In The Spotlight

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Remain as flexible as possible and get ready for change through your career. Be ready when the opportunities arise and grab them. You will fail at some but be successful at most.

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

Membership means I can share my knowledge and experience with other engineers outside of a professional of competitive environment. I have a chance to give something back to the engineering community in a truly altruistic fashion.

Best Achievement so far?

My chairing of the team who became the Wells expect committee of IOGP and the team who published ISO 17969, which is an international standard on competency of well operations personnel to reduce the risk of well control events.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

An engineer like James Watt and to get out of the shipyards of the Clyde like Billy Connolly.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?

My apprenticeship, Redundancy, Moving out of Greenock and going to Uni, joining the oil industry, and moving to Aberdeen, staying aware of the industry trends, joining ARCO British, Redundancy, joining Conoco UK, Chief Engineer for well ops, Redundancy and early retirement.

Anything you would do differently?

Nothing, including being made redundant 3 times in my career, which forced me to change and find a new comfort zone.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Each time I have had a job, I have found a peer who has been able to teach and mentor me. ( some of them did not realise they were doing this) each one has influenced me in some way.

What’s your idea of perfect retirement?

What I am doing now . — Good health, Enough money to live on from my pension, and able to give something back to the engineering community, spend time with my grandchildren and family, have a classic car or three to restore and drive when the sun shines, 2 holidays per year.

What would your autobiography be called?

Around the World on an Expense Account

What is the best way to motivate others?

Show them that they are going to get something out of the deal. Different people want different things however, eg, recognition, respect, being treated on a professional level, friendship and social contact and acceptance, a free lunch.

Your favourite stress-buster?

Tai Chi or restoring an old bit of engineering in a cold garage listening to progressive rock.

What’s your dream job?

Early retirement is a dream job and what I do now, but my previous position was also a dream job, as was the one before. Maybe I make myself and each job fit as I go through my life by remaining adaptable and looking on the good side and ignoring the down side.

Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?


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

A Tai Chi manual, Pink Floyd, BBC channel 4

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

Rick Stein the chef

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

See my children and grandchildren through a good education and into a good career. Go round the world, including Hawaii and New Zealand. Drive a classic Jaguar to Monte Carlo and round the Italian lakes.

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