AS a youngster, Isabella Marshall was fascinated by rocks and recalls spending her spare time watching documentaries about formations and volcanoes.

Now a geologist and senior engineer at FWS Consultants, Ms Marshall deals with rocks every day. But the formation she has become most concerned with recently is of the business kind, as she develops the new Scottish branch office for the company.

Already well established with a headquarters in County Durham, FWS expanded to East Kilbride at the beginning of last year. The company provides expert geological and geo-environmental services and advice to clients in the construction industry, assessing land for housing and other developments.

“The testing of ground conditions is an important part of any new development,” she explains. “Planning permission requires site investigations and reports, and we assist clients with every part of that process and address questions from local authorities.

“We also deal with assessments on old mining land, advising on the mitigation measures necessary, conferring with the authorities, and work on international mineral exploration projects in the likes of Columbia, Turkey and Iran. It’s fair to say the work is wide-ranging and extremely interesting.”

Ms Marshall runs the Scottish office, having already grown the team to three, and there are plans afoot for further expansion in the months ahead, bringing on more engineers to deal with the growing volumes of work as FWS looks to establish itself as a key player in the Scottish market.

Indeed, the 31-year-old engineer, a graduate of the University of Glasgow, says she particularly enjoys the business development element of her job.

“It’s really exciting to be part of a company as it grows, though it’s also a challenge. Growing the business means getting out and about all over Scotland and meeting new people which is pretty exciting.

“When you win a contract you’ve put a lot of work into it’s a great feeling. Running the project with the client, seeing it develop, is also really satisfying, as is building the professional relationships that will stand you in good stead.

“Going from pure engineering to business development requires adaptation but I love that aspect of it. You learn as you go and use the experience you gain.”

Ms Marshall says the construction industry in Scotland is thriving, providing a plethora of opportunities for expert consultants such as FWS. But she admits just as in any sector, it can be hard to break into an existing market.

“Establishing your name can be tough,” she explains. “But we think we have a lot to bring. Sometimes bigger companies don’t communicate so well with clients. Because we’re smaller we can ensure the communication is strong at all times.

“We’re seeing the client base grow and next year hope to employ another three or four engineers, and we have close links to the universities here to help us do that.

“We are always looking for people that are invested in the company and take the business development side of things seriously as well as the engineering.”

The company chose Storage Vault Work Space at Peel Park, East Kilbride, as its base and has taken advantage of the flexible accommodation options on offer.

“It’s a modern and pleasant environment to work,” she says. “The nature of our business means we need flexible spaces to store samples and Storage Vault has been really helpful with that.”

As for the advice Ms Marshall would offer other scientists and engineers looking to develop in business, she says developing a dual skillset is important.

“If you have the drive to run and support a new business, that has to become your passion,” she says. “I really relish that side of things – it just so happens that I’m also a geologist.”