to take a number of phased changes to get through that and get to the end-point. No one’s going to come out with a piece of kit or refrigerant to last through the whole period.

I would say the challenge is maintaining market share or growing and providing the products that work. Ideally, you want to use the legislation as a baseline for innovation, and you still want to provide products which exceed or out-perform the previous models.

For me, the outcome of legislation should be that the industry develops products which are better, and if the legislation is environmentally driven then obviously we meet that, and the ideal scenario is that we do that, and also provide products that are more efficient, easier to control and monitor, but at no worse a cost.

With drives to improve efficiency, reduce environmental effects, improve air quality and wellness, do you think it’s possible to meet all of these areas?

It’s about early engagement, starting from design, deciding what really needs to happen, and maintaining that engagement all the way through the project, the tender process, through to the installation and application.

What can happen is you can have different parts of the supply chain supplying different elements of it, and then the overall benefit is compromised. It’s about trying to coordinate a project so that you maximise the benefits. Manufacturers need to play their part, because if you’ve got mechanical and electrical contractors or specialist contractors installing, you need to be talking to everyone from the end-users to the consultants, all the way through the chain.

How can we best encourage people into the industry?

It’s hard to market an industry. You have to be committed to investing in people. I’ve worked in businesses where people come in and they’re left to their own devices. If you’ve gone to the bother of attracting them to the business you need to maintain that engagement and invest in them to get the best out of them.

Certainly engagement through schools, as well as colleges and universities. What I tend to do as well is recruiting from other industries.

Certainly for key account management, and project management, these are all things that can slide straight across into our industry. If you can attract the people, you’ve then got to develop them.

You’ve got to give them skills they value, you’ve got to give them challenges they value. We have to accept that people will move. I’d rather invest in someone from a competence perspective, even if after three or four years they decide to leave if it’s right for them, because then what you’ve got is an organisation with a reputation for developing the best people. If you don’t invest in people then you just get a lot of churn.

What advice would you give to youngsters? Speak to as many people as you can from engineering disciplines or within the domain. I know it’s difficult, but badger friends, parents, neighbours, whatever, to try to get some placements. It’s not about doing one and ticking it off, but doing a number of placements. Some placements are more exciting than others in terms of what they’re doing at that particular time. It’s about seeing different things. Just bug people. There’s nothing like being inside a business and understanding what happens on a daily basis. And it’s not all high energy fun; sometimes it’s about graft.


Rugby Union, I would say England, and it’s Mike Brown, full-back.


November 2017 19

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