The Board started with 3 Founder Members who were also Lochaber Environmental Group Directors – Marian Austin, Susan Carstairs and Christine Easain. As the project has grown further members have joined the board, each bringing their own skills to the project.
The LEG Board came together quickly to take forward the opportunity of acquiring and developing this Hydro Scheme and have moved forward progressively as a team, with each member bringing their enthusiasm and passion for environmental projects, and a range of strengths and skills relevant to a community owned enterprise. These include experience with renewable energy schemes and other environmental projects, community engagement and development, and sustainable development.
In addition to the skills brought by Board members, LEG Power has engaged professional support to assist with the technical, legal and financial aspects of the project.
Marian has spent most of her working life in the ski industry – instructing in various locations around the world and then settling at Nevis Range Mountain Experience during the construction in 1989. She subsequently became Managing Director in 2000. As well as the multiple challenges of running a weather-controlled visitor attraction and snow ski area, she drove forward an environmental agenda including gaining a Green Tourism Gold Award, implementing a carbon reduction plan, reducing waste and installing a wood chip boiler. She left Nevis Range in 2015 to set up a small horticultural business with her husband on a newly acquired croft in Banavie. At the same time, she project managed the construction of a 1.1MW hydro scheme. After several years on the Lochaber Environmental Group Board as secretary she became chair in 2017. Being an outdoors person, she can often be found on a hill, a mountain bike or in a boat when she is not pushing a wheelbarrow around the croft.
Susan worked in the first phase of her life with refugees from Chile before returning to Scotland to live in Lochaber. After a few years at Arisaig Hotel she worked as the project manager for Lochaber Environmental Group from 1999 to 2005 and then at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) working on waste strategy until 2011. She went on to study an MSc in Environmental Sustainability at Edinburgh University. In her own words: “Environmental issues are urgent and we in Lochaber are fortunate in having many ways in which we can bring our resource use closer to one planet living”. Susan is also a is a Director of Lochaber Environmental Group.
Christine is a scientist working on the development of seaweed cultivation in the UK. She previously worked for Lochaber Environmental Group to develop and deliver activities within Lochaber to help people and businesses become more energy efficient, reduce waste and use sustainable transport. Christine is trained as an ecologist and has worked on projects from river restoration to seaweed farming including research on seaweed-based biofuels as a form of renewable energy. Christine has a passion for sustainable development, entrepreneurship and community engagement. Christine is originally from Denmark and has been in Scotland for over 10 years, she has settled on the West Coast of Scotland as she is a keen hillwalker, climber, kayaker and cyclist. Christine is a Director of Lochaber Environmental Group.
Es is director of Highland Passive, a Passivhaus design consultancy based in Fort William. His professional life is spent designing buildings that are radically more comfortable and healthy for occupants while using 90% less energy than typical buildings, so being on the board of LEG power helps address the other side of the energy challenge of getting to zero carbon – increasing supply of low carbon energy. Es is a certified Passivhaus designer and AECB retrofit coordinator. He has a PhD in Sustainable Building Design and an MSc in Architecture; Advanced Energy and Environmental Studies. Es lives in Banavie with his young family and enjoys hill running, cycling, climbing and ski-mountaineering.
Craig is a professional marine biologist with a wealth of experience in sustainable aquaculture and fisheries, and the wider seafood industry. Early career experience in manufacturing industry finance has also enabled him to advise and assist many individuals and companies across the seafood industry with their future investment plans and subsequent implementation. His interest in maximising energy efficiency and adapting and incorporating renewable energy generation in to projects led to the fitting of photovoltaics and solar thermal technologies to his home and to support for local small-scale hydro schemes. When not serving our communities in his roles as a volunteer Coastguard or First Responder (and previously as a retained firefighter), he can be found exploring our great outdoors. His wide range of interests will find him undertaking anything to do with water, such as plumbing the depths diving or reaching new heights mountaineering. He and his family live in Ardnamurchan and have enjoyed the benefits of LEG membership from its foundation.
Jamie has worked in adventure tourism and outdoor education for the best part of fifteen years. Working in fragile mountain environments including the Alps and Canadian Rockies gave him first-hand experience of the impacts of climate change and ignited a passion for sustainability and environmental protection. Jamie is now based in Fort William where he continues to work as a freelance outdoors instructor, whilst studying for an honours degree in Geography at the University of the Highlands and Islands.