Soon after I qualified from the University of the Witwatersrand with a B.Sc Town and Regional Planning and a short two years working as a town planner, I managed a game lodge in the Tuli Block of Botswana. Tuli is one of the few remaining private areas of land where there are still free roaming elephants. After a year in the Tuli wilderness, I had a short spell in an engineering consultancy in Johannesburg, then helped out on a game and cattle farm in Zimbabwe. From there, I returned to the Tuli Block in eastern Botswana for a year to manage a game lodge in the Mashatu Game Reserve.
When I returned to South Africa, I settled back into town and regional planning work with the Johannesburg City Council for a period of almost 10 years. Much of my work focused on policies and guidelines for protecting the environment, in particular the rivers and ridges of Johannesburg. Many of these policies are still being used today to manage development in terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations.
At the time of the birth of Seaton Thomson & Associates in 1995, issues pertaining to environmental impact and management were becoming significant concerns. As such, with my combined experience in development and planning, as well as the environment, I was well placed to undertake environmental impact studies. When laws were finally promulgated that compelled developers to undertake EIAs, I became fully involved with and committed to EIAs as a full time profession. Over the last 18 years I have been involved in EIA work for a diversity of new developments, including game lodges, residential golf course estates, various types of infrastructure and roads, industrial, commercial and residential areas.
These projects have taken me all over the country, from Gauteng to the top of Kruger National Park, to Cape Town and the KwaZulu Natal Drakensberg and across the continent to Egypt. As Seaton Thomson and Associates approaches its second decade of life, it is my hope that we continue to uphold our vision, our dreams and our very personalised, professional service.
"Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal and transformation in our lives."
Mary Ann Brussat