Paul Southall

History, 1993

“To say that my time at Bangor University left an indelible mark on me is an understatement to say the least. I was the first member of my family to go to university and after visiting Bangor for my interview way back in 1990, I was certain that it was the place for me.

I studied History (with a bit of archaeology thrown in for good measure) and some 23 years later I have made North Wales my home, living on Anglesey with my wife Sarah (whom I met at Bangor) and my 2 boys.

I work as an Environmental Advisor and national specialist lead within the National Trust, based at Penrhyn Castle. This is both challenging and hugely rewarding.  As a charity with one of the largest membership bases in Europe, promotion and sharing are our Raison d'être. Not only do our visitors and membership now expect us to be ‘doing the right thing’ but also that sharing is key to everyone dealing with the global sustainability threat we live under. Almost on a daily basis we share as we learn - the good and not so good. 

In recent years I have been working on the delivery of over 40 renewable energy projects across the National Trust as part of the charities Renewable Energy Investment Programme. The first of which I project managed was the integration of the UK’s largest marine based heat pump system at Plas Newydd on Anglesey.

During this period I renewed my links with Bangor University more directly, and particularly the School of Ocean Sciences, who were key providers of information, data and advice on the Menai Strait and Anglesey coastline. Along with my colleague Keith Jones (another Bangor University alumnus) I continue to work on a regular basis with the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography; carrying out workshops, tours and presenting.

Under the banner “Fit for the Future Network”, which I co-founded; we embarked in November 2013 on a radical move to lower UK organisations environmental impacts and to empower others through enabling and sharing. The vision is to ensure all charitable, community and environmental organisations are actively sharing best practice and collaborating in order that we do not keep reinventing the wheel. www.fftf.org.uk. The network includes over 80 membership organisations  such as The Crown Estate, English Heritage and Cadw.

The message that this creates is very powerful indeed. I believe that a single enthusiastic and committed person can make a huge difference, and hope that by showing what can be done – both with a technical and practical hat on – I make my own enthusiasm infectious to others.

This I firmly believe is based on the support and encouragement I received whilst at UCNW Bangor as it was then. Basically don’t be afraid to have a go, and make sure you are having fun doing it!”