In the first of what we hope to become a regular feature, we are interviewing Commercial Director Alex Painter about his role at Adams Environmental and within asbestos consultancy.
How did you come to join Adams?
I suspect like many in the industry I fell into it. I left university in 2010 with a degree in Environmental Sciences and starting looking at graduate schemes where I could utilise the skills that I had learnt. I had never considered Asbestos as a career path and frankly didn’t even realise it existed as an industry.
I applied to the Adams grad scheme because it offered a lot of training and opportunities to work in some pretty cool buildings. I remember sitting in the interview with two of the Directors whilst they painted a picture of the industry and trying to make all the right noises whilst they explained the glamorous life of an asbestos analyst. I never for one moment considered that a decade on I would be sat at the other end of the table introducing the industry to a new generation of graduates. It still find it a bit strange if I think about it too much.
Why have you stayed?
I like the quality ethos at Adams and how it percolates to every decision that we make as a company. From purchasing new equipment and vehicles, to site work and report formats, every decision has to pass the ‘quality test’.
There has also always been progression on offer. When I was an Analyst I was always being encouraged to take on more responsibility and then after a few years to take my P402 and learn to be a surveyor. From there I was slowly given more and more clients and my role naturally shifted more towards the client side of the business.
It is also worth mentioning that we have a great team at Adams and there is genuinely no-one that I don’t get on with, though they may not say the same about me!
What do you like most about your job?
I love the variety and opportunities that it affords. I have worked in some of London’s most iconic buildings, including the Natural History Museum, Tate Britain, BBC Television Centre, Royal Albert Hall and The National Gallery. I even had the opportunity to work as an Analyst in Uzbekistan.
I also really enjoy building relationships with clients and appreciate that Adams give us the time to pop in and catch up with clients for a coffee and get their opinions on what they like and what we could improve on. There isn’t anyone making me justify every minute of the day on a timesheet.
And what do you like the least?
That’s a mean one . . . must be diplomatic!
I would have to say the frustration of seeing just how poor quality some of the reports are from some corners of the industry.
I am often sent survey and air test reports from other companies by clients and asked ‘what does it mean?”. Some of them are so poor that it takes me a while to work it out! At the end of the day if someone who has worked in asbestos consultancy for best part of a decade cant pick up a report and understand it without taking considerable time to read/ cross reference various pages then what hope does the duty holder have? Or a contractor?
What does the future hold?
In my current role as Commercial Director it has been really exciting being able to propose and develop new ideas and then test them out. If one of the team come to me and say ‘this isn’t working’ or ‘this is inefficient’ then I have the opportunity to work with them to see if we can find a better way of doing it. I am hoping to do a lot more of that in the coming year.
We are also beginning to grow as a company so my year ahead will undoubtedly involve hosting more job interviews, meeting with new and existing clients and promoting ‘The Adams Way’.
And finally, what makes you come to work each day?
This is a tough one, but co-incidentally one of the graduates that we interviewed the other day asked me that. I have to say it took me by surprise and I had to think about it for a little.
I would probably have to say that I come to work each day because I know that I am doing my part in reducing the risks associated with asbestos for the future. The health effects from asbestos are well known and there really is no reason why another generation should suffer.