A Day In The Life of James Walker, Group IT Director

A Day In The Life of James Walker, Group IT Director

My Role

My role as Group IT Director is about leading the IT function to enable the IT Team, which includes 29 people across our EA office locations, to deliver IT, networks and communication solutions to all employees in a secure and effective way.  Basically, we design, create, deploy and maintain the technology solutions necessary to keep the IT services and in turn the business functioning smoothly.  No mean feat during COVID-19 out with any normal business as usual work day. I also set the Group IT Strategy which is aligned to our business requirements and ensure the IT Team are motivated to deliver the planned projects to maintain and grow our business operations.

The IT Team

I manage five teams within the IT department which covers the areas of software development, information system operations, IT infrastructure, change management and information security.  The overriding dynamic, and my approach as a whole, is to be open, honest and trustworthy. Working as part of a team is both rewarding and challenging. We have a blend of experience, personalities and areas of interest, with everyone striving to delivery an excellent service to the business.

Working at Energy Assets during a pandemic.

Working safely and securely during COVID-19 has been one of Energy Assets’ priorities. Protecting our employees is of vital importance. I will be honest, it has been challenging to balance the day to day IT requirements of the business including ongoing projects whilst maintaining an effective service to employees working remotely.  However, teamwork and effective communication have been key. Working at home is not the same as the normal working environment therefore we focused our attention on ‘new’ good practice following the Government guidelines. We adopted an agile way of working to respond to the immediate switch to working at home and, through our business continuity planning, executed as smooth a transition as was possible at that time. With time, we ironed out any ‘kinks’ and are pleased that in our recent Annual Employee survey the overall response was that 96% of employees said they felt supported during the pandemic. So that’s a positive!

My Work From Home Routine

As a father my mornings generally begin with my young daughter asking if it is time to get up… that inevitably means that whether I am ready or not, my morning is starting! After a quick sense check of my mobile phone to see if there are any urgent alerts from IT systems, I enjoy a coffee and a shower to set me up for the day. After work, I try always to have dinner with my family, discussing our days and often wind down by watching a film or an episode of Top Gear. Having a healthy work/life balance is something Energy Assets wants all employees to have and that includes at a Director level. So while I’m ‘always on’, I am able to find my ‘switch off’.

The nature of my role does mean I can sometimes work long hours and at short notice. For instance if I have to deal with any urgent systems or network issues. As a result, I ensure that during my time off, both during evenings and weekends, I spend quality time with my family and friends including lots of time outdoors.

Tips on maintaining a healthy work/life balance… well you can’t beat a nice cool beer or two (we do promote responsible drinking of course) over the weekend!  A holiday to a Caribbean island or on safari with no internet access is on the cards as soon as we can!

Motivations and Challenges

I’m quite a motivated person in general. I can confidently say that I rarely feel demotivated but when I find my motivation challenged, I simply focus on completing the tasks presented one by one to make progress. I have learnt to not get stuck in a rut. Completing one task at time gives me the boost to deliver what is required to be successful. I then use that when looking at my next challenge…opportunity… and so on!

I enjoy enabling the team around me to be successful and give them the tools to develop and grow. On a personal level, I take satisfaction in the technical aspects of IT including problem solving, helping people and contributing to our business mission and goals. Analytical thinking helps me look at the best solutions to support our multi-faceted business operations. No one day is the same!

Evolution at Energy Assets

I joined Energy Assets in 14th April 2014 date when the company employed only 80 and only had 2 locations. Now, as at February 2021, we are proud to say we have over 750 employees operating across 10 locations nationwide.

My role has changed since I started with Energy Assets in line with the business growth and expansion.  I have gained a wider knowledge of the overall business and wider industry (especially all the acronyms), and now manage a much larger team supporting more employees.  I’m pleased my early work helped lay some of the foundations for our previous growth and future company aspirations. Looking ahead, my idea is simple – I hope to continue to provide a good service to the business.

My advice: Work hard, listen to and learn from others. Be your own person. Always strive to do and be better. And love what you do.

Memorable moments

I have lots of fun moments to recount about my time at Energy Assets – most we can’t publish. However, supporting our employees and in turn helping the customers we serve has been massively rewarding during the past 7 years and certainly the global pandemic will be a memorable moment in the future.

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