Emma Wood joins Simon Odell’s team

Emma Wood joins Landscape Institute
New team takes shape in technical and professional services department

A new Technical and Professional Services team has been set up at the LI.

Wood has responsibility for dealing with groups – with branches, registered practices, the College of Fellows and the Friends of the Archive. ‘We will be enhancing the support that we can provide,’ she said.

The intention is to help them find better ways of working or to help one branch, for example, learn from the experience of others. For example, she found that members of the London branch find it difficult to get their employers to allow them to leave early during the working day to attend LI events.  She is convinced of the importance of such events. ‘The networking that happens is amazing,‘ she says.

Another role will be organising a second series of the highly popular GLVIA masterclasses. ‘We have done a membership mapping,’ she said, ‘which surprised us, and as a result we have changed our views on where they should take place.’

Originally trained as a behavioural scientist, Wood has worked for institutions including the RICS and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. At the former she had a variety of roles, including running a series of outward facing forums.

Wood joins Jim Riches, IT manager and technical support officer under the direction of Simon Odell, who himself joined the LI in February, heading up the new department.

Odell is a landscape architect with broad experience stretching over more than 30 years. He describes himself as a jack of all trades, having worked in design, management, planning and also other areas such as managing a team of ecologists.

From 1986 to 2013 he worked for Hertfordshire County Council in roles including head of landscape and head of the biological records centre. After leaving Hertfordshire, he set up and ran his own consultancy. ‘I have had experience of a whole range of issues,’ he says.

A longstanding member of the Landscape Institute, Odell found the idea of working for it irresistible. ‘The Landscape Institute has more than 6,000 members, and only one currently has the opportunity to work for it,’ he says.

Since joining the LI, Odell has helped to produce a first draft of the forthcoming water position statement, worked widely with the technical committee and is currently investigating issues including fracking.

For the future, Odell is keen to get involved with more position papers and also to become involved in reforming procurement. ‘We are trying to reduce the procurement hurdles,’ he says. ‘The amount of professional indemnity insurance that the public sector typically requires is £5 million.’ Having worked in both a client role and a provider role, Odell feels well placed to enter the debate.

If this can be resolved, then it should also help address another of Odell’s areas of interest. ‘I am keen to help smaller practices to get and do work so that they can grow,’ he says.

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