Carrick Academy, Maybole. Crosshouse Junior Secondary School. James Hamilton High School. Grangemouth High School. Falkirk Academy. Dundee University
O Levels in English, French, Arithmetic, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Technical Drawing. Highers in English, Physics, Maths, Chemistry. BsC in Physics/Physical Electronics. Open University – Controls Engineering
John Brown Engineering, Trafalgar House, Kvaerner Energy, General Electric
I own my own business now. Its called Applitek Ltd
Retired once. Love my job. Love volunteering. Always helping people.
I live in a small town near Kilmarnock, south of Glasgow with my wife. We have three cats, one of them is almost 20 and the other two are Maine Coons. We moved to this house in December 2019 because the garage has a workshop at the back and an office space for me behind that. When I work from home now I leave the house and can walk to the office through my garden which is rather different from having to drive 25 miles to my workplace office. It is difficult to think what my favourite food might be because I’ve been in lots of countries from Alaska to Australia, but I do like almost all seafood and curries are my weakness. We have two grown up daughters who both live about 25 miles away in different directions.
I spend most of my free time either volunteering or preparing for volunteering. That generally takes place in schools around the West Coast of Scotland or in the central belt, but when I can I go to the Big Bang at the NEC and volunteer there in various roles for the whole 4 days. Engineering has given me a fantastic career and life and I see volunteering to help young people better understand what engineering and science is all about as away of paying back for this life experience.
I enjoy watching and reading science fiction, particularly Star Wars, Star Trek and Marvel movies.
At the moment I’m helping make face visors, and face masks for NHS and local carers and clips that take the face mask elastic away from the back of ears to make them more comfortable.
I work with big machines that make electricity. They can be anywhere in the world and some are even on North Sea oil platforms
The machines I work with generally make electricity in power stations or compress gas in process plants, so they are important for most people in the countries where they are used. In particular I work with the electronic systems that control these machines. As they are so large and the parts inside them are heavy and spin really fast, we have to treat them with care, else they could get damaged, or could break and hurt people. My job is firstly to make sure that they are well controlled and behave properly. I have to make sure that they do not run too fast or too slow, dont get too hot and start and stop when they are asked to and deliver the energy they should. The ones in the North Sea oil platforms are very important because if they stopped or were not reliable then there would be no electricity there and the oil could not be extracted.
When I first started working with these machines the systems were very mechanical but over the years they became electronic and now are computer based so I have to understand these various technologies.
Today the newer machines which have computers that control them allow me to see what the machines are doing and see if any adjustments are needed, or provide the people who work with them locally some help in making adjustments to keep them safe and operating properly. This I can do from anywhere there is an internet connection, so I do not need to travel as much as I once did.
Before computers were used to control these machines I had to travel to work with them and that took me to many countries all over the world.
My Typical Day: I dont really have a typical day as it always changes to meet the needs of the business
My day generally starts at around 07:30 till about 4:30, with lunch from 12:30 to 13:10, or at least that’s the plan!!
As I work with customers all over the world who have large machines that make electricity and as these machines are important for the country, when they need help, that can be at almost any time, so my day can start early or finish late depending on what emails or telephone calls I get. Lunch time too can be early or late if there are important things to do.
No two days are really the same and a day rarely goes to plan because of this international interaction. There is a plan however and it usually starts by looking at email messages first to see if there are any that need urgent attention, then fit them into the plan left from the previous day. After that I would review the machines we monitor on the internet and if they need any attention add them to the daily plan. Next if there are any modifications or reports to work on I would do them before and after lunch, and at the end of the day prepare the plan for the next day. Whatever work is not done will become more urgent on the next day.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Tecky, inquisitive, communicator
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Helped design, build and operate a big power station
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
The power of machines
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not as often as I should have been
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Sound and lighting engineer for a big theatre
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Seafood and curry
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Skiing in Alaska in -40C
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Wealth, health and happiness
Tell us a joke.
An optimist sees a glass as half full. A pessimist sees it as half empty. An engineer sees it as being twice as big as it needs to be.