-1 and following 3.5 years as a postgraduate research student I entered the world of being consultant working on national and international projects mining and civil geotechnical engineer.

What was your experience of school?

It was hard, I struggled, and was bullied. I remember being seen as intelligent but public examination were difficult to revise for and pass. I felt misunderstood.

What strategies/ assistive technology do you use to help you in your work?

Text to speech software, speech to text software, to-do list, scan pens are all very useful for me and my work.

What ND skills have allowed you to succeed (or progress) in your STEM career?

Unique sense of humour, honesty, breeding trust, ability to focus on complex tasks, detail-oriented work, good and savant memory and intelligence, and special interests.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would say:

1. Have a curious mind and learn something new every day
2. Sharing knowledge with others is important for advancement
3. It takes at least 10,000 hours to master a skill
4. Broken clay pots can be repaired by precious gold
5. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single steps.
6. Don’t walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

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