THIS week’s High Flyer is Alistair Quinn, programme manager for Renewable Engine, a ground-breaking cross-border research and innovation ‘supercluster’, which will deliver focused research and innovation support to companies specialising in renewable energy and advanced manufacturing.
What was your first job?
While at school and university I worked as a part-time warehouse operative, loading and unloading freight from HGVs.
What qualifications do you have?
I hold an MEng degree in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering and have just completed a PhD. On top of this I have a number of professional qualifications including PRINCE2 and a Level 5 Extended Diploma in Management & Leadership.
What do you attribute your success to?
I believe in hard work and that often short-term sacrifices have to be made for long-term success.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I would say I’m an ambitious individual with an ability to build a rapport with a wide range of people.
Who do you look up to in business?
I have been lucky enough early in my career to work directly for Sir William Wright, who founded what is now known as Wrightbus. His passion for engineering and his ability to keep on the pulse of innovation is inspiring.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
Good communication is key; I think it’s really important to keep people informed of what’s going on and be clear on your expectations.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would that be?
Small and medium sized firms makes up the majority of Northern Ireland’s business landscape and often due to the pressures they are under it can be more difficult to form collaborations. I would make that process easier as I believe it leads to more innovation.
What website or app could you not do without?
I find myself increasingly relying on Twitter to keep on top of trends and breaking news stories.
What was the last book you read?
Jensen Button’s autobiography 'Life to the Limit'.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have a great passion for sport and love to attend major sporting events when I can, especially when they provide an opportunity to travel. I’ve been to a Champions League Final in Wembley, a Six Nations game in Rome, an Ashes test match in Cardiff, a Red Sox game in Boston and the Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko world heavyweight title fight amongst others.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I like to keep fit and active and I'm involved in this through playing amateur level football and, of recent years, training in my local CrossFit gym. This has exposed me to new training methods from learning Olympic weightlifting techniques through to gymnastic movements.