Darren Gilmour started his career with the Malcolm Group as a trainee plant operator in 1994. Today he’s Director of Plant at the firm. In the first of a new regular feature, Darren tells Project Plant about his proudest moments, hopes for the future and why it’s dangerous to go walking around muddy building sites in freezing temperatures…
Q) How did you get involved in the plant industry?
A) I was involved from a very early age with plant machinery on farms and started working on a local farm in Houston when I was 12, where I learned to operate machinery.
A chance meeting with Donald Malcolm at a wedding led me to start work with Malcolm Plant. I joined in 1994 as a trainee plant operator with Jim Anderson at Malcolm Plant’s original location in Brookfield.
I later progressed onto site management. During my time at Malcolm’s I have worked our construction division as Site Manager, Projects Manager and Contracts Manager before moving back into the Plant Hire division to my current role as Director of Plant.
Q) What does your job entail?
A) My current role involves managing the day-to-day running of Malcolm Plant, which includes; fleet maintenance management, fleet renewal program, hire and sales control, admin and credit control management, heavy haulage, heavy haulage and transport management. The main aim going forward is to expand our existing customer base and continue to provide a first class service to our existing customers and any new ones that come on board.
Q) Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A) I’ve been given lots of advice throughout my career from many different people but the best and most well-remembered was from Malcolm Construction’s Commercial Director, Iain Good, and that was that every day’s a school day and you should always listen to older, wiser heads.
Q) Most memorable moments from your career?
A) Probably the most memorable was progressing into Site Management at 25 years-of-age and another and probably my proudest achievement career-wise to date is my recent appointment to Director of Plant.
There has also been many challenges in my career but the biggest was trying to keep people in jobs when the construction industry took the hit during the recession, which was an extremely difficult time. Thankfully things seem to be steadily improving which is good news for everyone.
Q) If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A) From past and current experience, I would like to see more training schemes introduced to encourage youngsters to get involved in specialist plant training and make it their career of choice.
Q) Any funny anecdotes from your career?
A) During my time as Contracts Manager, I used to walk the sites early in the morning to gather my thoughts ahead of the site meeting. One day it had been snowing and the walk took me through what I thought was muck but turned out to be a slurry bund.
So I found myself gathering a lot more than my thoughts as I was up to my waist in slurry, at 7am, with temperatures at -2 degrees. After struggling to get myself out, I had to walk to the drying room, strip off then head back home for change!
Q) What advice would you give to youngsters considering a career in construction?
A) Having started in plant and worked in different areas of the construction industry before returning to plant, I would say it’s a great industry to take up a career in. If you show commitment, have the right work ethic and the ability to learn there are opportunities to move up the ladder.
Q) How do you relax when you’re not working?
A) When we’ve got the weather I enjoy playing golf. That’s always a good way to relax. My three boys also play football so I like to go along to support and watch them play.
Q) Best and worst thing about your job?
A) Hmm, this is a tricky one! Some of the best things about the job are overall customer satisfaction and the sense of achievement, knowing it’s been a job well done. And definitely the team of guys I work with, who make sure everything runs smoothly.
I know everything has good and bad points but for me there isn’t really a ‘worst part’ of the job. Maybe not being able to switch off your brain at rest times can be a little frustrating, but when your heart’s in something I suppose it comes with the territory.