Andy led the Lanes emergency team, working on behalf of Thames Water, that first responded to the discovery of the Islington concreteberg.
Chris’s verdict on Lanes: good money and never a dull day
Chris Wood had been working as a plumber when the loss of a contract caused his income to plummet. So, he joined Lanes as a wastewater engineer and has not looked back.
Over seven years, he rose to be a field manager but missed the day-to-day practical challenge of maintaining sewers so much that he has now returned to working as an HGV driver.
Now, he is the main driver of the UK’s only all-terrain jet vac tanker – a 32-tonne eight-wheel monster truck that allows Lanes head out across country to clean and unblock remote sewers and culverts.
Chris is based at Kidlington, near Oxford, and is part of the Lanes utilities team that maintains wastewater network services for Thames Water, the UK’s largest water company.
He said: “Working as an HGV driver for Lanes has been very fulfilling for me, whether on standard jet vac tankers or the specialist 8x8 all-terrain vehicle I currently operate.
“The money is good, and there is overtime available if you are willing to get stuck in, but what I really like about it is that every day is different.
“At the start of the shift you get your job, and you don’t know if it’s going to be a simple blockage clearance that will be over in a day or less, or something else that will take days to sort, working with a big team of colleagues.
“It keeps you on your toes and keeps things interesting. You get a lot of personal responsibility, but you are well supported and looked after.
“For example, I have never worked for a company where health and safety, and the wellbeing of individual employees, is such a priority. It’s very impressive.”
Chris had thought, when he joined Lanes, that it would be a temporary measure, to tide him over before he got back to being a plumber.
That was in 2012, and he is still working for Lanes, and very happy. In fact, he controls a go-anywhere vehicle, and has proved that, with Lanes, you can have a go-anywhere career.
He added: “I got the chance to progress my career, supported by good training, and I took the opportunities that came along.
“But when I decided I missed being ‘on the tools’ my feelings were respected and I could move back into driving and operating the best specialist drainage kit in the UK – doing a job that helps thousands of people. What’s not to like?”