NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020 60 SECONDS
managing director, Baxi Heating UK and Ireland
QAs a child, what did you want
to be when you grew up?
AI didn’t really have an idea of what
I wanted to ‘be’, but from my fi rst
Saturday job in a café at the age of 13,
I worked out that if I worked hard and
provided a good service, I actually earned
more tips, and that would mean I could buy
my own choice of clothes and shoes, rather
than what my mum wanted me to wear!
That strong independent streak and work
ethic has stayed with me in my career and
served me well.
QHow did you get into the industry?
AI had been involved with the customerfacing
side of trains as managing
director of an operating company where
the train was my ‘product’ and part of my
service proposition to customers. When I
joined Hitachi Rail, my background gave me
an exciting opportunity to infl uence train
manufacture, using the experiences of the
staff that worked on them and the voice of
customer that used them. It was a natural
progression for me, and I was fortunate
to be part of the team that built the £82m,
state of the art factory at Newton Aycliff e.
It’s important to stay fresh and seek out
new opportunities in your career. Joining
the heating industry means I can make a
real diff erence in a sector that is working
towards a sustainable and net zero future –
causes that I am passionate about.
QWhat do you like most about
working in UK manufacturing?
AI love the fact that
you make something
tangible. I am extremely
proud of my working class
background. My family had a history of
working in the coal mines, in paper mills and
at Rolls Royce, so I am part of a generation of
people inherently involved in manufacturing.
QHow do you think UK manufacturing
is perceived by people outside the
AManufacturing is often not understood
enough by many: the challenge, the
complexity, the precision, the innovation
and skills that are involved. We need to
educate people and show them where the
magic happens! There is also a perception
that manufacturing is male-dominated; we
must change that perception and encourage
a more diverse workforce.
QWhat’s the secret to a successful
future for UK manufacturing?
AWe have allowed too much of our
manufacturing to go off shore, and there
is a real challenge for our supply chains. We
need to showcase what we can do in the
UK and rebuild our heritage sustainably,
demonstrating Industry 4.0.
We must also ensure that our workforce
is a true representation of the customer
base we serve. By employing a wholly
diverse set of people, businesses are shown
to perform better, be more profi table and
more sustainable as a result, so it’s good,
Sept 2020-present: Managing director, Baxi Heating,
UK & Ireland
June 2015-Oct 2019: Managing director, Hitachi Rail
March 2006-Nov 2009: Deputy MD, FirstGroup plc
1997-2006: Various management roles in the rail
1983-1997 Various management roles, Sutcli e
QHow do you spend your spare time?
AThere is an old adage that says, ‘If
you want something done, ask a busy
person’! I am equally busy outside work
and have lots of interests. I am a passionate
gardener, love travelling and enjoy time with
my family and friends. I have also recently
taken up Nordic Walking as a great form of
QOne thing you may not know about
AI love fi shing! I must admit I am a fair
weather fi sherman, only partaking in
warm weather! There is nothing like the
exhilaration of catching tuna off the back
of a boat.
My favourite food:
any way –
I love it all.
Books: ink drop/ stock.adobe.com Moon: Sergey Nivens /stock.adobe.com Fish: nblxer / stock.adobe.com Flag: dihard /stock.adobe.com
My favourite fi lm:
It celebrates the
role played by a
team of female African-American
mathematicians during the NASA space
programme. I thought it was inspiring!
A few of my
My favourite holiday:
It was the fi rst place I
went as a child, with my
parents towing a caravan,
and the fi rst place I went
on a school trip.
My favourite books:
are my Travel Books
I love planning