It’s time to shine a spotlight on our talented team once more, and today it’s on Mel, one of our five Technicians, who are out on the road managing our industry-leading Lobster Pot time lapse monitoring cameras for our clients.
As a Technician at Lobster, Mel gets out there and makes it all happen by installing and maintaining our Lobster Pots on-site effectively and safely, wherever our clients need them.
Mel just loves the variety of this hands-on role and the challenges it offers from the sheer physicality required to holding her own in a traditionally male-dominated industry and staying ahead in a job where no two days are the same.
We caught up with Mel to learn more about why she feels she’s won the job lottery and how she ensures that our Lobster pots are installed to the highest standards.
How long have you worked for Lobster Pictures?
I’ve been working at Lobster Pictures for almost three years now starting as a Junior Technician and now being promoted to a Technician. I still feel like I’ve won the job lottery!
What did you do before this role?
I’ve got dual Canadian/UK nationality, and after completing my photography degree at the University of Plymouth, I worked in the oil field industry as a service technician back in Canada. On moving to Bristol, I was attracted to the role at Lobster because of my on-site technical experience. My background in photography is a nice bonus too in a company specialising in time lapse.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There is no typical day. It’s so varied. On any given day, we could be working anywhere in the UK or Europe – in fact I may be working on a project in Italy soon.
As a Technician, I install and conduct routine maintenance on our Lobster Pots. Led by Dennis, our Operations Manager, there are five technicians here, and two of us always go out together for safety. (You can get to know Senior Technician, Marcus better here). The work includes checking and building cameras, creating mounts, cleaning the workshop, and generally helping Kelly and the Operational Team as required.
Let’s take a recent day as an example. We travelled up to Newcastle to install a new camera, leaving at 5am and getting back to Bristol at 5pm. We completed an induction with the on-site contacts and then we got straight on with installing a new camera twenty metres high. As Technicians, we liaise with the team back at the office too, who can view and test our Lobster pots remotely and assess what maintenance and adjustments are necessary.
Have you got a favourite project?
I love seeing the landscape change from grassy fields on day zero to skyscrapers shooting up or the interior of buildings transform. One of my favourite projects is the new footbridge at Tintagel Castle for English Heritage.
One particular highlight for me was when, by coincidence, while working on another project, I saw the QE2 leaving the dockyard. It was a special moment to be a witness to history in the making.
What’s the best part of the job?
Undoubtedly, the best part of the job is the team at Lobster. It feels like a family rather than a group of co-workers. They are the best people to work alongside. I feel both mentally and physically supported, especially recently as I’ve been on maternity leave and then welcomed back with the flexibility of working three days a week.
What’s the toughest part?
It is a challenge every day. But to be honest, that’s what I love about the job!
The role is certainly physically tough. I need to be able to move 25 kg slabs as ballasts for the cameras. I also like the challenge of proving myself in what is still a male-dominated industry. It can be quite a novelty to see women on-site – you need to have the physicality, the personality – but I’ve had people tell me that I’m an inspiration to their daughters.
What do you like doing out of work?
With a one-and-a-half-year-old to look after, I don’t have much time for myself! I would love to join a sports team, either cricket or ice hockey, but at the moment, there’s just not enough time. Get back to me on this!
What would you recommend to someone wanting to do the job?
I love the job and would 100% recommend it. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted or anyone scared of heights!
It is also essential to keep up with training and safety legislation to work effectively on construction sites. For instance, we need an ECS card, IPAF training to drive a cherry picker and PASMA training, for working at heights. Currently, I’m also working on obtaining my Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) card.
How can our team help you too?
If you're interested in hearing more about how our time lapse cameras could add value to your next project, do get in touch.