THIS week’s High Flyer is Thomas Kelly, operations manager at Northern Ireland Water Alpha Limited
What was your first job?
I have great memories of my first job, making up the newspapers in a busy newsagent, first thing before school. I really enjoyed the job satisfaction of a successful morning.
What qualifications do you have?
I have an MBA from Ulster University. A bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s in Composite Materials from the University of Manchester. I am also a chartered engineer, scientist and manager.
What do you attribute your success to?
I love a challenge. My career has presented me with some complicated projects and situations over the years, and I have learned to adapt in order to succeed.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I am dedicated, loyal and I’ll give anything a go.
Who do you look up to in business?
There are lots of great leaders in the water industry who I look up to. Being part of the Institute of Water Rising Star’s programme this year, I got an opportunity to meet these people at close quarters and gain an insight into how they became the best in their field. NI Water is hosting this year’s annual conference in Titanic Belfast, where many of these leaders, including Sir John Parker and Leo Johnson will share their knowledge and experience.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I am incredibly fortunate to have such an excellent professional team. I trust the knowledge and experience of the engineers that operate our assets and I empower them to make decisions. We deliver Northern Ireland’s most essential service and that is always our priority.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
Industry is changing faster than ever and we need to better equip young people with the relevant technical skills, personal resilience and the capability to change.
What website or app could you not do without?
Whatsapp. I have groups for everything. As with all of the best ideas, its simplicity is its success.
What was the last book you read?
Darren Clarke’s ‘An Open Book’; there’s a lot of genuine lessons about life’s highs and lows.
What car do you drive?
I drive a Volvo XC60, but believe an electric car is the way to go.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I used to write film reviews for a regional newspaper and miss all the free tickets.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I am a Leicester City fan, it consumes a lot of my emotional energy! The atmosphere at the King Power Stadium is unique, and I try to get over for a match whenever I can.