We’re getting to know members of the Flood Modeller team! This month, we have spoken with Dr. Beccy Haunton, Technical Support and Training Lead for Flood Modeller. In this interview, Beccy talks about her role at Jacobs, her favourite parts of the job, and her goals as we move the software forward.
Tell us about yourself and what you do at Jacobs?
I initially joined Jacobs in 2017 as a member of the development team for Flood Modeller. One of my first tasks was to make adjustments to the generic rainfall-runoff boundary to include additional US hydrology methods, but in my excitement, I ended up completely changing this unit so that multiple sub-catchments could be defined, alongside multiple rainfall profiles, loss models and transformation methods!
More recently, I haven't been involved in the coding of the software, however, I'm still fortunate enough to be involved in several areas of design and scoping for the development of new features, especially anything to do with hydrology.
I now lead our technical support and training team, and write much of the documentation and 'how to' guidance within our user manual. I love showing others how fantastic Flood Modeller is, and often get the chance to deliver live demos and "Lunch & Learn" sessions, both within Jacobs and for external clients such as the Environment Agency.
How did you start working with Flood Modeller?
My background is in mathematics and following my masters and PhD, I really wanted a role where maths was involved. Obviously this is integral to the solvers within Flood Modeller. Although I was far less experienced in modelling, fortunately this is something I've been able to pick up, benefitting from working alongside some brilliant modellers over the years.
What have been the most notable changes to the Flood Modeller software since your involvement?
I would like to say our technical support procedures are greatly improved and hope anyone getting in touch with the support team feels they receive a top-notch service and very prompt responses.
Our training courses have also been refined several times and we now offer online and in-person courses at both introductory and advanced levels.
My current (and ongoing) goal is to improve our guidance so users can learn about Flood Modeller in their own time - this began with the revamped Getting Started guides and datasets to provide new users an overview of river, surface water and urban drainage modelling in a "try it for yourself" manner.
We're now hoping to spread these improvements to other areas, most recently creating video guidance highlighting the new functionality available in v6.0, including visualisation and editing of urban networks, globally editing riverbed elevation, a new tool to add WMS layers to your map view, and a nifty new feature that allows you to save the summary output at simulation runtime, alongside many others!
If you're not in the office, what would we most likely find you doing?
Handling the chaos caused by my cat, who is half Bengal and half pure evil! I also have been trying to plan my wedding for far too long as Covid restrictions caused the big day to be cancelled...twice!
What do you enjoy most about being part of Jacobs?
It sounds cliché, but it's genuinely getting to work as part of the Flood Modeller team! We work hard, and sometimes deadlines are tight, but have great fun and lots of laughs along the way.
Looking for a role in flood risk management or software development?
Our water catchment management disciplines are keen to hear from you!
Check out the various opportunities online.