11 Questions with Simon Randall of Hyder Consulting
Simon Randall is Director of Hyder Consulting's Energy and Environment business which draws together Hyder's energy-related functions in order to drive sustainable and profitable growth in the oil and gas, power generation, and transmission and distribution sectors. Simon integrated ESR technology into Hyder in 2011 and specialises in international sales and business growth, organisational development and change management.
Describe what your company does in three sentences?
Hyder Consulting is a multi-national engineering and design consultancy. It has been in operation for over 150 years. Our Energy & Environment sector provides integrated safety, environmental and engineering consultancy in the energy sector, space sector, defence sector and the built environment.
Tell us some of the greatest challenges you find yourself facing within your sector currently?
Our greatest single challenge is developing resource numbers to ensure continued high quality delivery on secured work, and to allow us to capitalise on excellent growth opportunities. We have a strong track record of investing in staff to create our own talent, and are now actively supplementing this with external recruitment to satisfy levels of demand.
What characteristics have set your company apart from others that have been the key to your success?
Our strategy has been two fold – to fully understand our clients, so that we can advise and deliver what they need; and to continually maintain a high standard of technical excellence. The two components together have contributed to our success. I am also very fortunate to lead a team of people who are exceptionally knowledgeable and who really care about the clients they work for and the work that they do.
What is next for Hyder Consulting in the next 5 years?
We are a very dynamic company and are always looking ahead – in fact our vision is to be the next evolution in engineering design and consultancy. The growth, investment and innovation taking place in our main sectors (energy, property, transportation, utilities), as well as the ever increasing focus on sustainability and solutions that are environmentally responsible, have resulted in a robust pipeline. As a business, we are focused on delivering for our clients, which will lead to growth, and to ensuring that we are a workplace where our people enjoy the way they are doing and where they can fulfil their potential.
Can you tell me some of the opportunities you have available to graduates at your company?
Hyder has an outstanding and industry recognised graduate programme, which we call the Steps To Excellence Programme. STEP forms the basis of training that all of our graduates receive, and it is supplemented by discipline-specific technical training in all areas. We give our graduates meaningful workload and responsibility from an early stage, and we know this is welcomed. As a functionally diverse, multi-national organisation, we can offer our graduates a really stimulating start to their careers, which can then go down a number of defined career routes.
Which qualities do you find yourself looking for in people that you hire?
I am always looking for people who are focused on excellence, driven to succeed, open to new ideas, results orientated and mobile, so that staff can respond to opportunities anywhere in our business. This is a win-win way of working, because it helps us to meet business needs at the same time as providing ambitious staff with great opportunities for personal and professional development.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love the diversity of the jobs that we work on – quite literally everything from designing satellite components to conducting ecological surveys – and the fact that I get to work with such an intelligent group of people.
What was the most important thing you learnt (in or out of class) whilst at school or university?
The first major life lesson I learnt at university is that a remarkable amount can be achieved through personal focus, tenacity and courage of your convictions. The second thing is that truly great things are achieved when motivated people work together with a common goal. And that’s the kind of environment I seek to create in my business.
What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?
The best piece of career advice I ever received was to focus on hearts and minds of the team and securing good quality sales, and that the rest will look after itself. That has generally proven to be the case!
Can you tell me one high point and one low point of your career?
The highpoint of my career to date was being appointed to run ESR Technology when this specialist safety and reliability engineering business was acquired by Hyder in June 2011. I am proud to have worked with the ESR management team to return the business to profit, and subsequently form the basis of the Energy and Environment sector.
What advice would you give to someone who dreams of having a career like yours?
My advice for anyone seeking a career like mine is to always do the best you can in any given role. Doing a really good job typically does not go unnoticed and means that you get the opportunity to take on new developmental challenges.