AOC was founded in 1991 in Edinburgh. The Inverness office was opened in 2014 by Mary Peteranna and has 8 staff, with over 120 in the Group based centrally in Edinburgh with offices in London, York and the new Leeds office
Inverness Chamber spoke to Mary Peteranna, operations manager who started up the Inverness office for AOC after working in the Highlands as a self-employed archaeologist and as part of Ross & Cromarty Archaeological Services 8 years. She is responsible for 7 staff working across fieldwork, survey and consultancy sectors and her primary duties alongside project work include business planning, client relationships and financial management.
ICC asked Mary why she would like AOC to feature as member of the week: “We’ve been part of the local supply chain for 6 years now, employing 8 local staff and utilising local suppliers, but there are still significant businesses in the Inverness area that don’t know about us. But equally we also want local communities to know about us – and feel comfortable to contact us for any advice on heritage – whether research-based queries, or as contacts for community or schools outreach/.”
Mary told us more about the services she would like highlight: “I think one of the most important services we can provide comes with community outreach/engagement as part of the commercial sector. Archaeology and heritage are one the most important aspects of any community and we know how important it is to inform people about the results of our work in their area. By working with our clients to engage local interest, we can help immensely to create a positive benefit from a new development or as part of a new project. We are always willing and keen to engage with local schools and community groups to present on any number of heritage related topics or recent discoveries. Archaeology and heritage belongs to communities and we are aware of our responsibility in safeguarding this.”
Mary shared the new ways AOC will look to showcase heritage: “AOC is at the forefront of innovation in UK archaeology and we are certainly looking at new ways to present heritage to the public. In particular, within this ever-changing world, we are developing a number of digital recording, data storage, illustration and outreach practices to ensure quicker delivery of results to clients, improve staff efficiency on site, and ultimately to present our findings. This includes increased use of digital modelling of sites and artefacts and use of online platforms, as well as working with local heritage facilities to improve access to information, exhibits, research.”
ICC asked Mary about their business plans for the next 12 months: “In Inverness, we’re hoping to expand our office to include the ability to process material from our fieldwork within our local facilities – meaning improved turnaround on analysis of archaeological assemblages and therefore quicker results to help us interpret the discoveries we make on sites across the Highlands and Islands.”
Mary shared with ICC what she values most about their Inverness Chamber membership: “I value the opportunities to meet new professionals and members of the Inverness community. These relationships have greatly improved my understanding of the business community and local supply chain, and helped us to connect more closely with a wider client base across the area – also adding more satisfaction and enjoyment to running a business.”
Mary provided her top-tip for other chamber members to maximise their chamber membership: “Attend events – be willing to talk to anyone, even if you think their business is unrelated to your sector of work. Personal connections between businesses in the Highland area are so important – and part of what, to me, makes working and living in the Highlands so meaningful.”