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Coffee break with… Ian Parker


During this month’s coffee break, we caught up with Powerstar’s non-executive chairman, Ian Parker, who started working with Powerstar at the beginning of 2020.

Here’s what Ian had to say…

What was your first job role within the Energy Sector?

Prior to Powerstar I had had no direct involvement in the energy sector. About 4 years ago I did a project in the oil and gas sector as Managing Director of Alderley Systems Limited in Wickwar, Gloucestershire. Alderley makes fiscal metering systems, measuring the flow of oil or liquid natural gas in a pipeline. So, I guess I was well “upstream” of Powerstar’s energy.

Describe a typical day working with Powerstar

As Non-Executive Chairman, I am not sure I have a typical working day. I chair the Board meeting each month and support Rob Macklin with the relationship with our bankers, HSBC. I draw on my wider experiences to help Alex, Rob, Iain and Solon manage the business in the short term as well as providing support for the development of Powerstar’s longer-term strategy. I try to be available when required and like visiting both the Sheffield and Bromsgrove sites.

What do you enjoy the most about working in Energy?

The UK energy sector is poised for rapid change. As a country we are decarbonising our energy sector which means investing in “green” generation; wind, solar, biomass, hydro. In addition, there is the big drive towards EVs (2035 ban on ICEs). Everyone seems much more conscious of the need to be energy efficient and that our power infrastructure is aged. I like the forces of change and that Powerstar has technologies which will enable large energy users to improve their resilience and energy efficiency. We are living in an exciting time for the energy industry.

Are there any drawbacks to working in this sector?

One of the frustrations is undoubtedly the problems all SMEs face when introducing new technologies. Our customers are all huge relative to our size! They have large resources and are very demanding. Our advantage is our agility which enables us to be creative and find solutions that others would take years to introduce.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?

I started my first job in November 1979 as Marketing Officer for a Chemical company in Poole, Dorset. I can think of several highs in the course of my career from highly successful product launches to turnarounds of loss-making companies and in doing so saving the livelihoods of several hundred employees.

At Powerstar I have mentored the Board in its decision making, strengthened our banking relationship and guided the Board as we developed our three-year Strategic Plan. There is much work to do to bring this to fruition, so I expect to be around for a while yet!

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?

Other than my family (I have been married for 33 years and we have three adult sons in London), my passion is music. As I write, I am listening to Mozart’s Don Giovanni and many a Microsoft Teams call this year has been interrupted when I forgot to press pause or turn down the volume!

At school, University and for a few years afterwards I sang regularly in choirs. My tastes range from 16th century Renaissance polyphony (Monteverdi, Palestrina, Tallis, Taverner, Byrd, Victoria) through to Virgin Rock on a Friday night with a glass of wine!

Advancements in technology often cause significant changes in many industries, such as energy. What recent technological advances have had the biggest impact on your personal life?

In the last few years, the improvement in broadband speed have made working remotely so much easier. Nearly everything I need is now “online”, it’s just a question of finding it! And instant messaging certainly helps our family keep in touch (including my matriarchal 95-year-old Mother!).

If you had to give one piece of advice to people seeking jobs in energy, what would it be?

This is an industry going through a tremendous amount of change. Embrace it. Learn as much as you can, not just about the technology but also how firms adapt to change. Wherever your career develops being able to adapt to change will be a critical factor as you go forward.

Why did you choose to work with Powerstar?

The opportunity to become Non-Executive Chairman came along at the right time for me. I had just finished a 24-month major transformation project and wanted to move to a portfolio of NED roles. I met with Alex and the other Directors. The chemistry was good, and I soon found myself working alongside Rob as we renewed the banking relationship…

Describe Team Powerstar in 3 words

Smart Energy Solutions (for a net zero world!)

We’ve enjoyed working with Ian so far, and look forward to working with him further over the months and years to come.

To find out more about how Powerstar can help your organisation save money and reduce your CO2 emissions & Energy usage, Contact our team today

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