What does your day typically consist of?
I am an early starter (military background I’m afraid) so I am happy to be at my desk in Stirling before 8 in the morning for the first assault on the accumulated emails. Occasionally I’m based elsewhere, be it the delightful Greenhouse or at one of our wind farms, sometimes this can be one of our offices in France, Ireland or the USA.
I will then, variously, be in meetings for most of the day or visiting one of the operational teams. I have also been known to climb turbines, meet with clients or host a potential customer visit, attend industry bodies and industry conferences before catching up on emails at the end of the day and then start the journey home to my family in Fife.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The team in which I work, in an industry at the cutting edge of engineering and asset management development. Everyone in the team is dedicated to delivering a high quality service to our clients and developing the business. Every one of them performs their role to the highest of standards and is entirely enthusiastic about being at the forefront of an industry that is becoming a mainstay in providing a life giving utility to millions of people every day. The business has great potential which I find very exciting.
How did you get into the role in the first place?
I was tapped up – LOL! I had the great fortune to be recommended for a position in the business by a friend and former colleague Martin Sedgwick. Martin and I worked together developing and delivering process safety and operational integrity consultative services to process industries. Working with Martin in the asset management sphere allowed me to develop a great appreciation and understanding for long term asset integrity management; including qualitative and quantitative risk assessment, technical risk management, reliability cantered maintenance, asset performance improvement, management of change, and programme management amongst many others. There is an obvious synergy between my past experience and what Natural Power want to do going forward and, hey presto, I am here!
What is your degree and /or professional qualification?
I don’t like to admit this too often but my degree is in Computer Science from Robert Gordon University. The reason I don’t like to admit it is that all too often people suddenly realise that I might be more understanding of IT issues than I actually am. I started my degree in 1990, when computers had less speed and power than a modern washing machine and I actually had to learn to code in machine code, Fortran 77, LISP, PROLOG, and plain old C. Let’s just say that they weren’t the most intuitive coding languages but they certainly helped me learn the basic functionality to the extent that getting into the code behind a spreadsheet holds no fear for me. That is not an invite to help with every ones malfunctioning spreadsheet!
I am now an honorary lecturer in Risk Management at Strathclyde University. Twice a year I lecture post and undergraduate students on the practical application of risk management in an operational or engineering business. This is interesting because for most of their lecture time the students are focused on the theory of risk management. I liven it up a little as most of what I talk about is death, how to avoid it at work and what companies should be doing to reduce its likelihood.
What is the most interesting type of work you have done and why?
I have done a huge variety of work in my career so far, from waiting on tables, teaching, serving on submarines, to “doing IT” to delivering multi million pound programmes. Always the most interesting part for me is interacting with people; teamwork, persuading, facilitating, supporting, managing and now directing people is hugely enjoyable and definitely the most enjoyable part of my work.
What is your biggest achievement at work?
I hope that keeping my team, and their focus on keeping each other, safe is my biggest achievement. We should go home as healthy as when we arrive at work. I have seen on a number of occasions, as a first aider and in the military, where this has not been the case. I have seen the affect of work related death on colleagues and their families and the affects of work related serious injury on a person’s ability to hold down a job; their team’s morale and the business’s value. None of it should happen to us in Natural Power and I would encourage everyone in the business to think about this each and every day.
Any hidden talents?
I am on Scotland’s Children’s Panel. Once a month I sit on a tribunal and make decisions that will hopefully help vulnerable children. Many people ask if that is enjoyable. Enjoyable is not the word. It can be emotionally draining and exhausting but it is hugely satisfying.back to day in the life