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Our people

Andy Webb

Andy is HiDef’s Managing Director and moved to HiDef after 28 years with JNCC where he developed an advanced knowledge in the design, implementation and statistical analysis of seabird and cetacean surveys in the marine environment.

Andy has played a significant role in the development of aerial and boat-based ornithological survey methods (especially the ESAS programme) and is able to advise his clients based on years of both boat-based and aerial survey experience. Andy edits and contributes to a number of peer-reviewed journals and is considered a World expert in offshore ornithological survey.

Elaine Southward

Elaine is HiDef’s Operations Director, managing aircraft and flight operations, as well as data collection and delivery.

Elaine is HiDef’s Safety Champion and leads HiDef’s quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) delivery, ensuring compliance with our ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 accreditation. In doing this, Elaine is responsible for ensuring continuous business improvement, ensuring that lessons learnt are fed back into the development and improvement of HiDef’s methods of working.

Dr. Ross McGregor

Dr. Ross McGregor joined HiDef in 2016 and is an ornithologist with a background in environmental impact assessment and academic research on endangered species. He specialises in impact prediction from offshore energy projects and the consequences of these on bird populations.

Ross has an in-depth knowledge of Habitats Regulations Assessments including ECJ judgements, national case law and national and EC guidance and is currently an invited expert on two Marine Scotland Project Steering Groups, we well as currently advising a number of offshore wind developers on HRA and impact assessment.

Martin Scott

Martin joined the HiDef team in 2016, and comes from a strong project management background. He has managed projects for many years including being Supervisor of £2.4million European Commission funded Machair LIFE+ project from inception to delivery on a range of dispersed island localities. Martin has project managed numerous ornithology schemes across the UK, both on and offshore. He has considerable experience of overseas work, working in diverse locations from Syria to Canada and was the RSPB’s Conservation Officer for the Outer Hebrides between 2003 and 2011.

Dr. Georg Nehls

Georg is BioConsult SH’s Managing Director and brings over 25 years of marine environmental research expertise to the project team. He obtained his PhD studying eider ducks and mussel populations. In 1998, Georg founded BioConsult SH and since then the company has grown to become one of the leading providers of marine environmental consultancy services to the conservation and development sectors in Germany, Denmark and the UK.

Georg has an excellent understanding of the natural environment, as well as the legal aspects of planning and assessment procedures in the EU in relation to offshore wind energy and marine conservation. As Managing Director of BioConsult SH, Georg annually supervises more than 100 projects relating to onshore and offshore wind farms, with a key focus on birds and marine mammals.

Dr. Grant Humphries

Dr. Grant Humphries joined HiDef in early 2018 as an ecological modeller, and is a marine ornithologist with a background in machine learning, non-parametric statistics and spatial ecology. Grant has been working with seabirds since 2006, but has experience in a number of fields focusing on ways of implementing cutting edge machine learning techniques to complex ecological datasets.

Grant has worked on several at-sea and terrestrial survey schemes ranging from dragonflies to marine mammals, and has a thorough knowledge of numerous census techniques used to monitor populations. He is also a skilled web programmer, using both the R and Python programming languages to create dynamic decision support tools that integrate complex modelling algorithms and output for stakeholder engagement.

Catherine Irwin

Catherine has a background in geography and spatial analysis, having completed an undergraduate degree in geography at the University of Glasgow in 2014.

Catherine manages the delivery of a number of HiDef’s high-profile projects, including those for the renewable and conservation sectors. Since joining HiDef in the summer of 2014, Catherine has rapidly established herself abilities as a talented environmental scientist, authoring a number of survey and analysis reports, as well contributing to peer-reviewed studies and papers.

Catherine is a keen Scout and Guide, gaining the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award through scouting, as well as having been awarded the Queen’s Scout Award and the Queen’s Guide Award.

Lynn Williams

Lynn joined HiDef as a reviewer in 2009, before moving to her current role in administration and finance in 2014. Lynn is Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualified and has a background in Local Authority finance, where she worked for 15 years, before leaving to start a family in 2003.

Lynn’s role within the team includes the day-to-day business administration, purchase ledger and budget monitoring.

Billy Southward

Billy’s role within HiDef on a day to day basis is to assist the project manager and data manager in their day to day tasks, over the course of the past year Billy has periodically performed each task that needs to be done throughout a project under supervision of the project manager or data manager respectively. By doing this Billy now has a good understanding of the procedures and processes the organisation has in place to deliver successful projects, following this Billy will now begin to be the lead on projects.

Over the course of the past year Billy has also began an NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Project Management alongside a City and Guilds Level 3 IT qualification. In this time Billy has passed his NVQ Level 4 exam and completed his IT assignments with an average score of 91%. On top of those two qualifications Billy also undertook a 6-week electrical course in which he learned skills such as basic wiring and testing as well as soldering.

Sam Barnes

Sam is HiDef's latest recuit, and handles engineering and IT within the HiDef team. He is responsible for the upkeep and development of the sensors and rig setup, planning and sending out survey flights, making weather calls and diagnosing any issues that may arise. He also looks after the IT hardware used across HiDef, including servers and workstations, the telephone systems and network.

Sam has an extensive background knowledge of UAS technologies, a Masters in Drone Technology and ran a company that specialised in their commercial use in photogrammetry, inspection and other scientific work. He also brings CAD and graphic design skills ranging across the last decade.