Operations director, The Edinburgh Boiler Company
What does the company do?
We cover full boiler installations, servicing and breakdowns and have recently expanded our renewables division as our focus also turns to heat pumps and solar panels.
Where is it based?
Hardengreen Industrial Estate, Eskbank, Dalkeith.
Briefly outline your working day
Two days are never the same but a typical working day would see me in the office at 7.30am to catch up with the boss and prepare for numerous meetings with suppliers, potential suppliers, sub-contractors, etc. A key part of the day is managing my team to ensure we maintain our customer service and I know who is going where and what they are doing to. I also deal with any issues relating to installations. I’ll get home and take the dog out for a walk then go to the gym. After that, I’ll catch up with emails and phone calls from the day I’ve just had as there’s normally so much going on.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business right now?
How to future-proof the business as we transition away from fossil fuels. There is a lot of talk about air source heat pumps, hydrogen boilers and electric boilers, so some careful decisions need to be made as we move forward.
What should be done to overcome these challenges?
It’s imperative that we upskill our workforce as renewables technology is relatively new in the UK and we need to have everyone geared up for the transition. We opened the Energy Training Academy this month and that is going to play a major role for us.
Have the Scottish and UK Governments called it right on taxes?
Taxes are taxes as far as I’m concerned and we just have to get on with it.
Has Brexit impacted on your business?
It has certainly affected our supply chain, and those problems filter down and effect everything. We just have to try to stay on top of things as best we can. There’s been a general shortage of components and I think manufacturers are having a real challenge in getting goods into the country now.
Do you support plans for a workplace parking levy?
Generally speaking, I think we need to look at all ideas to help the country become a greener place.
What action would you like to see from your local authority?
We need more support from our local authorities on upskilling staff into renewables and added support in our journey to net zero. A lot of funding is currently going to bigger business but there needs to be more support for start-ups in training facilities and new centres to meet the demands and our goals to get to net zero.
Do you use public transport?
We are well served by rail links here and I regularly travel up by train from my home in Galashiels.
What do you drive? Is it petrol, diesel or electric? What would make you switch?
At the moment I drive a petrol car for personal use. I’d be more than happy to switch to electric if the rural infrastructure improved as at the moment there aren’t that many charging points where I live. At EBC we are looking to expand our fleet of electric vehicles, and we are on the lookout for vans that would cope with the mileage we do on a daily basis.
Do you favour a four-day working week?
If it doesn’t impact on our service to customers and we can still do everything we need to do, then I’m all for it. We are very conscious of our employees’ wellbeing and want to be as flexible as possible when it comes to a work-life balance.
What is your company doing to support the green agenda? Have you increased or decreased your commitment?
The Edinburgh Boiler Company was the first member of the STV Green Fund. Our continued commitment to the green agenda was demonstrated with our £2m investment in our renewables division. Our industry is changing at a rate of knots and we need to keep up with the times.
Are you a purpose-led company? If so, how?
Our purpose was always to make boilers easy and provide the best possible local service to our customers. However, as our industry is changing, so are we, and we now feel a great sense of responsibility to contribute to lowering our carbon footprint. Some of the things we are doing include opening a training centre to start the transition to upskill our existing workforce in Scotland, while we also continue to plant a tree for every boiler we install.
Do you think this is the right time to call an independence referendum?
Freedom of choice is an important thing for people. Businesses need to roll with the punches at the moment and support whatever party is in power.
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