What is your role with HCF/CATCH?
I am the new Chief Executive Officer
What type or size of company does HCF/CATCH work with?
We work with a diverse range of companies from the very small to the larger outposts of global companies. We cover the chemicals, process, oil & gas, energy and renewables industries.
How has HCF/Catch become involved in renewables?
We recognise the importance of new industries and also our strategic place within that mix. Many of the skills we encourage are also needed in the growing renewables sector.
Why is renewable energy becoming so popular?
The recognition that many of the resources we use are limited means that we ultimately will need to develop alternative sources. Although we are nowhere near peak oil yet, there will come a time when we will have dwindling resources and using alternatives now will prolong and protect those remaining resources.
How important is the word ‘innovative’ to HCF/Catch?
We have innovative solutions to training needs in the sector. In addition we are keen to provide unique offerings in order to distinguish ourselves above our competitors. We must therefore innovate in our services in order to grow and become more sustainable.
What area do you cover?
Our customer base is predominantly in the Humber region but we are increasingly delivering services UK wide and also internationally. We currently have a project delivering services to an Iraqi site of a major company. We hope to expand this in the future.
How has HCF/CATCH evolved?
The company is a merger between the business support service Humber Chemical Focus and training & facilities provider CATCH based on our 10 acre site near Stallingborough. North East Lincolnshire council has provided most of the funds to construct the site which comprises of workshops, process plant, a range of buildings that replicate industrial facilities, meeting rooms and conference facilities.
How are you different?
We are pretty unique. There are other sites in the UK providing training but none with the range of facilities we can offer at CATCH.
With the recession behind us (hopefully), how do you see business in the Humber region?
The merged company now has the ability to actively pursue new business and we expect to become the UK’s number one training facilitator in our field of process, energy, chemicals and renewables. We have land to expand into and are looking at areas where we can add value.
What types of business are you looking to work with?
We have good links with the process sector but are trying to expand into the growing renewables and energy sectors. We host a number of training providers on site and are always on the lookout for new providers to expand the range of training provided.
On a personal note, what has influenced your career to date?
A love of business and a strong desire to create wealth and value, and in the process, create jobs. I started Onyx Scientific Ltd in 2000 and grew the business which at its peak had 60 staff. 95% of these had BSc degrees and 50% had PhD degrees. I estimate that the company supported a further 60 more people in families and supplier organisations and many more through personal and company taxes paid. I am a scientist by training (with BSc and PhD degrees in chemistry) but my major passion is creating value through business.
How much did your family background influence your approach to business life?
My father had commercial jobs throughout his life and I guess this rubbed off on me as I can now claim over 20 years in sales, marketing and business development. I regard marketing, if done properly, the most important role in any organisation because without products or services that people want, businesses fail.
How do you spend your spare time?
I dabble in many things – painting & drawing, piano, listening to (classical) music and swimming but my major preoccupations are competitive and leisure sailing and more recently, working toward a Private Pilot’s Licence.
Soapbox – Is there anything that really gets on your nerves?
Yes, politicians trying to control and direct every aspect of our lives. Instead of providing a framework of low taxes and minimal regulations to allow businesses (and individuals) to develop and grow we are increasingly assumed to be unable to make our own decisions and are dictated to in every aspect of business (& private) life.