Andrew B.
Andrew B.
Business Operations Director

Profil de Andrew

Expérience

A journey from devoted scientist to general manager
Long ago I was a young scientist learning about many things. I loved my research and didn’t want it to end with the completion of my honours degree. Through a lot of hard work and a bit of luck I had the opportunity to research for a PhD thesis. I worked for long hours, many times alone and late at night, staring down a microscope. This was a great time of my life. Life was so simple and I was extremely grateful as this was just what I wanted to do at the time. Towards the end of this time I was in my mid-twenties and it became apparent I wanted more. I wasn’t sure what this was but I was clear that I had to leave research.
My first venture out of the academic world was an assignment with the UK Overseas Development Agency in Egypt. I was tasked with sorting out some heavy metal contamination in a factory complex in the middle of the desert. I loved the responsibility and I learnt that with the right people and the right environment, I could achieve much more (even in a foreign country!). Since then I have moved from a large UK Water Company, to a world leading Engineering Consultancy to Suez. Each time I have progressed further in management. I found out quickly that there were always smarter people around and I got a buzz out of seeing people develop and achieving things on a much grander scale. Suez have helped me realize my potential and have invested in me greatly to become a leader. I rarely get the opportunity to do science anymore as I am leading a major part of the UK operation. My days are filled with different, but no less exciting, challenges.

Poste

Business Operations Director, Suez Water UK
Suez Water UK is a company of 700 people providing environmental services to customers including municipal water companies, hospitals, power stations, refineries, breweries distilleries as well as many others. I am responsible for the delivery of all engineering services, HSQE, IT, maintenance services, technical innovations, as well as the commercial governance of the organisation. You will appreciate that this keeps me very busy and no day is the same. I may be reviewing a programme to deliver a water recycling facility for a brewery in the morning, talking to a petrochemical customer about options to outsource their water assets at lunch followed by recruitment and IT strategy in the afternoon. You may wonder how this can be achieved? In reality my success is purely down to the people who work for me. The team is focussed on a vision to provide a first class service to our customers and to look after and develop our employees. We are constantly looking for new talent and seek new employees with drive and a mind-set to innovate and challenge. We therefore have individually tailored, employee development programmes aimed at building skill and confidence.

Motivations

Being part of a first class team!
When I was at school all I wanted to do was play football. I quickly realised that I was never going to any good at this as the teacher always put me in goal. Many of the other children at the time always seemed much bigger anyway. I then developed a love of science. I was very passionate about the subject and there was nothing more I wanted to do then learn more science and meet and talk to clever people. I learnt that this can be a very lonely existence and something was still missing. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realised I wanted to work with people and my love of football was merely a desire to be part of a team. Therefore, the thing that gets me out of bed is the desire to work with good people and be part of a first class team. I have spent most of my career learning how to develop and motivate teams. I still am learning. I am fortunate to have a very good team in place at Suez and I am surrounded by brilliant people. We achieve great things and plan to achieve many more. We have some tough targets ahead and I am confident in our success.

Conseils

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
This is a mantra from one of my favourite books, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I am not a big fan of self-help books but I would recommend this one and Richard Templar’s the Rules of Management to anyone starting out in their career. There is a lot to be said for this mantra and I will leave to you to understand its full meaning.
I interview a lot of candidates. Firstly I am looking for the person, not the ability to fulfil the technical requirements of the role. Good people can always learn. The candidates that stand out are always the ones that have done their homework on the company. I always use this as the interview ‘ice breaker’ and would ask something like ‘So what do you know about Suez?’ I am looking for someone who understands our vision and goals as well as an understanding of our market. This goes a long way and the more they tell me about us the better. This demonstrates interest and passion. The two things that will get you a long way in your career and the two things I am looking for at the interview!
Now I’ve given you a start to your interview, I will give some advice on your career. I am not going to talk about business specifics etc. You can read about these in your own time. There are plenty of books and you will have time in your job to learn. What I would advise you to do is ask yourself questions on a daily basis. The best questions is ‘am I being effective?’ Other good ones are ‘What are we (exactly) trying to achieve?’, and ‘How can we better achieve the vision?’

Succès

Waking up in the morning and looking forward to going to work
Bob Dylan said 'a man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do'. There is a great deal of truth in this. Now let me be clear. Not everyday is filled with interesting things that I want to do and not everyday is heaven. Some days are long and tough. Really tough! We make mistakes, some challenges require every bone in your body and it can feel like a long slog. However, I am fortunate that my team always comes out on top through a mixture of skill, hard work and collaboration. I am very proud of them. This is one of the main things that motivates me to get out of bed in the morning and why I look forward to going to work. This is success to me.
I have also been fortunate in my career to develop people and I am very proud of this. Suez actively encourages this through mentoring and structured training programmes. I have directly been involved in the development of employees and seen their promotion within the company. There are many examples but one includes the promotion and development of a shift operator who is now a regional contracts manager. I am sure this person will be sitting on the board one day and I may even end up working for them! This will be an even better achievement. Another includes the development of a laboratory technician who is now managing a technical team providing consultancy to the oil and gas industry. This person will achieve much more in future.

SUEZ

Expert des métiers de l’eau et des déchets depuis 150 ans, présent sur les 5 continents, SUEZ met toute sa capacité d’innovation au service d’une gestion performante et durable des ressources.