Our People – Linda O'Hea
The Marine Institute celebrates the diversity of its people. In the video animations and Q&A profile, our people share their study and career paths, the work they do at the Marine Institute and the important contribution their work delivers.
Section Manager, Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services,
What is your current role at the Marine Institute and what's involved in your daily work?
As Section Manager and Data Collection Framework (DCF) National Programme Coordinator my responsibilities involve management of the DCF programme and day to day management of the sampling and data management Teams in Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services. This work is carried out in order to ensure delivery of Ireland's obligations under the Data Collection Multi Annual Programme, (funded under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) and to ensure service delivery to our main client the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Prior to taking on this role in August 2021, I worked as a Senior Laboratory Analyst in the Marine Chemistry Section of the Marine Environment and Food Safety Services area. My responsibilities included the operational management of the chemistry laboratories, technical management of the quality system within the chemistry section, management of a number of laboratory staff, as well as oversight of the inorganics laboratory which is used for the testing of a range of metals for food safety and environmental monitoring. This work supports the health and quality of our seafood, as well as our oceans.
What did you study and why?
I started an Applied Science course in Dublin Institute of Technology, with the intention of specialising in Biology. During my first year I took an interest in chemistry (having not previously studied it in school) and in my second year I specialised in Analytical Chemistry, obtaining a first class honours degree in Analytical Chemistry.
I was introduced to the Marine Institute, when its headquarters were located in Dublin, as a student on the summer Bursary Programme. I now have over 22 years of experience in several roles, from Laboratory Analyst to Section Manager. After my bursary placement, I worked for a short time as a Laboratory Analyst, and moved to a studentship position to complete a Masters by Research in the Marine chemistry section. For three years, I balanced working as a Laboratory Analyst in the area of metals with my Masters by Research.
From 2003 until August 2021 when I began my current role as Section Manager in FEAS, I worked as a Senior Laboratory Analyst within the chemistry section, which involved coordination of testing, reporting, health and safety, procurement and people management. The Marine Institute encourages all of its employees to invest time in their personal and professional development.
What are you interests and passions?
Our location in Oranmore, means that we are very fortunate to have the coastline on our doorstep and can go outside for lunchtime walks, which is also really important for our physical and mental wellbeing. I enjoy the impressive views from the Marine Institute's building on the west coast and the amazing sunsets in winter. Living inland from the sea in east Galway, gives me a great balance and I spend my spare time getting involved in the local community, volunteering in both the local GAA and athletics clubs.
What is the best thing about working in the Marine Institute? What do you enjoy most about your job?
After 22 years working in the Marine Institute, I believe the best thing about working here is the people. I have made a lot of great friends during my time here. The support and opportunities for training and professional development also make it a great place to work. Being from Dublin originally, moving west was a big decision, but it was one I was happy to make, as I love my job and couldn't imagine working anywhere else.
What is something you think everyone should know about the ocean?
The ocean provides so much for so many - from seafood to leisure to employment. It is important that we work together to protect it. We are very fortunate to have a workplace beside the sea; we get to enjoy its benefits while also working to protect it.