Surface wouldn’t be the business that it is today, without its people. That’s why we’re bringing back our ‘meet the team’ series, to let you get to know a little more about the people who make the ‘magic’ happen here at Surface!
Next up is our Executive Assistant to Directors, Thomas Harrison, who has been with Surface Corrosion Consultants for 2 years now…
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day, I start working at 8am and finish at 6pm. While this is consistent the rest of the day is not.
Although it may sound cliché, every day is really different at Surface. My role is predominantly based around commercial costings, operational logistics, staff management and business promotion. I support and report directly to the two company directors. My day and week revolve around the current projects that can last for days, weeks, or months.
Furthermore, a typical day is spent talking to potential new clients about what the corrosion inspection company does as well as the benefits of using Surface software (Surface Asset Management, SAM™️) and how it can benefit their business.
I enjoy the variety and the different aspects of the business in which I’m involved.
With your role being varied, what skills do you use on an everyday basis?
Firstly, I need to be organised, the bulk of my work depends on this. I am adaptive and can work on several tasks at the same time, which need to be prioritised. These priorities can change quickly so focussing is key and completing tasks on time is important.
I am commercially aware and try to stay on top of budgets, costings and projections. Keeping track of changes is key to closing out projects properly.
While “every pound is a prisoner” is not a complete mantra for me I am keen to secure the best price. However, I’m aware achieving a result at a reasonable price can be more beneficial to the business. On occasion saving pennies may not help with winning repeat business.
What has been your biggest work challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I joined Surface Corrosion Consultants with an Honours Degree in Business Management. While the course was extensive it did not include paint and corrosion inspection!
To me understanding the nature of Surface’s business and how my role assists the business is crucial to ensuring it was effective. Over the first few months in communicating and being involved with inspectors and support staff I became sufficiently knowledgeable about the technicalities and intricacies of the front-line business.
I have started the ICorr Protective Coatings Inspector course and will complete it by the end of 2022. This will help improve my understanding of the industry and give me more tangible credibility!
What do you like about working at Surface Corrosion?
Working as part of a great team is definitely a highlight for me, there’s a real camaraderie and support network within Surface. My role is pivotal, it extends to every person within the business.
The company is both extensive and diverse with clients who are truly global. We have successfully completed projects in Ireland, UK, Europe and Africa with recent enquiries from America and Australia.
In my relatively short time with Surface, I have overcome commercial obstacles which I never knew existed. There is something new every week which needs researched and measured. I particularly enjoy resolving issues which are often left out of contracts and tenders. I have found out there is always a level of expectation not considered or mentioned up-front.
There is a high level of responsibility in my role, interacting with senior management of companies globally and supporting the organisation.
What’s one thing that surprised you about working at Surface?
I was surprised to discover how vast the industry was, the size of some of our global clients and yet the type of work carried out is relatively unheard of. Not knowing this I had assumed Surface was a niche provider and new business was quite specific – how wrong was I? However, opportunities at times can be restrictive due to the size of organisations. What I can say is Surface and the people that work there are versatile and adaptable and paint inspection is essential and often regulated by governing bodies and authorities. To try and give some perspective to my surprise, in summary, corrosion; paint and fire protection inspection is carried out in every substantial building in every city, not to mention oil rigs and platforms, throughout the world. That is the extent of opportunity, it’s staggering! Part of my role is to help make new business happen.
And finally, what can we expect to see in the next 12 months from Surface Corrosion Consultants?
We are currently engaged on some medium-term projects over the next 4 – 6 months in Belfast and throughout Ireland which will help cement relationships with some old and new clients. The key to Surface’s success is providing a satisfactory and quality service to clients. As part of this service significant investment has been made over the past 6 years in developing a versatile yet unique software application package, Surface Asset Management (SAM™️), for inspection reporting and analysis. SAM™️ has been proven to save time, manpower and money by generating timely reports instantaneously to allow construction to continue without the need for special arrangements or business stopping. It literally saves companies £000’s. My expectation is to see SAM™️ sales exponentially increasing as more companies become aware of it, which means we will need a much larger team to support the business – fingers crossed!