THIS week’s High Flyer is Ian Gordon, manager of Action Renewables Energy Association (AREA)
What was your first job?
After finishing school my very first role was at Danske Bank, although it would have been known as Northern Bank back then, as a cashier.
What qualifications do you have?
I hold a Certificate of Financial Services – ‘The Banking Exams’
To what do you attribute your success?
What has really helped me throughout my career is a willingness to accept change. In my early career this included being involved in Northern Bank’s change in opening hours to include Saturday mornings. The Bloomfield branch was one of the first to do so in Northern Ireland in the early 90s. Later in my career, the ability to be flexible helped me to transfer my skills inherited from banking and accounting to now trading Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and managing the Energy Association at Action Renewables.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Reliable, responsible, and completely dedicated to my workplace and the great team I am part of.
Who do you look up to in business?
It would have to be Arthur Guinness, a well-renowned entrepreneur from the 1700s. He invested £100 he inherited from a will into the four-acre site at St. James’s Gate, taking out a whopping 9,000-year lease and building the globally-renowned Guinness brand. Not to mention, I am quite fond of the odd pint of stout, but it always has to be a Guinness!
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
It is important to motivate and praise staff where appropriate. Alongside this, great training programmes, product knowledge and strong communication skills lead staff to providing excellent customer service and building lasting relationships.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
The Assembly at Stormont needs to be back up and running. There is a policy vacuum at present for the renewable energy sector leaving us with no targets beyond 2020, no vision and little appetite for new policy for renewable energy. This is why Action Renewables recently stepped forward with the launch of its policy document, “Proposal for a Renewable Future”. As part of my role with AREA, we have outlined a number of recommendations in the document to include: energy efficiency, green gas, renewable transport, security of supply, renewable heat and job security.
What website or app could you not do without?
Twitter is an excellent resource to keep up to speed on all topics and issues related to renewable energy.
What was the last book you read?
Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan. It’s an excellent read on how Ben Ryan coached Fiji to win Rugby Sevens gold at the Rio Olympics.
What car do you drive?
I currently drive a Vauxhall Astra, but am looking ahead at electric options available. I believe that cars running on biofuels and hydrogen will emerge soon based on growing interest in renewable alternatives.
Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I have been very active in sport over the years. I represented Northern Ireland golf in the now defunct Ford Home Internationals at the Belfry Hotel & Resort and played in Ryder Cup match play format. Going back to the early 80s, I also played for Bangor Grammar in the 1981 Rugby Schools Cup Final – we lost the match to an excellent Ballymena team, but it was a fantastic experience nonetheless.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Playing golf and watching the rugby. I also participate in the weekly parkrun and train regularly with Ward Park Runners, encouraged by some great coaches.