Working at Cawthron with Marc

Marc, Technical Operations Team Leader of the Blue Technology Group at Cawthron Institute, says that having a clear and defined purpose is a really important part of the reason that he enjoys his work. “It gives me a buzz to know that we’re doing the right thing for both the environment and industry, and to know that I help enable that – my work helps our scientists and technicians succeed, and that in turn helps our marine industries and environment,” Marc says. He describes a general day in the life of a technician at Cawthron as being varied, with minimal tiresome repetition.

I could be on a boat at the entrance of Bluff harbour, retrieving moorings and instruments from the entrance of the harbour. The next day I could be in the office, in the workshop, fixing a whole heap of equipment frames and sampling devices. The following day I could be in Golden Bay sampling around the mussel farms – there’s a whole heap of variety.”

We’ve got a few big projects on at the moment, in particular working alongside the aquaculture industry. It will be great to see them progress, and as a result have Cawthron do better. I suppose that’s the goal. I think Cawthron is onto a real winner there and I’d like to help them with that.”

While Marc says he has come a long way from the 13-year-old who was obsessed with trout and determined to work with them when he was older, remarkably, he didn’t stray far from that dream.

Originally Marc thought he was destined for university, but during his schooling at Garin College he got involved in a careers programme that creates pathways into industry jobs and chose a different route. He took the opportunity to gain work experience at Nelson Marlborough Fish and Game while being mentored by a Senior Fish and Game Officer, and yes, he got to work with trout!

Following a period of contracting work for various consultancies in Nelson Tasman, Cawthron Institute took a bit of a stab in the dark, taking Marc on as a Junior Freshwater Technician, once again working with trout. Eventually, the work with trout transitioned into other projects. Marc thinks that change was probably timely, allowing him to move onwards and upwards and take on some of the exciting new challenges that a growing Cawthron Institute had to offer.

As far as backgrounds go, Marc acknowledges that he’s a bit of an odd one out at Cawthron, not having a tertiary qualification. However, in his experience, a tertiary degree is not a ‘must have’ at all.

I put my success down to a few key things: I worked hard, I was willing to learn, and I took opportunities that were offered to me,” he says. “I was also fortunate to work with people who were willing to mentor and teach me, and with companies that recognised my effort and were willing to invest in me.” Marc says there are plenty of benefits to going away to study, but either way, the ultimate factor in your success will be your work ethic.

“My advice is that if you can apply yourself and put the work in, you’ll probably have the success you want.”