20 Jan “Spotlight” on Marc Beattie
After our recent announcement about the changes to our leadership team, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity for everyone to get to know our newly appointed Managing Director a bit better. Read Marc’s thoughts below:
Tell us a bit about your career and what you’re bringing to your new role:
I started out over 30 years ago as an engineering apprentice in VSEL (Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd) and worked at my trade on and off for 15 years between doing stints at college, and distance learning at university. I joined Como, then latterly what was to become Mace Technology to focus in the DC market in 2006/2007. Since then I was involved in many of the DC rollouts in the UK for various clients at the forefront of the DC market, I was fortunate to meet some great people during my time there, and on one project Dan, Chris and I started talking and decided to leave Mace and form MiCiM. What I will bring to the role, is a difficult question to answer as I think you adapt and evolve as you change roles during your career, but I think your core values remain – and for me that is – loyalty, integrity, honesty and pragmatism.
You have had a long and a highly pressurised career – what would you say are the key strengths you bring to a team?
I would say my key strengths are (others may disagree): common sense, drive, decision making and leadership coupled with clear thinking, straight talking and a sense of humour.
What are the main challenges in the Mission Critical sector?
These are probably echoed by most clients and business leaders – resource is a key challenge, as historically over a significant period there has been a shortfall of people entering the construction and engineering industries. Also data centre programmes are always a challenge, as there is always significant pressure throughout the project hierarchy to provide lettable space as quickly as possible – the key part to any programme is the preconstruction phase, which is often shortened to accommodate the end date, these type of decisions rarely end well!
What kind of skills does one need to have to enable a career in the Mission Critical sector that spans for 15 years?
Drive/energy, positive attitude and being able to work well within a team whilst under pressure – everything else you can learn on the job!
Over the course of your career, what would you say was your most challenging project?
There are two projects which stand out – a 6MW data centre in Stockley Park, where we went from a standing start with internal piling and a new mezzanine floor installation in an existing fallow warehouse with a stage 2 design which was fairly fluid throughout and completed the project in 36 weeks and involved working most weekends. The other project was in East India dock which was a new build DC over 7 floors. The project was a challenge due to the logistics of building in a small footprint with tower cranes, and a very quick MEP delivery.
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?
Since I have been in the industry software integration has been a consistent growth area, with 3D modelling – which has been around a long time (we were was using it whilst we were apprentices to build submarines in the early 90’s) evolving into BIM – this will no doubt continue to evolve. However more recently I saw a demonstration of immersion cooling at DCW, which piqued my interest and we are now working with a client in the Nordics potentially using this type of solution. It will be interesting to see if more clients turn to this form of cooling.
Are there any skill/formulae/tech you learned in your formative years you still utilise today?
Always treat people how you would wish to be treated – be fair. I used to use Pythagoras theorem a lot when I was a tradesman a2 + b2 = c2, and Q = m Cp dT when I was showing off how clever I was as an MEP manager (it rarely worked).
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?
Probably less involved these days, but everyone copes differently, some people relish the pressure and need it – Chris Jarman (otherwise he does literally nothing – sorry Chris). I tend to get more motivated when the pressure increases, however it is something you get used to over time, (but it’s not enjoyable), and I think maintaining focus and following process generally helps you through the mire. My coping strategy is that I can switch off at home, and turn on my PC and do some gaming. It is something we all need to keep an eye on, mental health awareness is such an important part of our well being which is often ignored in the construction sector. Previously to reduce pressure on a project which had a really intensive programme, we deployed more managers onto the project than you would normally – this seemed to assist with the project but I am not sure whether or not it had a positive impact on the employees mental health wellbeing.
What is it that you enjoy about working with the MiCiM team?
We are in the main, a group of friends who have decided to come to work together. I genuinely feel we all share common values, and when we bring people into the business – we try to make sure they have the same mindset of being open, honest, collaborative and fair.
After a busy working week, what do you do in your down time?
Hmm probably many people don’t know this, but I have been known to spend some time on my PC to do some ‘serious work’ (gaming). I also enjoy watching Rangers play (particularly this season). When not in lockdown I like trying to keep healthy by going to the gym regularly and enjoy swimming and dining out with my wife Rachel and son Alex. I love spending time with my family and look forward to being able to travel again with them when we’re allowed. I also enjoy the odd game of football down at the oak tree (knees dependant) with Alex which occurs more frequently these days with lockdown in place – I may yet play for Rangers, my left foot has never been better… I do enjoy a drink, but as most of MiCiM will tell you – I’m useless at drinking, I can only manage two drinks before needing to go to bed – I never got my Dad’s genes with regards drinking ability…