Remembering a Key Figure in UK Geosynthetics

2023/01/03 | Industry News

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The whole of the global geosynthetics community echo the sentiments below from BTTG following the sad loss of Clarissa Austin, a leading light in UK geosynthetics and particularly the field of material testing:

It is with great sadness we write this notice and regretfully inform you, following a hard fought battle with cancer, Clarissa Austin passed away on the 3rd January 2023.

Clarissa is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren; our deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time.

Clarissa joined the Shirley Institute as a Laboratory Assistant fresh from school in 1969. During her time with the business she has both seen, and been responsible for, the implementation of significant change. From being part of the service department investigating faults and dealing with producers, Clarissa’s interest in geosynthetics developed and she quickly went on to help set up the geosynthetics department, which became a major part of the business.

In 1986 Clarissa was part of the team which set up the NATLAS (now UKAS) accreditation scheme, and in 2006, Clarissa was the first female appointed to the BTTG Board of Directors, becoming a shareholder in 2010 following a management buyout.

A committed and long-serving employee, with over half a century dedicated to her role in the industry, there are many highlights and accolades during her career.

Clarissa is well known and respected within the global standardisation and testing community, and recognised for both her valuable contributions and leadership of the development of test methods for geosynthetics. This includes her roles on British, European, and International committees such as BSI B/553 Geosynthetics, CEN TC 189 Geosynthetics and ISO TC 221 Geosynthetics. Clarissa worked on various Environment Agency groups developing their landfill guidance in the 1990s and 2000s and was also a member of IGS (International Geosynthetics Society).

In 2018 the BTTG® geosynthetic laboratories were renamed the “Austin Building” to recognise Clarissa’s achievements and long service.

Until recently, international travel played a large part in her career – seeing Clarissa travel to 35 different countries including China, Brazil and USA – and helped her cement valuable relationships with industry leaders across the globe. More recently, Clarissa reduced her hours but continued to provide invaluable assistance in both the PPE Customer Service team and the Quality team.

Clarissa Austin was a force to be reckoned with, a straight-talking woman who, “will call a spade a spade” and brought an immense amount of energy to everything she did. Her hard work, dedication and determination earned her great respect in both our Company and within the industry she served.

Clarissa will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

Rest in peace.

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