With Lord Combustion Services going from strength to strength, we speak to director Emma Tibbetts about her role within the company, her work overseeing the projects team and her hopes to return to her favourite US destination following the Covid-19 lockdowns.
When did you join Lord Combustion Services and what are the main responsibilities in your role?
I have been with the company since 2014. I look after tendering for project works, from the preparation and submission stages, through to managing the job if we are successful. Project works are either one-off or additional installations, or other major pieces of work.
Who works on your team?
In the Lord office, we have a projects team, made up of myself and fellow director Mark Chapman, contracts manager Pete Drew and contracts engineer Matthew Smith. In our weekly meetings we go through the last week’s progress and look at the opportunities open to us, which could be a tender for a new school boiler room through to changing the valve on a site somewhere. We ensure each enquiry is allocated to someone and is seen through to a competitive submission.
What is the Lord approach to project work?
We look at several things, including the size of the job, whether we have worked with the client before and if not, we research the new client’s needs, before we allocate someone available for the work. We take every client’s needs very seriously and ensure the work is done, wherever possible, at the optimum time for the customer to be able to maintain their services.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your work?
Traditionally we are quiet during the winter months but the Covid pressures meant we had to work hard to prioritise the incoming requests, while ensuring the health and safety of our own staff was always protected. We work with a lot of NHS sites, so we had to use temporary boiler and heating installations to maintain their service while repairs were carried out or replacements were introduced. Continuity was vital for so many of our clients so there was a lot of careful work carried out throughout the lockdowns and peak NHS pressure times.
Where did you work earlier in your career and which qualifications have you achieved?
I did my apprenticeship with a company which became part of Interserve and have always worked in and around this industry. I worked for a company which makes boilers and then a company which made large commercial chimneys. My qualifications include an HNC in building services engineering. When I started work so much of the job was done by hand, but the growth of digital technology has brought massive change. The pace has become quicker, and we are able to react faster as a business. People want a fast response and that is something at Lord which we are proud to do.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the variety. One day you can be in a boiler room and the next in meetings with clients, so you must learn the different roles required. I like being part of the process from taking the initial enquiry, through to being on site with the fitters and then overseeing the invoicing.
What has been the most memorable occasion where you have helped a client?
A few years ago, we did some work for a convent which was a new situation for us. We changed the boiler in their infirmary during the winter months. There were older and vulnerable people who needed to be looked after, so at no time during the work did we stop the heating or lose the hot water for the building. The clients were involved and interested in the technical way in what we were doing the work. The nuns who attended the meetings were interested in our involvement, which made it a nice, client-led team experience for everyone who took part. They were very accommodating and open with us.
What are your interests outside of work?
I like spending time with my family, including my 12-year-old son who is highly active with sport. I like to travel, which I am looking forward to doing again. We really like the east coast of America, particularly New England and Boston. We have visited the area many times and are looking forward to going back again.