Nick Balmer originally came from Rutland, with the banks and meadows along the River Welland as his playground, and grew up with a love of rivers and wildlife. As a teenager he wanted to become a farmer or forester.
Rutland Water had just started construction, and Nick was deeply upset at the huge damage occurring to the local landscape & community becoming a schoolboy eco campaigner long before it became fashionable. By some quirks of fortune within a couple of years he had secured a job with the Welland & Nene River Authority (a forerunner of the Environmental Agency) and was then sent to take part in the construction of the reservoir. For five years he gained a great deal of practical experience in delivering projects on the ground building the project.
Once Rutland Water was completed, Nick became frustrated by his inability to achieve results within the constraints of the River Authority, where bureaucracy trumped every effort at improving the environment.
Nick left the UK travelling and working his way overland via Iran, India, Southeast Asia to Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand he worked for a year for the NZ Forestry Service. Later, he worked in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia designing and building landscape gardens and irrigation projects for palaces, hotels, offices and international airports.
Returning to the UK in 1984 to get married, Nick had to take the first job that he could get. Chance ordained that this would be in Letchworth, and their first married home was secured in Baldock.
Recently retired, Nick has spent the past three decades as an estimator, project planner, bid manager and sector leader for several of the larger UK construction contractors including Volker Fitzpatrick, BAM Nuttall & Kier.
In his career he has been very lucky that many of his bosses encouraged him to develop environmental solutions. Projects that Nick has worked on have ranged from nuclear decommissioning, through airfields, motorways, roads, to the remediation of many contaminated former industrial sites. Nick has led the development of several types of renewable power projects. His favourite projects have always been those involving rivers and coastal sites.
In Nicks private life, he loves historical research, which he combines with local landscape archaeology. He is currently working on three major projects in former East India Company settlements, as well as a project on the Holocene geography of the Ivel, Ouse Catchment, and the Icknield Way.
Walking and wildlife has always played an important part in Nicks life. It gives him an ability to take the long view of landscapes. Nick has become very concerned in recent decades at the appalling way we treat our land & rivers. Seeing the River Ivel becoming more and more damaged, he was very pleased to find that he was not on his own in this concern, so was attracted to join Revivel.
Baldock has been very good to Nick and his family, and he would like to be able to give something back. Having spent most of his career improving other people’s communities, it is great to be able to bring to his skills and previous experience to bear in helping to bring solutions to some of Baldock’s most pressing issues.