By trade, I am an environmentalist. I began my professional career as an ecologist conducting mammal surveys on rivers and water courses as well as Phase 1 vegetation surveys. I then took my skills into SSE where I was an in-house environment expert for a range of technologies within the company’s generation portfolio. I worked here on onshore wind, offshore wind, carbon capture and storage, flue gas desulphurisation, hydro schemes, overhead power lines, pipelines and business improvement. I delivered a range of services including EIA’s, community engagement, regulatory assessment and social impact assessments.
From this, I transitioned into managing ever-more complex projects. I also began to manage teams of people. As I moved around the industry, I have managed projects, teams, business units and businesses across a variety of technologies and sectors. These elements have varied significantly in terms of complexity, scope and size.
During my time in industry, I gained an MBA (Distinction) from Warwick Business School where I won the Best Dissertation Award for work I did with RWE looking at how uncertainty can be managed in energy projects as complexity increases.
My interest and drive for managing projects came from an entirely different arena than business. For a number of years, I was a professional mountaineer and expedition leader. My geographical focus was Scotland and East Greenland where I was involved in several notable, challenging routes. When organising an expedition to a remote Arctic range and guiding clients up a previously unclimbed peak, there is a distinct focus on project management, risk management and dealing with uncertainty every step of the way (literally!). These trips also brought home to me how beautiful our planet is and how incredible our biodiversity is.
Since then, I have found that the number of similarities between mountaineering, the environment and business exist as more than just metaphors. My thoughts, insights and experiences have been tempered in managing challenging environmental situations, complex projects and turning around business units and projects. This has been refined and focused by my academic studies and now I bring this into the market to help clients in effectively managing environmental challenges in a pragmatic, rational way.
For fun, I enjoy challenging myself in the outdoors. I recently ran the 100 mile Fife Coastal Path in 24 hours. I have a number of challenges in the pipeline for summer 2017. I balance this with as much time playing with my two children as I can and taking them into the great outdoors with my wife.
I am a full member of the Institute of Directors.
If you are a managing director or projects director in the energy industry and you are frustrated with your environmental challenges being unresolved, then contact me for a free consultation to identify your key issues and how I can help you get back on track.