I am the Plant manager for Energy Assets Utilities (EAU) plant division in Birstall. Our Plant services function acts as a support function to the Utilities division and wider group, organising plant requirements for projects, either from our own fleet, or our network of suppliers throughout the country. Day to day, I manage the operations within plant hire such as the logistics, ensuring safe and compliant maintenance schedules are maintained and establishing and maintaining key supplier relationships.
The core deliverables for my role are to ensure that our operations teams have the right equipment, in the right place, at the right time and that everything is fully compliant. It is also important to make sure the equipment is returned in a timely manner once the job is finished as overruns can be very costly in terms of hire charges and plant security. Monitoring costs and making effective use of our own equipment is a vital part of the role.
Working at Energy Assets during a pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult period at times, from at first being furloughed, to then coming back to the office and having to adapt to much different working conditions, and now having to work from home, away from my team. Having to work from home has been the most difficult to adapt to for me personally, with the job that we do, communication between the team is key to making sure we function correctly, so not being able to just turn to speak to colleagues has proved difficult at times, although the use of Microsoft Teams and other IT functions has helped. I also miss the normality of just going to the office for work, and the great camaraderie that we have as a team. The one thing I have been extremely thankful for has been the support from Energy Assets. The way the business has supported all staff throughout has been fantastic, and this has certainly helped ease some of the pressures and stresses that this period has caused.
Maintaining a work/life balance
While working from home, trying to maintain the work-life balance has become more difficult, the fact that home has now effectively become work has created its own set of issues. To overcome this, I try to stick to my set work hours wherever possible, and take breaks away from my workstation for lunch just as I would in the office.
Ordinarily, pre COVID-19 I work in a team environment with a cross section of people and work closely with other departments within our building. There is a very supportive culture across Plant, Fleet and Stores, and we all work well together with a ‘one team’ attitude, and help each other out if needed. There are also times when I need to lock myself away from the distractions and concentrate on the job in hand, but I can do this knowing that the rest of the team keep things moving.
Motivations and Challenges
I enjoy the challenges of the job and the sense of accomplishment gained knowing that things have been done well. For instance, we have recently had a number of audits and all the records which we submitted were up to date and correct, things like this give a sense of achievement that all the hard work pays off. I also enjoy the fast-paced environment and challenges that this line of work conjures up to keep you on your toes, and I like being able to solve these problems and find solutions.
Every day can have its own set of challenges. With the nature of utilities work and its ever-changing requirements, you need to be able to keep a cool head. There are never two days the same and most of the time you have to think on your feet, that’s where teamwork comes into its own.
Evolution at Energy Assets
My first day at EA was almost 12 years ago now, and I have seen a lot of changes in that time. Firstly, with how the business has grown, but also the way the industry has changed with regulations and working practices. I remember on my first day, there was no one in my role to assist me just starting a new position as a plant controller, so I had to very much learn and adapt on the job. Over the years, I have worked closely with the compliance and construction teams to create some robust and successful processes which have helped the business become more compliant.
It’s exciting being a part of an expanding business which Energy Assets is, so my hope would be, that while ever the group keeps growing, so will my team and the plant hire division’s role to support that growth.
Skills & Advice
The skills and traits I would highlight for being most important to accomplish my role would be, organisation, approachable, dependable, keeping standards high and having a good knowledge of the products and machinery the business requires to carry out daily works. If I were to give advice to my former self or someone seeking the same line of work it would be, never be afraid to ask questions, trust in your answers, and a little knowledge of the work is important, but the passion to learn is imperative. Lastly, it may be an old cliché, but I like it, “every day is a school day” we never stop learning, so don’t ever think you know it all!