Meet the team: – Tom Wallace
Tom Wallace, Senior Environmental Inspector
Today we meet Tom Wallace, one of our Senior Environmental Inspectors and recent collaborator with organisations such as Dublin City Council, the Commision for Energy Regulation and the Department of Energy, Communications and Natural Resources.
Tom Wallace has always had a keen interest in science. So it was no surprise when he graduated from the National University of Ireland Galway in 2007 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Environmental Science. However, it was his major in Environmental Physics that really opened his eyes to the practical applications of environmental studies. “Just seeing a molecule under a microscope never really did it for me,” he explains. “I’ve always wanted to apply my scientific background to real world situations.”
Making a Difference
Tom’s degree dissertation, measuring post-smoking ban tobacco particle concentrations in bars and domestic settings, gave him a taste for environmental work that has a real effect on people’s daily lives. “I like to see the impact of my work. If I’m working on a site that has been causing FOG blockages for 6 months and we manage to bring about an improvement, that feels worthwhile. It’s what really draws me to this line of work.”
Following his degree, Tom gained experience working with Teagasc in various biofuel studies in Wexford and Mayo before working as an environmental inspector on a programme to control the discharge of Fats Oils & Grease (FOG) to the public sewer network in Dublin City Council (DCC). This programme, the first of its kind to be implemented in Ireland and the UK, involved carrying out environmental inspections (all to the recommended minimum criteria for environmental inspections (RMCEI) in Food Service Establishments in the Dublin City Council area. In his role as environmental inspector, Tom also increased awareness and compliance with FOG specific Trade Effluent Discharge Licence.
In 2010, Tom was promoted to Senior Environmental Inspector where he was involved in increasing compliance in the main blockage areas in DCC. This position also involved preparing sites for prosecution due to continued pollution. During his time in this role he greatly increased the percentage of licensed Food Service Establishments in DCC, and the level of compliance in these sites, leading to a substantial decrease in blockages.
In 2012, Tom began his current position of Senior Environmental Inspector with Noonan/EES. He assisted in the set up of a new office and the training of new staff. During his first year in the role he established the FOG program in South Dublin County Council achieving 75% of licenced establishments in the first 12 months.“My experience with a similar roll out for the DCC in 2008 really proved beneficial. We learned from that experience how to make the process more streamlined. We ironed out the inefficiencies in the implementation process and in the end it ran extremely smoothly.”
In 2012/2013, in his role as Authorised officer with the Department of Energy, Communications and Natural Resources, Tom oversaw the roll out of pilot program for Energy Regulations and Eco-design Regulations in Electronic stores throughout Ireland. The role involved inspecting on display electronic models and ensuring compliance with Energy labels, Product Fiche and CE marking. More recently he has assisted in a programme of auditing and inspection of Safety Supervisory Bodies, in line with audit requirements set out by the Commission for Energy Regulation.
Reaching New Heights
An enthusiastic hiker, Tom recently reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, after an intensive seven day climb. Though he admits his hiking has fallen a bit by the wayside recently, when you climb Africa’s highest mountain, and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, I think you’ve earned a bit of a rest.