Kenny McAllister

Section Director

In The Spotlight

What career advice would you give your younger self?

You can do anything but you can’t do everything. I’m still trying to learn this lesson.

What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?

The opportunity to meet stimulating people and learn from them through formal events and through building networks both within and outside your immediate area of expertise.

Best Achievement so far?

In my professional life I’m most proud of being part of the team that commercialised fibre optic downhole measurement in the oil industry. It was a genuine game changing technology and setting up and running the Middle East operations for a technology spun out of a UK University was a time of huge learning for me. I’m still applying those lessons today.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Like most boys of my generation I wanted to be a footballer. By the time I was University age I wanted to be a research scientist. I worked in R&D for five years and realised that the application and commercialisation of technology was closer to my heart than pure research. My hero was James Watt rather than Stephen Hawkings.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

The defining steps have been coming out of R&D in electronic printing technology after five years to join the Oil & Gas; Moving to Oman to set up Sensa Middle East, moving out of a large service company to work in a small technology company again.

Anything you would do differently?

Loads! However you have to take decisions with the information you have at the time, the learning comes when you find the success and challenges that follow from the decisions. In life the lesson comes after the exam so better get on and do the best you can.

Who has been your greatest influence?

James Watt is my professional hero. Taking an existing technology, making a crucial improvement and commercialising it round the world. What a story!

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

Lots of travel and lots of music

What would your autobiography be called?

What’s Next?

What is the best way to motivate others?

Share your passion, understand theirs and align the two.

Your favourite stress-buster?

I’m a keen musician and there is nothing like turning it up to 11 to blow away the stress of the day.

What’s your dream job?

My “dream” job would be a professional musician. However I’m much better suited to what I do now and I’m lucky that I love what I do.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?

Somewhere I haven’t been before. My favourite past holidays have included Venice, Rome, Shetland and camping on the Oman coast.

What are you reading, listening to or glued to on TV?

Books: Anger is an Energy By John (Rotten) Lyndon , Getting Things Done by David Allen, Mister Roberts by Alexei Sayle. TV: Any Drama by Sally Wainwright

If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?

Jason Bourne- he’s always one step ahead, failing that Hong Kong Phooey.

What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?

See my kids through University and launched on the world. Travel round all the European Capitals, visit New York and Boston and visit the Fender Guitar Factory in California. Cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End. There is a long list but see question 1!

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