A week in the life of our Commercial Director, Dave Walker
As we embark on a campaign to recruit more site technicians to work on a variety of projects throughout the UK, it gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up with our commercial director, Dave Walker and reflect on his career and experiences at Detectronic. Dave has just spent a week staying at the stunning Sclerder Abbey, a former Carmelite monastery located between Looe and Polperro in Cornwall, after launching a trial contract with our LIDoTT® Smart Sensors in the area.
What does a commercial director actually do?
“It’s my job to spot new opportunities to then discuss with our sales team. That might be a new vision or a different platform for the business, but it will always be a commercial opportunity that works for the common good of the company and will contribute to its continued growth and success.
“I also get to work alongside every other member of our team to support, encourage and inspire them and that’s one of my favourite elements.
“This week, I have spent time training some of our new recruits and that’s always rewarding for me. One lad, Chris Scullard, is only 19 years old, he’s new to the water industry and it took me back to starting in the industry at the same age. He was enthusiastic and his relish for the job was clear; maybe he’ll have my job one day! Employee retention and wellbeing is vital, and I want everyone to enjoy working at Detectronic. We have a real family business ethos here at Detectronic and I’m very proud of that.”
What are the perks of the job?
“Apart from getting to travel the globe (pre-pandemic!) and eat in some of the nicest restaurants, I get to spend most of my time with other people be it clients or colleagues. Being a ‘people person’ this suits me down to the ground. I love getting to know clients and understanding more about them. It’s often very humbling and I’m always looking for ways to help people get the best out of themselves. I also get to solve problems. If a client has an issue, I want Detectronic to be part of the solution. By building excellent working relationships with clients (listening more than talking is key!), we are always able to contribute to the solution and that never ceases to put a smile on my face.”
Are there any negatives?
“Sometimes, when I’m away from home, it can get a bit lonely, and I miss my family back in Sheffield. I often have to travel to a job on a Sunday too – like I have done this week, to be here to start the contract. But that’s counterbalanced by getting to spend time in this beautiful part of the UK and spending time with clients and colleagues, many of whom I consider as friends.”
What does the trial contract entail?
“The South West of England has one of the most challenging networks to manage in the UK. Not only do they have the longest coastline, the terrain of Devon and Cornwall is very hilly so surface run-off can be torrential and devastating for the environment and residents alike.
“To help the water company better manage the network we’re installing many LIDoTT® Smart Sensors as strategic nodes. This low-cost sensor can provide continuous data in surcharge conditions utilising both level and pressure sensors.
“When the sewer network is stressed during storm weather events or by blockages caused by network failure, the LIDoTT® Sensor will automatically switch sensing modes from ultrasonic to pressure to deliver continuous, seamless high quality network management data. All the data is input into our predictive analytics software and, over time, machine learning will provide up to 48 hours advance warning of a potential issue.
“This trial will benefit everyone who lives, works or visits Devon and Cornwall and that fact became clearly apparent to me when I visited Watergate Bay this week. As I was about to leave, local surfers were starting to arrive to catch the mid-afternoon waves. Whether you’re a surfer, swimmer or simply sitting or walking on the beach, the last thing you want to discover is sewage. The implementation of a strategic network of our LIDoTT® Sensors will prevent any spills or pollutions and make the region’s beaches even cleaner and more enticing to everyone – that made me feel very happy. That’s what my job is all about.”
Where have you been staying this week?
“The beautiful Sclerder Abbey dating back to 1843. There are many great Hotels and guest houses in Cornwall, but even in normal times when the restaurants and bars are open it can get a bit monotonous. After a long busy day, sometimes all you want is peace and quiet. I phoned the Chemin Neuf community who are the current custodians of the Abbey and asked if they could accommodate me. I was fortunate to be given my own private quarters which included a large dining room named after St Ignatius, two small lounge areas with wall-to-wall books (no TV), a modest kitchen and a private chapel. As I am also a priest with the Church of England, as well as a commercial director, I got up at 7am every day and took part in worship. After a long day working across the breadth of Cornwall, it was lovely to take a stroll in the Abbey’s gardens and orchard before having dinner and a pint of local cider. The community produces a beautiful apple juice and chutney from its own orchard in the grounds which made a great accompaniment to my ham sandwiches! It was a truly stunning place to relax and unwind after the working day and I feel extremely privileged to have had the chance to stay – I’ll be back!”
Finally, what would you like someone who’s interested in applying to know?
“In addition to the interesting work on offer, there are also lots of learning development opportunities. I can highly recommend a career in the water industry, so if you bring your talent and ambition to the table, then we’ll surround you with a professional team that will help you grow your career.”
If you’re interested in joining our Field Services department, please visit the Detectronic careers page.