We take pride in our people. It’s their passion and hard work that makes our mission of building a sustainable future for Ireland even possible. As we add new people to our team, we want to share their stories and experience, so everyone from our community members to our customers can get to know them.
This past June, Toni Kennedy became one of our resource scientists, joining the team of seaweed experts who navigate the intertidal shores and coastal waters of western Ireland to monitor the health of local seaweed populations. Through the work of people like Toni, we keep a close eye on the Ascophyllum nodosum we process at Arramara, as well as the habitat it provides, to safeguard and preserve this natural resource for generations to come. In short, she’ll be doing the hard daily work of seaweed resource management.
Recently, we had a chance to ask Toni a few questions to get to know her better, so we can share what makes her exceptional.
What is your educational background?
I went to St. Mary’s Secondary School in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Upon finishing secondary school, I completed a PLC in Applied Science and Laboratory Techniques in Limerick College of Further Education in 2016. I then completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), graduating in September 2020.
What do you love about your job?
There are many things I love about my job, but the main thing is that my work is very practical and hands-on, which is very suited to me as a person. I love being outdoors, and therefore it combines work with pleasure.
What made you decide to work for Arramara Teo?
While undergoing my degree and experiencing many aspects of the marine environment, I quickly learned that I was most intrigued about seaweed. Upon finishing college, I wanted to work with seaweed, and Arramara Teo stood out to me as they actively engage in the community and undertake research to gain extensive knowledge of the seaweed resource. Arramara is big on sustainability, and this is very important as they carefully monitor the natural resource while maintaining great relationships with Harvesters, working together to keep the resource healthy.
What do you love about working in the coastal community that you call home?
For me, I love how hospitable and friendly the people are, whether you meet them on the shore or in the shop they’re always so friendly.
What is your first experience or memory with seaweed?
I’m from Tipperary, which is landlocked, so my first experience working with seaweed was actually when I started college at GMIT. Botany was my favourite subject, and I really looked forward to labs each week.
What surprises you the most about your role?
What surprises me most about my role are the tides and the limited amount of time you have on shore to get your sampling done. In theory, six hours seems like plenty of time, but it actually isn’t. Tides and weather change very quickly, and time is precious, so it’s important to be very organized to optimize the time spent on shore. I have learned from experience to carry spare supplies (knives, scales, notepads, etc.) when something is inevitably misplaced.
How do you spend your time outside of work? What is your favourite music, favourite book, or favourite movie?
Outside of work, I spend a lot of my free time hiking or swimming. I enjoy spending time socializing with my family and friends back home in Tipperary. I enjoy reading a good book, my favourite book at the moment is Stories from the Deep: Reflections on a Life Exploring Ireland’s North Atlantic Waters by Ken O’Sullivan. This book is based on the experiences he encountered in the North Atlantic off the coast of Ireland.
Want to learn more about other members of the Arramara team? Visit our employees page to see the incredible people who make our business, community and ecosystem better because of their passion and hard work.