Always going the extra mile for our customers
“The high degree of innovation, the trust and engagement of my colleagues, and the fact that working at Clear Edge allows us to put our fingerprint on the innovation and products we develop”
Current role: Technical Director
Years in Clear Edge: 33 years and counting!
Hobbies: Motorsport (F1 mostly), Country Music, AFOL (Adult Fan Of Lego), collector
Can you tell us about your current role and responsibilities?
Currently, I serve as Technical Director for Clear Edge and head up the Global technical team. The role of Technical Director is wide ranging one, with contact points in most departments within Clear Edge. As part of the technical support role, I work with the business leaders in each region to help support growth and more recently to help target and win our Top 5 accounts which is highly rewarding, being part of that process. I also help manage the global product portfolio which has been through the 80/20 process of late and so looks very different to how it did 12 months ago, very much for the better I have to say!
Can you tell us about your journey at Clear Edge?
I started with Clear Edge, well actually P & S Filtration, back when we were still weaving and fabricating out of Haslingden in the North West of England. The area had a rich heritage of weaving with the cotton mills of the past and was the reason Porritt & Spencer set up shop there. I actually began there in a temporary summer job role helping to fabricate filter cloths. I started in a permanent role as CAD CAM operator when laser cutters first became prominent. I worked in most departments in supervisory roles before eventually becoming a Design Manager which I did for many years. Following this, I trained in Product Management following a short stint as interim Production Manager and when my mentor moved on I took on the role of Product Manager for filter cloths in a technical sales support function. My role has revolved around technical sales since then encompassing new product development more recently and of course helping to manage the 80/20 journey that surrounds the product portfolio.
What do you enjoy the most about being the Technical Director?
The part of this job I love the most at the moment is helping to develop new talent. I have been with Clear Edge for a long time and I have a lot of experience to pass on. Being able to share not only knowledge of my role but to be able to share experiences that will help guide our future stars is extremely rewarding. I would possibly have said the travel if you would have asked me a couple of years ago. I have had the opportunity to see some amazing countries and meet some incredible people along my journey, of course with the pandemic travel at the moment is not quite as fun as it used to be but certainly, we are starting to see some normality now and I look forward to seeing new future customers whilst continuing in the mentor role myself.
What inspires you to come to work?
My colleagues. I have been fortunate enough to work with some amazing people throughout my career, a lot of which I am proud to have as friends both in and outside of work. The comradery we share on a global level now far surpasses anything we had in the past. We always used to talk about silo mentality but those barriers have long since been broken and so we all have strong working relationships with colleagues outside of our home region and that makes the job very rewarding when working on new opportunities and fresh challenges.
What first drew you to work for Clear Edge?
I was always a bit of a computer nerd when I first started out so starting a career on computer-based design software controlling the new technology laser cutters of the time was very attractive to me.
Who has been the biggest mentor in your professional career? What was the most important lesson they taught you?
Steve Buskey was our resident technical ‘guru’ when I first started out in Product Management. Most of everything I know in terms of the product I learned from him. I still refer back to his teachings to this day from time to time. The key with this role is to understand that you never stop learning. Filtration is an enormous subject and there are always new things to learn. The trick is to understand your limitations and if there is something you do not know or a subject you need to brush up on, you can guarantee within our organisation there will be someone equipped with the knowledge to help you out. You just have to go find them!
What advice would you give to recent new employees joining our organisation?
Never stop asking questions. It’s easy to say there is no such thing as a stupid question but sometimes you don’t want to appear foolish, or the one person who doesn’t know something. Don’t hold back, if you do not know something ask, no one will think lesser of you, you will actually find that everyone will be happy to share their learnings with you. When you get the answers, save them somewhere, you never know when you need to refer back to something.
If you could be anyone for the day, who and why?
To be honest I wouldn’t really want to be anyone else. If you ask me who I would visit with for the day, James Martin would be my answer. He is a prominent chef in the UK, if I would have taken a different path in life, I would have been a chef. James is a chef with a passion for cars and so, the perfect guy to have chat about food and automobiles!
What’s the one thing about you few people know?
Back in my slightly younger days, I was a sky diver for approximately 6 years. I have a total of 70 free fall descents, most of which went perfect although I did once land under a reserve parachute but that’s a story for another day! It all started off with a static line jump for Cancer Research and continued from there. I occasionally get asked if I would consider doing it again, and my answer is always, not a chance!
How do you spend your spare time?
In my spare time, I love to go to country music gigs and festivals with my wife. We also own a caravan (or trailer for our US colleagues) so we sometimes get the opportunity to take the odd weekend away, Leyburn in North Yorkshire is our favourite place. To relax I will often build Lego which I find is a total distraction from daily life. I also collect automobilia.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I want to take this opportunity once again to thank my Clear Edge colleagues for the unending support my family and I have received through the tough times. I never undervalue this, it really does mean so much and shows why Clear Edge is often more like family.