I was thrilled to participate in a marine campaign for two clients as cruise chief, and was happily surprised when I learned that nearly all the technical team was female!”
Program Director, ERM
A recent project based in Mexico demonstrates the value of diversity and the technical development of our people in meeting and exceeding expectations. Two confidential clients engaged ERM to conduct an oceanographic campaign in the Gulf of Mexico. What makes this project unique is that ERM’s project team members were almost exclusively women.
This one-month marine campaign involved significant activity: 79 sampling stations, 79 sediment and benthic samples, 117 water and plankton samples, and fisheries sampling. Both clients had very high expectations for the timing and execution of the project. In addition to the typical challenges of this type of project, the entire campaign was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team followed all COVID-19 protocols, including testing and quarantining, to protect the health and safety of everyone in the team.
With all activities running smoothly, the fieldwork was conducted in record time, and all the marine samples arrived at the laboratories without any issues and on schedule. Most importantly, the team’s focus on health and safety meant there were no reportable events during the project.
Of particular note were the roles women served in the project – some of which are assigned customarily to men. The team included the project manager, onshore coordinator (who coordinated everything with laboratories and materials), cruise chief, shift leaders, biological and physical-chemical sampling coordinators, fisheries coordinators, equipment operators, and a marine mammal observer. The entire technical team was composed of women – ERM employees from Mexico and Colombia, as well as subcontractors.
Irene Bronillet served as the cruise chief for this marine campaign. According to Irene, “Although my current role in ERM Mexico is as Program Director, I have marine sampling experience from an earlier job (Mexican Petroleum Institute). I have always been passionate about the sea and have enjoyed working on marine projects. At ERM, everyone has the opportunity to work in any project, and luckily I have had the opportunity to support ERM in some marine campaigns, making my work at ERM more fun and challenging. During the marine campaign everything ran smoothly, the few technical problems that we encountered were solved right away, and both projects were a success."
In addition to Irene, other members of the project team included Andrea Rodriguez, Juliana Rojas, Diana García and Pilar Flores.
Program Director, ERM