Staff Profile: Nicholas Sharwood-Smith, Lead Inspection Coordinator
In the latest edition of our Meet the Team series, we introduce Edinburgh-based Nicholas Sharwood-Smith, who joined Rovco in March 2022 as Lead Inspection Coordinator. An ice hockey playing foodie at heart, Nicholas is a key member of our Inspection, Repair and Maintenance team, and we caught up with him to learn more about his career background, what attracted him to join the company, and what he thinks makes Rovco stand out from the crowd.
Tell us a bit about what your job as Lead Inspection Coordinator involves?
I provide end-to-end support for our inspection services – the “I” in IRM. That starts with getting involved in project tenders, including working out how long the work will take, the technology and methodology that will be deployed and personnel required. After the work begins, I’ll monitor progress throughout, reporting and checking project deliverables at the conclusion.
One of the priorities at Rovco is to develop our inspection service and I was its first member of staff brought in to support this. We are looking at ways to develop our methods, assessing the scope of the department and our people, identifying where we need to grow our team and how we work with other departments in the business. A big focus for the company and for me personally is looking at ways to leverage our technology offerings across all we do. That means working closely with the development teams in Vaarst, our sister company.
What is your career background and how did it prepare you for working at Rovco?
Prior to joining Rovco, I spent 15 years as an inspection coordinator for a Tier 1 subsea services company. That gave me in-depth knowledge of the offshore industry, particularly in relation to inspection and survey work which gave me an excellent grounding for the job I now do with Rovco.
What attracted you to come to work at Rovco?
The opportunity to work for a growing company and to be in position to help shape the future of the company, and to be able to collaborate with all the other talented people that Rovco has attracted. Collectively we have brought all of our learnings and experiences from previous jobs to the renewables sector, so it kind of feels like a bit of new frontier and its quite exciting to be part of that.
In your opinion what makes Rovco stand out from the crowd?
I think a big part of it is the R&D being done by our sister company, Vaarst. That gives us a unique differentiator and a competitive edge because we are bringing that technology to our clients and their projects. Because we work so closely with Vaarst, we have a feedback loop so our experience and knowledge, and feedback from our clients about what they would like to see, feeds directly into development. We can put that into practice quickly and I think that’s fairly unique.
The technology we use is industry leading, so while other companies are carrying out “business as usual” practices with some off-the shelf solutions, we are developing solutions specifically to meet client needs.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
One of the most rewarding things is knowing that my contributions are making a difference and that everyone in the company is pulling in the same direction. There is a real team spirit, with a great deal of hard work and commitment from everyone involved and that’s one of the great things about working at Rovco. Everyone understands the goals and what we’re trying to do.
We’ve recently been involved in management training. The company has got a very progressive, agile approach which is very refreshing to someone who came from a big established company. They really want to bring out the best in people and that’s something that comes from the top.
What would you like prospective clients to know about Rovco?
It’s a relatively young company and relatively small, but the people who work here have a huge amount of experience and have been in the industry for a long time. The company is focused on recruiting the very best people, so despite being a young company we have a team made up of some of the best people in the industry and that puts us in a very strong position.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the industry today and how can Rovco help address these?
This industry faces the same challenges as other sectors and that centres on being more resource efficient. As a company, we’re focused on renewables, so we are part of the drive to decarbonise and focus more on renewable energies. But it’s not just about installing and using renewable sources of electricity and energy, it’s about becoming more efficient by changing the way we work. The technologies we bring to the industry and put into practice are helping achieve that, so part of our approach in everything is to identify more efficient ways to work.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like mountain biking and I play ice hockey. One of the benefits of moving from offshore to onshore working is having more of a set routine and to be able to spend more time doing other things. Rovco has a very good attitude towards work-life balance, so although everyone’s very busy, the company culture is that they accept that people have a life outside work.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I’m a bit of foodie – cooking and eating. I cook a lot of Asian foods – very hot and spicy sometimes – and stir fries, not always the healthiest but it tastes nice!
Follow Nicholas on LinkedIn here
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