What does your day typically consist of?
Ideally my day starts with a ride into work, even better a ride in to work on a tandem bike with my wife, Nancy, who also works for Natural Power. My first task is usually reviewing the 50-100 emails generated by various IT systems overnight and following up on anything which needs some attention. Once that’s out the way my day will involve a whole mixture of tasks such as responding to staff queries, meeting key suppliers and working with other people in the business support team so that we can meet the needs of the business.
As well as IT, I’m also responsible for the Geographical Information System (GIS) and business solutions team, and I will typically spend some time with the managers of these areas, ensure their teams are happy and things are functioning smoothly.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’m lucky enough to have three great teams to help me deliver IT, business solutions and GIS services to Natural Power. Providing leadership for these teams can be a challenge, but it is very satisfying when we are able to meet, and sometimes exceed, business needs and expectations.
And although during the course of the working day it can be easy to lose sight of the original aims of the business, I also get satisfaction from the fact I work in renewables and that I can make a difference in the fight against climate change.
How did you get into the role in the first place?
I have had an interest in the environment and renewables since I was a student and was actively looking for a career in that area when I was working as a software developer in Edinburgh. I’d heard of Natural Power through a friend and when an opportunity for an IT manager came up I jumped at the chance, even though it meant changing careers. I also got to move down to Dumfries and Galloway, which was emerging as a mountain biking hot spot at the time.
What is your degree and /or professional qualification?
I have a Bsc. In Mathematics from the University of Manchester and an MSc. In High Performance Computing from the University of Edinburgh.
What is the most interesting type of work you have done and why?
In a previous job I was a developer for a company selling traffic microsimulation software. Although it may not sound very exciting I wrote some software to model the impact of introducing bus routes to city centres, although that may make me sound like a transport enthusiast…
At Natural Power my role is very varied and impacts pretty much all areas of the business. I pretty much find all of this interesting, requiring very different skills, both hard and soft, to be able to get the job done. However, the part I find most interesting is working out how to influence staff behaviour to meet business needs. This is particularly relevant in areas like IT security where it is critical to ensuring a secure IT infrastructure.
What is your biggest achievement at work?
In the nearly 13 years that I have been working for Natural Power the business has grown from under 20 staff to around 350. Developing the IT systems and the IT team to be able to keep the business operating is probably the thing I am most proud of. Looking forward, I’m excited to see how developing our GIS and business solutions services will help the business keep growing and expanding into new areas.
Any hidden talents?
Er, no, not that I can think of! Although I guess I like to think I’m a pretty handy cook.
What is your favourite hobby?
Would have to be cycling one of the 6 ½ bikes (half a tandem) which I have in the garage at home. I also enjoy most outdoor pursuits including running, skiing, swimming (in the sea) and walking our two Border terriers. Other that it would have to be relaxing in our campervan, ideally after indulging any one of these pastimes.
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