Trials Team Biographies

All Trials Staff have undertaken the FAST School of Fruit courses in bush, soft, stone and top fruit. They also regularly attend relevant training sessions, seminars and conferences plus contribute to the FAST annual conferences.

Abi Dalton FdSc – Trials Manager
Abi joined FAST LLP in 2014 and is responsible for the overall and day to day management of the Trials Department and site. She completed an FdSc in Sustainable Land Management and has an HD in Administration and Secretarial Procedures. Abi worked at East Malling Research for 7 years, latterly as a Senior Scientific Assistant, and contributed to a range of irrigation and nutrition projects. She has over 9 years’ horticultural and agricultural research experience plus over 13 years’ management experience in health and legal environments. She holds a PA1 and PA6 certificate. Abi regularly speaks at conferences including FAST and AHDB plus contributes to publications including AHDB and The Fruit Grower.

Rob Cook – Site Supervisor
Rob started work at FAST in 2004 and has overall practical responsibility for the trials’ site. He provides comprehensive technical and mathematical support to the team. Rob has an HND in Commercial Horticulture and a BSc (Hons) in Computerised Accountancy. He is BASIS qualified and an experienced soft fruit advisor. Rob has over 13 years’ horticultural experience including 6 within trials and 1 as acting Trials Manager plus 3 years’ management experience in customer service. He holds a PA1 and PA6 certificate and is the spraying supervisor for trials and routine treatments. Rob regularly speaks at FAST conferences and teaches at the FAST School of Fruit.

Katie Brunt – Trials & Assessments Assistant
Katie Brunt has worked at FAST since 2013, commencing as a summer casual and progressing to her current position. She is responsible for the organisation and preparation of trials assessments including pest, disease, maturity, quality and storage. She also provides comprehensive administrative support to Abi and the team. Katie has studied to A level and holds GNVQs in ICT and Business Administration. She has 4 years’ horticultural experience within trials and over 9 years’ in assistant roles including within retail and facilities management. Katie holds a PA1 and PA6 certificate and is a very experienced spray operative. She speaks at FAST conferences.

Katie Hunt – Trials Assistant
Katie Hunt joined the team in 2015 and is an effective team member. She is responsible for undertaking trials assessments, assisting Rob with trials site practical operations and efficient data management. She is skilled in irrigation and other operations. She also provides comprehensive administrative and applied support to the team. Katie completed an RHS Certificate in Horticulture and has a National Diploma in Countryside Management. She has 3 years’ horticultural experience plus over 3 years’ in assistant roles including within customer service and surveying. Katie holds a PA1 and PA6 certificate and is an experienced spray operative.