IMarEST Fellow Gus Jeans brings his expertise and passion for metocean, science, knowledge exchange and climate action to one of the fastest growing global industries – offshore wind.
Tell us about your early career
Following an MSc and PhD in Physical Oceanography at the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, Wales, I moved into the metocean industry.
I chose a very interesting PhD topic with clear industry applications. I have since worked on many related projects, establishing one of several niche areas of expertise.
I worked with Fugro for 15 years, gaining key skills and learning that a proven ability to deliver effective solutions to engineering clients is critical.
What is your current role?
Nearly ten years ago, I took the plunge and set up my own consultancy company, Oceanalysis Ltd.
I am the only employee, so administration is simple and shareholder alignment perfect! But this brings challenges too, with fluctuations in workload and difficulty getting away from it all.
But these are outweighed by many benefits. Years of working from home made it easier to adapt to the pandemic, which has accelerated trends for increased flexibility in the professional workplace.
COVID-19 has also accelerated the energy transition. Most of my work is now for offshore wind energy, one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
Tell us about your own transition to offshore renewables
It was a long-term aspiration, accelerated when some key oil and gas clients increased activity in offshore wind energy. I was already experienced with some types of offshore wind analysis.
In 2017, I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, starting a new collaborative industry research project, Extreme and Normal Offshore Wind (ENOW).
Long before that, my transition was strongly supported by activity in IMarEST Special Interest Groups (SIGs), involving publication of the Metocean Procedures Guide.
You’re very involved with the IMarEST…
I do a lot of voluntary work for the SIGs on Operational Oceanography (OOSIG) – which I co-chair with Ralph Rayner – and Offshore Renewables (ORSIG). I recently gave a webinar on Knowledge Exchange Between Offshore Wind Resource and Metocean, then initiated a group to continue discussion between these technical disciplines.
An immediate priority is planning the Oceans of Knowledge conference on climate change and the ocean. This is very high-profile event leading directly into COP26.
Advice for those starting out or progressing their careers?
The energy transition means there are going to be plenty of opportunities in renewables.
Anyone intending to work in industry needs to understand what is required. A strong delivery focus can be critical, but not always recognised by graduates with excellent academic qualifications.
IMarEST membership is free to students. The institute and SIGs are working hard to offer early careers support, including a range of role model case studies.
Who do you most admire?
Ralph Rayner, who co-chairs OOSIG, has been an inspiration since I first worked with him in 1997. There are many other colleagues I admire professionally – too many to mention here.
David Attenborough has recently played a key role in raising awareness of the urgent need for climate action.
What’s next for you?
I will be speaking in the UN Ocean Decade session at the IMarEST Annual Conference. The next ten years are critical for climate action and the ocean science community plays a key role.
Many of the initiatives outlined above have only just begun. My professional activities are now largely focussed on climate action, through support for the energy transition.
How optimistic are you about COP26?
It gives me real hope to see an increasing number of world leaders clearly listening to the science and beginning to take the necessary action.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to change things for the better and accelerate the progress already made into binding agreements to tackle climate change in a more meaningful way.
However, the challenges are monumental, and change will not be easy. I believe we must realise this while remaining optimistic, doing whatever we can to help.
Gus Jeans MSc PhD CSci CMarSci FIMarEST is Director, Oceanalysis Ltd.