Dr Colin Elcoate: Meet Alderley’s new CEO
In August this year, Dr Colin Elcoate joined Alderley as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). For the past nine weeks, he has spent time with many colleagues across all Group locations, witnessing the Alderley ethos and expertise first hand. Keen to get “stuck in” from Day One, Colin has taken the time to speak to us about his accomplishments, Alderley’s strengths and his goals for the company, as well as ADIPEC 2019 – his first exhibition with Alderley.
Colin, can you please introduce yourself and your journey to date.
My name is Colin Elcoate, I’m a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and have enjoyed over twenty-five years working in the global energy industry in a variety of different roles. I am passionate about engineering, creating value in great engineering companies and supporting the development of a balanced energy portfolio across the globe.
I started my career in the aerospace industry, but after a second spell at university to fulfil my personal ambition of completing a PhD, I went into the energy industry via one of the most demanding sub-sectors: nuclear power. Since then, I’ve worked in both consultancy and manufacturing environments and have had the privilege to support many amazing people and businesses on new build projects, operating plant upgrades, extensions and refurbishments, and many innovative technology developments across both the oil & gas and power generation sectors.
What attracted you to join Alderley?
Alderley is the perfect example of a high-quality engineering business with great people, a fantastic heritage, excellent products and services and a long-term strategic outlook. In addition, the business has a good footprint in the UK and the Middle East with plenty of room for growth in the broader global energy markets, having developed and maintained a key role in the oil & gas supply chain for over three decades. The long-term vision of being a strategic supply chain partner to the oil & gas and wider energy industry coupled with a culture that promotes innovation, agility and the highest standards of safety and quality result in a compelling business model. Having the chance to work with the whole team at Alderley – who are used to solving some of the industry’s most challenging problems – and to lead the business through its next stage of growth was an opportunity I simply couldn’t resist.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of our company right now?
Quite clearly the biggest strength for the Alderley Group is their people: their commitment to the business and the markets they serve, and their vision for the future. From the Chairman, who founded the company many years ago and still comes in every day, through to each of our employees you get a real sense of pride and commitment to delivering customer value. Even through the most recent downturn, for which we are now seeing the green shoots of recovery, the Alderley team has stayed focused and responded to ever increasing demands from the industry to provide high quality systems and services that deliver economic, reliable and safe solutions.
The company has also made some well targeted strategic investments over the years to get closer to our customers and provide a more responsive service and broader portfolio of solutions. We have accumulated a very intimate knowledge of the industry we work in, we are committed to long term strategic support, and we can bring all our varied global experience to bear on any problem, anywhere in the world. Although not a huge business, Alderley have the advantage of being dynamic, inquisitive and solution driven.
“If you have a passion for engineering and technology, global business and making a difference to the world you live in, then the energy market is a hugely rewarding place to be as a business professional.”
What goals do you have for the company?
Alderley is a well-established British family business that has been delivering high end engineering solutions into the global oil and gas market. The first goal for me as CEO is therefore to further cement our position and reputation in the oil and gas supply chain and to ensure that we keep providing excellent support to our customers, whether they are operating, upgrading or expanding an existing facility or building a new facility anywhere across the globe.
Over the last decade or more, the evolution of the energy sector has seen a move towards a more balanced mix. This energy transition, which is taking place in parallel to continued growth in demand, must see a more integrated approach moving forwards, and energy companies must embrace all forms of energy and deploy their experience and expertise in driving change. As a result, my second goal is to expand across the energy space and bring our expertise and solutions into parallel markets such as renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) and other low carbon energy solutions.
How do you see the company changing, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
The industry is under pressure to reduce both CAPEX and OPEX, and Alderley is committed to be a close partner in the development of innovative technologies and efficiencies. For the last thirty years, Alderley has proven that it is able to continually adapt and change in response to changes in the oil & gas market. My role as CEO is to ensure this agility and forward thinking continue for the next thirty years, enabling the company to drive change. I’m thinking now about digitalisation and the need for more intelligent systems to significantly reduce OPEX costs through increased availability and reliability of critical systems and components. Alderley clearly has a key role to play in this emerging market and we are already fully engaged.
“My role as CEO is to ensure the agility and forward thinking continue for the next thirty years, enabling the company to drive change.”
As ADIPEC approaches, what are you most looking forward to about the exhibition, and what can we expect from Alderley?
I am very excited about my first exhibition as part of Alderley. First and foremost, I am looking forward to joining colleagues from Europe and the Middle East to showcase our full capability but with a real focus on end user support. For example, driving improvements on existing installations to enhance reliability, increase efficiency and to future-proof systems by addressing upgrades, obsolescence and advanced, real-time condition based monitoring are all key to Alderley supporting its key customers moving forwards.
I am also eager to get the latest expert opinions on the shifting dynamics of global supply and demand, the impact of the global energy transition and other megatrends that Alderley needs to be addressing to continue to offer the levels of support it has for over thirty years.
My visit will definitely include a visit to the Digitalisation Zone, too. I am keen to see how the 4th Industrial Revolution is taking shape across the industry, what advances have been made, what the next steps are and how supply chain companies like Alderley can bring their innovative ideas and products to bear in this growing market.
Finally, in a more connected world where globalisation and cross border collaboration are key to supporting the continued demand for affordable, safe and ecologically sound energy solutions, global partnerships and collaboration are key to success. So I look forward to meeting potential business partners from across the world to ensure that Alderley is well positioned in the supply chain as a true strategic partner.
What do you enjoy most about working in the energy industry?
If you have a passion for engineering and technology, global business and making a difference to the world you live in, then the energy market is a hugely rewarding place to be as a business professional.
The energy market is fundamental to everything we do, and the increasing demand and requirement for safer, cleaner energy means that working in this industry always presents new and exciting challenges. If you add into the mix global socio-political dynamics, especially in the current times, there is never a dull moment.
What are your three biggest accomplishments that have shaped you as a leader?
To be honest, I think it is the accomplishments of others that have shaped me as a leader. I have worked with many outstanding professionals in my career and I have taken the opportunity to listen to, learn and adapt so many ideas and techniques to suit my own character, beliefs and situation. I moreover take inspiration from fantastic engineers, business leaders, academics and strategists from across the world and from all cultures, and I continue to learn every day. My biggest accomplishment is then passing that knowledge and experience on to others. It gives me great pride watching them flourish and develop their own style and successful careers.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Although I travel frequently for work and enjoy every moment of it, there’s something special about travelling with your family. For instance, even when I lived in China for an extended period on a work secondment, my perspective of the country and my surroundings changed completely when my family joined me. Throw in a good book (one with real paper pages), some exotic cuisine and I couldn’t ask for any more.