A formal Naval officer working to keep roads across the Midlands clear has spoken about swapping the sea for Spaghetti Junction.
Kerry Farrell works as a Network Operations Director for National Highways at their regional operations centre.
The role sees her monitor the weather in order to ensure traffic keeps moving on key routes.
Kerry, who joined National Highways in 2019, said the role had helped her navigate life off the ocean waves: “I love the challenge of incident management in my current job it’s so incredibly varied and every day can be different and pose different challenges.
“When I left the Royal Navy, I wanted another role in operations and working for National Highways in the regional operations centre provided an opportunity for me to draw on my experience in meteorology while also helping to train colleagues around planning for winter weather.”
After graduating with a degree in Global Hazards – a course which combined geology and geography – Kerry served as a regular in the Royal Navy for ten years from 2009.
After serving at Naval air stations and on deployments on destroyers and mine hunters in the Middle East, Kerry achieved her commission in 2013, passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College as a Warfare Officer.
She said her time at sea had helped her to pursue her interest in meteorology.
“I was attracted to the Royal Navy because they were the only uniformed military service to have an embedded weather forecaster working with them.
“I really enjoyed my role as a Warfare Officer because it provided a mixture of challenges and I used to manage maritime operations and incident management at sea.
“I was also working as a weather forecaster, so I was able to use detailed information to help plan operations and make sure everything was planned down to the finest detail.
“It gave me some fantastic experience in leadership and operations, built my confidence hugely and travelling the world to see places you never ordinarily may visit on a holiday.
“My most interesting deployment was a global trip, sailing through the Panama Canal out to Hawaii, where I was fortunate to be involved in a Remembrance ceremony at the USS Arizona wreckage for those lost at Pearl Harbour.”
After switching to a new role on dry land away from the Royal Navy, Kerry said she had still be able to put her knowledge to good use, helping plan transport routes for the Commonwealth Games as well as ensuring winter weather doesn’t bring roads in the Midlands to a standstill.
“Good communication skills are critical to my role at National Highways because we need to make sure that everyone is talking to one another. Whether it’s partners in the emergency services, other colleagues in regional control centres or even Government.
“Planning is also an important aspect of my role as I have the overall strategic picture of the network,” she said. “That means making sure we know what is happening 24/7 with traffic flows and for instance when we expect major events to impact on the motorway or major A-road network, it’s important to start planning for these early on so that we can keep everyone moving.”