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Who got the job?

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Eva Risbridger, head of street scene, Richmond upon Thames LBC.

Describe your main responsibilities

I head the waste, recycling and street cleansing services and all the associated facilities, including a materials recycling facility and a civic amenity site (what we used to know as a council tip though it’s much more than that these days). I oversee a£12m budget and over 200 staff.

What attracted you to the role?

The challenge. I was initially doing the job on an interim basis and it was fascinating to take over a new area just one working day before the council made a major service change. In November last year we changed to zonal waste and recycling collections and added two new recycling commodities. Waste management is a new area for me, having had a previous career in ecology and then in parks management so it has been a steep learning curve, but I am enjoying it immensely.

Why do you think you got the job?

I had demonstrated I was adaptable and able to use my skills in a new area while motivating a new team to get things done. I can think on my feet and that has been invaluable.

What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?

Enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t like something, change it!

What would your department mascot be?

A fox is an urban survivor, adaptable and quick-witted. They’re also determined to get food waste out of bins!

What keeps you awake at night?

Not much I sleep like a log, but sometimes wake early thinking about an issue or two.

What three words would your colleagues use to describe you?

Focused, resilient and positive.

What maxim do you use to see you through the tough times?

At least it’s not boring a favourite saying of my dad.

Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?

My father, my maternal grandmother (both dead but good value), Ghandi, Archbishop Tutu, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

What have you learnt recently that would be useful to others?

There is no one right answer. Consider everything, even the ludicrous! In particular there’s an awful lot more to waste management than you’d believe. Spare a thought next time you bin or recycle something.

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