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As part of our ‘five minutes with’ series we’ve been getting to know the people behind the winning team at BPE. Here, we speak to chairman Ian Shott about everything from the latest innovations in engineering to his thoughts on encouraging more young people to get into the profession.
Q: What piece of technology has changed the way you work the most?
A: The internet and a laptop/mobile phone.
Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
A: A car designer from the age of eight.
Q: How did you get into process engineering?
A: At school I found homework to be lightest in maths and sciences and then met the MD of BAT (whilst I was on a holiday job as a warehouse cleaner!) who told me what a great subject chemical engineering was and how this would lead to an exciting and interesting international career. I changed tack at 16 and everything came true!!!
Q: What do you think we can do to encourage more young people to get into engineering?
A: More guidance and advice on the fantastic career opportunities with a wealth of role models who can provide an understanding that engineers convert best science to excellent products resulting in wealth creation, economic growth and societal benefit.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to help a client overcome and what was the solution?
A: Process containment and segregation to allow the parallel manufacture of crop protection products and pharmaceutical active ingredients on the same site in Switzerland. The combination of highest quality engineering and best manufacturing practice prevailed with excellent outcomes.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: People that break the mould such as Elon Musk (Founder of Tesla) and Demis Hassabis (founder of DeepMind).
Q: What do you listen to in the car on the way to and from work?
A: An eclectic mix of music, current affairs or special interest programmes.
Q: Where do you go to find out about latest innovations in engineering?
A: As a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Royal Society of Chemistry as well as Visiting Professor to Oxford, Nottingham and Newcastle Universities I get a huge amount of input from this diverse network of contacts that I keep and the several journals I routinely receive and read.
Q: What’s been your most memorable moment to date at BPE?
A: Seeing Mike Brown and his management team complete the strategy and make customer focussed implementation the top priority.