My main goal is to have a greener and more environmental planet
What is your name?
What is your job title?
General Manager Distilleries
What Secondary School did you attend?
Briefly describe your business.
SEM recent focus in the distillery setting is around co-product management. From handling and treatment, to re-use and disposal, ensuring safe discharge and regulatory compliance.
Describe your career pathway after leaving school.
Upon leaving school, I went and trained to be a marine engineer, I then went into the fishing industry for 10years. Then I went into the O&G industry until 2018 before joining SEM as a Technical Engineer initially up to my current position.
What school subjects would be helpful to study to undertake your job?
- Technical Subjects (i.e Engineering, CAD)
What's your favourite thing about the work you do?
I take great pride in taking an enquiry to Installation, Commissioning, Operation stage and cleaning the Foul effluent Streams. To provide a Technical solution to meet the clients needs gives me great pleasure. Travelling to various distillery sites and meeting lots of people.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
I love a challenge of cleaning the Distillery Effluent Co-Product, I like the end product and the history behind the art of making Whisky.
What daily duties do you carry out as part of your job?
- Management responsibilities for all project delivery in distillery market
- Liaison with clients, agreeing and identifying requirements, management of expectations and development of relationships.
- Build commitment and maximising team performance by providing direction, support and leadership for staff who will operate in the business unit. Inspiring them to achieve high standards of performance;
- Work closely with the fellow functional heads to ensure project delivery standards are high and maintained;
- Develop client/ project specific delivery plans;
- Ensure forecast and resource plan(s) are shared with functional heads to ensure labour, equipment, technologies and materials are in place for project delivery;
- Technical lead for client meetings;
- Ensure continual improvement and implementation of the Company QHSE and operations;
- Ensure health, safety and environmental controls, systems and processes associated with project management activities are stringently adhered to and comply with statutory and companywide policies
- Representing the company at industry forums and conferences, preparing and presenting papers on new products and technology advances.
Did you ever want to pursue another job?
Before I left school I wanted to be an electrician, unfortunately the company I was to get an apprenticeship with lost a large contract and didn’t take on an apprentices that year.
I was always into engineering/mechanical from a young age and I also have a passion for the sea and this is why I took the career path after my initial setback.
What skills are required to do this job?
- Customer service
- Health & safety
- Results focussed
- Ability to see the bigger picture
What is your advice to younger people who are considering working in this sector?
The distillery market is a very exciting and rewarding industry. There is huge expansion across Speyside, Highlands and Western Isles with New Distilleries being built across Scotland & Overseas and also expansion to existing distilleries.
There is a lot of focus across the distillery market to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2045. There are lots of new technologies being incorporated into the Distillery Market AD (Anaerobic Digestion), Bio Gas Plant. New WWTP (Waste Water Treatment Plants to treat the distillery effluent co-products onsite and repurpose the water once treated or for disposal down trade or river. This greatly reducing carbon emissions by reducing transportation, reducing risk, making for a greener and more environmentally friendly industry.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years’ time in terms of your career?
I would be ecstatic if I (SEM) could achieve the reduction in the Carbon Footprint across the industry with the treatment of all distillery co-products onsite (DRAFF, Pot Ale, Spent Lees, NaOH Washing Waters) and for the treated water to be repurposed onsite for either Cooling Towers, CIP, Wash Down etc.
To look at technologies for capturing the CO2 and repurposing this as part of a disinfection process. Look to completely stop using synthetic chemicals and utilise Green ‘Biodegradable’ chemicals with the aim to minimize chemical use completely.
The list could go on and on, but my main goal is to have a Greener and more environmental planet