Job Title: Deputy Director of Estates & Facilities
When you were a child, what did you dream you would be when you grew up?
A professional motorcycle racer 1st and an aircraft engineer 2nd.
What excites you most about STEM?
Identifying problems in ‘systems’ and subsequently working on resolving them.
What do you love about your current job?
The variety, leadership and responsibility for my team’s performance and wellbeing, in their respective roles.
I considered myself very much an engineer until recent years. Coaching and Mentoring through the Institute inspired me to broaden my horizons, which opened doors to progression in my career. I currently have Estates & Facilities (including Catering) services, H&S (including Waste & Energy Services) and Procurement as part of my remit. Each of them brings challenges, but I enjoy all aspects. I feel like I learn something new every day, which I think is very important.
What does a typical day at work involve?
Lots of meetings, emails, and phone calls, but I still really enjoy getting out and about with my teams on-site to see what they are up to when I can. Particularly the engineers as that is how I started. Over the last 6 months I have been leading on a redevelopment strategy for the Trust. That has consumed a lot of my time and still does.
I also have lots of people (not just my team) coming to me for advice and decisions, which can be daunting at times, but it also makes me feel quite proud to be a leader.
What is the most unexpected thing about your job?
How much I have grown in my career, particularly towards leadership. I have always been very ambitious and staying focused and working hard have meant that I have done well. When I look back 20 years to when I started as an apprentice, a lot of the advice and things I have been taught over the years have stuck with me.
Leadership is a role in itself. I think some people have it naturally, some are able to learn it, and some will never understand it. Being part of the Institute has really helped.
Did you have any role models when you were younger?
My stepfather always gave me great advice and still does. Although we have had very different careers, he understands ‘people’.
What inspired you to do the job you are doing now?
Some of the ‘leaders’ I have worked for and with over the years (some good and some bad). Also being told as an apprentice (by a Tradesman) that I would never get anything out of working for the NHS.
What toys or games inspired you during your childhood?
Lego Technics, Airfix models and anything else to do with building things.
Your favourite subjects at school?
Science (Physics in particular), English and Design & Technology.
Masters – Building Services Engineering
Degree – Building Services Engineering
HNC – Building Services Engineering
ONC – Electrical & Electronics
BTEC – Mechanical Engineering
Authorised Person – MGPS/LV/Water/ Ventilation/Decontamination
In your words, what is a healthcare engineer?
An adaptable individual who forms part of a team of enablers and problem solvers. We are an essential cog in a complex machine.
Your reason for choosing this career? Why Healthcare?
First and foremost, I LOVE engineering!
Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time in and around hospitals visiting my mother in my teenage years and I think I wanted to do something to help poorly people. She sadly died when I was serving my apprenticeship. The support I got from my workmates was phenomenal and I will never forget it.
Tell me about your career path to date?
• Trainee press-tool engineer (fitter/turner).
• Multi-craft Engineering Apprentice (Darlington Memorial Hospital)
• Tradesman (Darlington Memorial Hospital + Community)
• Specialist Services Technician (Shotley Bridge Hospital)
• Assistant Facilities Manager (Derwentside College)
• Estates Officer (County Durham & Darlington NHS FT)
• Estates Manager (Harrogate District Hospital)
• Acting Head of Estates (Harrogate District Hospital)
• Projects and Compliance Engineer (South Tees Hospitals NHS FT)
• Head of Estates (South Tees Hospitals NHS FT)
• Deputy Director of Estates & facilities (Bradford District Care NHS FT)
What advice do you have for the Healthcare Engineers of the future?
• Do not let anyone tell you that your career is limited by working for the NHS.
• Stick in at College/University.
• Use your appraisals to demonstrate your ambition.
• Treat EVERYONE with respect.
• Go the extra mile wherever you can, it does get noticed.
• Broaden your horizons – try to spend some time working in other teams in the department such as Medical Engineering, Capital Projects etc.