How does the culture at Zuhlke support a project like this?
I would say that as a general cultural thing, everybody is interested and excited by doing things at scale. It’s a character of person who isn’t just interested in doing ordinary things. They’re motivated by doing things of consequence. So what you find is that even if people haven’t worked in an area before, they’ve probably been doing some digging or playing around in it. So, it was very easy to form a team of people who were interested and up to speed in this area.
Over and above government R&D funding, one of the big energy giants has provided people to help our project achieve more. Zuhlke has also invested, which demonstrates great commitment to the future, to secure more work with interesting engineering, design and business challenges, in topics that people care about themselves.
People can also see the potential of where this could go and how their skill set applies. It hasn’t been just in the UK. We’ve had collaboration from the international business too. It’s almost odd. Zuhlke was founded in the 60s with this electrical and mechanical engineering capability so it was designed from the get-go to be the right organisation to do this. People in the electricity industry know we’ve got it.
How does it make you feel working on a project like this?
This is a problem at a national and global scale, and we are working with people who recognise this. You don’t get to work on too many moonshot projects, and long after I’ve retired this will have a lasting benefit on society. It is a dream to be able to look back at your working career, see the impact you’ve made and say “yeah, I was involved in that”.
You don’t get to do significant things, without looking back to thank the people who have contributed over the years. It is fantastic that it is Zuhlke’s phone that rings, when a customer has a problem of scale or strategic importance that needs solving. We are only trusted to solve this generation’s biggest needs, because we ourselves are standing on the shoulders of those giants, who have built Zuhlke’s reputation for trust and capability over the years.