Our latest interview is with Stewart Prentice, Project Manager, at TCE.
Where are you based within TCE & what are your key responsibilities?
I’m part of the projects team and my time and work is split between our head office in Northwich and the British Salt plant in Middlewich. I am currently responsible for delivering two major projects with a combined value of £23 million.
The first of these projects is the replacement of the existing steam boilers at British Salt. The new boilers will have a combined capacity of 72 MW and will arrive on site this Autumn. They will be installed in a new, purpose designed building. We are currently busy preparing the ground for the installation work.
The second project is the installation of a 40,000 ton per year carbon capture and utilisation plant. This will be the first of its kind in the UK and will capture carbon dioxide from the flue gases of the combined heat and power plant at our site in Winnington. The gas will then be purified, liquefied and used as a raw material in the production of Sodium Bicarbonate.
Where did you work previously and what has this brought to your current role?
This is my second spell at TCE. Originally, I worked for the company for over 8 years in project management and operations management roles, before leaving for new challenges in 2013. Towards the end of 2017, I re-joined to help project manage the company’s ambitious programme of capital projects. With exciting projects such as those mentioned above, I felt that this was opportunity not to be missed and I returned to TCE in February last year.
As project manager what are the main challenges that you face?
Keeping on programme and within budget is one of the greatest challenges a project manager faces. An over-running programme invariably costs more. It is essential for me to maintain an overall high level view of the project critical paths and sequencing, whilst supporting my team dealing with the ever changing immediate issues that arise on a daily basis.
Another challenge, and one which is a given, is to ensure that a safe working environment is maintained for all involved in the construction of the new plants. I am passionate about raising safety standards, leading by example, and have high expectations of my team to do the same.
How is today’s TCE different from when you first joined the company?’
Coming back to TCE has been like coming home, and yet at the same time a lot has changed for the better. The company is much more employee focussed that it was, and this is echoed in the results of its engagement surveys. Whilst being a leaner organisation, this has also made it more efficient.
How would you describe your contribution to the business?
I see myself as contributing to the ongoing success and long-term sustainability of TCE. My background within the organisation is a great advantage. I can look back with pride at the success of the Lostock Sodium Bicarbonate plant which I was responsible for designing and installing back in 2007-2009. I aim to be able to do the same with my current projects when the new plants are successfully commissioned.
What give you the greatest job satisfaction at TCE?
This has to be the wide variety of activities that my role involves. I could be meeting council officers regarding planning permission in the morning, and in the afternoon I could be on site discussing construction methods or dealing with supplier questions.
Having a great team around me is also crucial to job satisfaction, and I have some fantastic colleagues here at TCE.
Want to find out more about our people? Read more of our Meet the Team series here: