“Spotlight” on Ian Purchon

MiCiM’s team is ever expanding and we’re thrilled to announce one of our newest employees who has joined the business this year; Ian Purchon. Ian is well respected within the industry and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Mission Critical sector. Get to know more about Ian by reading his spotlight responses below;

Tell us a bit about your career and what you’re bringing to your new role:

I was a Wimpey group trainee (before they morphed into Carrillion) and they provided me with excellent training. However within a year or so of graduating I joined a city based fit out contractor and then Stanhope Interior (ISG) a couple of years later. It was a good move and I rode the wave of an ever expanding Fit Out sector becoming  Divisional Director when I was 36 thanks mainly to the work I did with Credit Suisse First Boston and the growth that brought to the company. After 18 years I left and moved to Australia where I had a break for a few years. I then started helping ISG when they had various issues around the world, working in Singapore, Geneva, Moscow and the Netherlands. My hunger for work was reignited and I joined Mace as  Construction Director in 2013 and was a part of their group Safety Leadership Team, a role I particularly enjoyed. Whilst I’d built plenty of large IT suites during my time in Fit Out I began to specialise in Data centres over the last 7 years or so becoming Campus Director for the Midenmeer project in the Netherlands for the worlds leading software provider and working on hyperscale  DC’s for the largest social media company and the leading search engine provider over the last few years. I’ve been so fortunate in my career to date and I’d like to think that I can bring the benefit of that experience combined with a true passion for safety and delivery. I’ve also learned that you need an effective team, free to express themselves to deliver complex projects. It’s about all of us.

You have had a long and a highly pressurised career – what would you say are the key strengths you bring to a team?

I’d like to think I’ve built up a fair bit of experience over the years but I’m still learning every day. I’ve already mentioned the team, it really is about all of us and I try to get the best skills and chemistry amongst the team. I then try and play people to their strengths and keep the team performing to its optimum potential.

What are the main challenges in the Mission Critical sector?

Understanding the requirements of our customers and delivering on them whilst recognising the pressures that they are under. If we get that right we are heading in the right direction. We can then focus on the technical and programme challenges that we face day in day out but if we get the sequence right and work as hard as we can to stick to it, we’re always increasing our odds of a successful delivery.

What kind of skills does one need to have to enable a career in the Mission Critical sector that spans for 34 years?

Resilience is important! But planning for success and spotting issues before they occur is vital. I also really like people so that helps a lot. A fairly small group of really committed people can achieve remarkable things and have some fun whilst doing it. Never stop always keep moving forward. But one of the greatest learning events for me was when I realised that a thirst for success motivates you every bit as much as a fear of failure, it just feels so much better! It also allows you to sleep past 3.19 in the morning.

Over the course of your career, what would you say was your most challenging project?

I’ve had a few! I mentioned that I spent some time becoming involved in projects with issues and they can generally be solved if you just keep going, work hard, think hard and don’t give up. The most challenging times for me have been dealing with difficult people. If someone doesn’t share your values or is actively disruptive that can really derail a project. I’ve also learned the importance of “culture” within an organisation or project.

Is there any cutting edge technology which you are excited about, which will be at the forefront of the industry in the next few years?

I’m really excited about the potential for much greener DC’s in the future, the potential to combine renewables with improving battery technology and clean hydrogen powered fuel cells to create a truly resilient truly green infrastructure to power and cool a DC really excites me. To top it off waste heat could be diverted to local homes and businesses to get the maximum benefit from the clean energy used. Fossil fuels are still too cheap and generators still the most reliable back up power systems but that can’t continue if we are to achieve a carbon neutral economy. Todays masters of the universe have the resources to pioneer that change (Challenge.. work out how many miles you could drive a family diesel car with the diesel used to do a 24hr load test on a single 2.5Mw generator.)

Are there any skill/formulae/tech you learned in your formative years you still utilise today?

Don’t stop, keep going, you will get there.

As you are always heavily involved in the final push to complete a project, what are your coping mechanisms to deal with the pressurised environment you live in?

Make it as much fun as possible. As long as its all positive and focused on the delivery no one said it has to be miserable. It doesn’t feel too much like hard work then.

What is it that you enjoy about working with the MiCiM team?

I really like them. Everyone’s approachable and all of the people I’ve met to date have been incredibly welcoming and kind. I had some really good advice from a close friend and ex colleugue who said “they’re a really nice bunch of people” why wouldn’t you want to work with nice people? In addition to that the people here are extremely experienced and skilled, if I don’t know something, as I often don’t, its really easy to find out by asking someone.

After a busy working week, what do you do in your down time?

Spend time with family, cook, speak to friends and chill, I also try to exercise as I’ve come to realise you need to look after yourself and you can’t take your health for granted. Exercise helps clear the mind. I don’t always succeed!