The first six years of my career after leaving Huddersfield Polytechnic as it was then, was as a control systems engineer and I worked for a local multi-disciplined engineering house which gave me great insight, knowledge and practical experience of other engineering disciplines such as civil, structural, mechanical and piping as well as that of my chosen career path, control systems engineering.
As an engineer now with over 30 years experience, I started at ITS in 1996, quickly became a Projects Manager (in 1999) managing our process controls team across both sides of the Pennines with a team of up to 15 people delivering all manner of automation and control projects.
I have an interest in helping others learn the things I have learned over the years - it's important that we develop the next generation of people who join our Company.
As Technical Director, my technical abilities have enabled me to help solve our clients challenging problems and enhance their operating profitability from the solutions we have delivered.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the automation industry, and how did you get started in this field?
Having an interest in Space and always wanting to know how things worked mechanically and electrically led me to extend my meccano interest into electronics and computing in the early 80s.
I managed to get my VIC20 computer to control and run a sequence of control requirements on a meccano model at the age of 13 and my interest in control and automation was alighted.
What do you enjoy most about working at ITS, and what sets you apart from other automation businesses in the industry?
Having started here as a senior engineer last century, yes I can't believe it’s been that long, there have been many challenges along the way, and these sort of challenges are the things that keep me interested. It's the challenge of finding a solution to someone's problems, often where other companies may have failed.
This varied interest in problem solving has, I believe, set us aside from many others in the automation business because we don’t do the simple jobs that anyone could do, but mostly the more challenging, interesting and rewarding projects.
Being an SME, means we can be very flexible in our approach, and our ability to decide quickly is great for being able to adopt a better solution when identified than might have traditionally been selected in a more rigid environment.
Everyone's input is listened to and valid, and often, input from others can trigger a very left field / better solution.
What do you like to do outside of work to unwind and recharge, and how do you balance your personal and professional life?
I grew up with my father running a local garage in Darlington, so cars have always figured in my hobbies and spent every holiday and weekend working with him, especially as more electronics crept in during the 80s, something my father was not interested in.
So one of my major hobbies has been classic cars, having restored several over the years including a Triumph Stag and an E-type Jaguar.
Touring holidays over Europe and other places has also been an interest, and I feel that being able to switch off completely from work into something needing a different focus is key to being able to truly recharge and refocus when you return to the work environment.
The touring holidays have allowed me to include my passion for classic cars into our holidays. We have seen so many amazing sites throughout Europe, USA and Australia that we simply would not have seen on a beach / hotel holiday.