60 SECONDS JANUARY 2019
QAs a child, what did you want to
be when you grew up?
A When I was growing up, I always had a
burning desire to become a professional
footballer – although looking back I never
really went above and beyond to achieve
this! I had numerous opportunities to make
the grade, having trialled with both the
England Schoolboys team and Yeovil Town
FC. Ultimately, though, I didn’t work hard
enough to achieve that dream, eventually
having to give up the game I loved due to a
serious knee injury.
QHow did you get into the
A I entered the manufacturing industry
thanks to my Dad. The day after
fi nishing sixth form, I had a knock on my
bedroom door. It was Dad: “get up, you’re
coming to work”. At the time, he was a
production manager at a local engineering
fi rm. Off I went, and the rest is history. I
started off sweeping the fl oors, eventually
being given the opportunity to undertake
an apprenticeship. I worked with some very
experienced engineers and it wasn’t long
before I realised my passion for industry.
QHow do you think manufacturing
is perceived by people outside
A One memory I always have from school
is my tutor telling me that if I don’t get
good results then I’d end up doing factory
work. The perception, therefore, is clear:
many people in the UK believe that this is a
path taken by those who have little intellect,
and therefore have little choice in what they
do when it comes to earning a living.
QWhat do you like most about
working in manufacturing?
A I enjoy the day-to-day challenge of
delivering the demands of the customer,
which are increasing year-on-year: the
challenges surrounding quality, turnaround
time and price are ever-increasing and the
importance of continuous improvement has
never been so important.
QHow do you spend your spare time?
A I enjoy spending time with my wife and
children. Both kids participate in sports
including football, rugby and gymnastics,
so weekends are often busy shuttling them
around to events and competitions.
QWhat’s the secret to a successful
future for UK manufacturing?
A Firstly we must never be satisfi ed with
our current state. As much of a cliché as
it is, there is always a need to further improve
and to ensure that we keep ourselves and the
competition on their toes. To enable this, we
must continue to cut costs.
2018-present: operations manager,
Praxair Surface Technologies, Swindon
2014-2018: product line manager,
Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK), Melksham
2014: operations supervisor, H.C. Starck,
2010-2014: production supervisor, H.C. Starck
2006-2009: apprentice machinist, H.C. Starck
By this, I mean within processes, allowing
us to develop our people in other areas of the
business. I cannot stress the importance of
employee engagement enough: those within
the processes of any business really are the
experts – give them a voice and empower
them to deliver business improvements.
Secondly, we must continue to develop
our people, broadening their knowledge of
not only the product but also methodologies
that will help them to continuously improve
their day-to-day activities.
Finally, we as businesses must remain
fl exible and able to adapt to any given
situation, whether it be new business, new
legislation or even a reduction in orders.
There are always going to be positive
and negative aspects that hit our businesses;
what really matters is how we turn these into
challenges and deliver positive results.
operations manager, Praxair Surface Technologies
A few of my
Tsuni / USA / Alamy Stock Photo
My favourite food is...
Steak and chips
You can't beat a good
steak, although with
age I think I've become
more fussy over the cut
and how it’s cooked...
My favourite holiday
There are many things
in life that don't live up
to expectations, but Vegas
certainly isn't one of them!
Images: stock.adobe.com/cdkproductions/Brad Pict
My favourite fi lm is...
I love a good comedy;
Vince Vaughn and Owen
Wilson never fail to
deliver the goods
in that respect.