McMenon Engineering Services CEO Anand Puthran tells BQ about his plans for the Workington-based business and how leadership is about encouraging – and supporting – those around you.
What does McMenon Engineering do?
We are a premier manufacturer and global supplier of flow and temperature measurement instrumentation based in Workington.
McMenon specialises in differential pressure flow meters offering orifice plates, averaging pitot tubes, wedge meters, nozzles, Venturi meters (topside and subsea) and variable area flow meters. As part of our diversification strategy, McMenon now also has ultrasonic flowmeters and Coriolis flow meters as part of its offerings.
Our temperature range offer a variety of engineered-to-requirement products that include in-pipe sensors within a thermowell system, surface mount sensors and multi-point sensors.
Beyond oil and gas, our markets include the wider industrial sector, such as chemical processing, food and beverage, and we plan to broaden our product reach into the nuclear, automotive and aeronautical sectors.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I am the founder shareholder (along with two other investors) and CEO of McMenon Engineering Services. My primary roles include leading the business, inspiring the team, ensuring we deliver the best product possible and sourcing additional opportunities including collaborations and growth by acquisition.
I have a first-class team that I can rely on at McMenon. I trust our team and ensure they have the right tools and environment to do the job. We’re creating an empowering culture, with passionate people looking to be the best they can be.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
Originally from India, I continued my career in the UK graduating with an MBA from Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University in 2003.
My first role was within the educational sector, encouraging students from various parts of the world to study in the UK.
I was then contacted by an SME in the oil and gas sector, Online Electronics, to work with the MD to develop and support the business growth ambitions, which I did for seven years.
I wanted to understand more about working for multinational companies, so I joined ABB as general manager at the Workington-based product manufacturing unit (what is now McMenon Engineering Services). I was happy in the role and a career development plan was in place.
However, the loss of my father – an inspiring figure for me – prompted me look at my options and, specifically, to consider a call to take the MD role at EFC Group in Aberdeen. I spent two years in that role and developed further interest in investments, private equity and boardroom thinking and turnaround operations.
When I left, I resolved that my next role would be as a leader, in an investment capacity. I contacted ABB to discuss the possibility of acquiring their Workington product manufacturing unit, which I had previously managed.
I always thought the Workington operations had significant development potential as a stand-alone entity. I’ve great respect for ABB for listening and requiring me to go through a stringent process. We got there in the end through perseverance. I take great pride in acquiring a world-class facility that is a global supplier of differential pressure flow measurement and temperature measurement products.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Conviction, communication and confidence. Leadership is primarily, about the wellbeing and achievements of the team; that becomes your success.
Leaders should train their minds to respond not react. There is uncertainty in any business and the conviction of a leader when communicated effectively calms and brings a sense of certainty and confidence in the team.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
The acquisition of the division from ABB took more than 15 months. Rightly, ABB wanted detailed information about our plans. We got there, but it took a huge amount of time and effort. I am proud of what I have achieved as an individual and as a professional. I still feel the same excitement and passion when talking about the experience of making my first acquisition, which is a world-class business from a world-leading organisation.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A police officer. The principles of leadership and supporting others were inculcated in me from a very young age by my father mostly by sharing ancestral stories. I guess it runs in the family.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Too often I’ve seen people overly focus on problems and who’s responsible, rather than on root causes and solutions. I believe in the old adage ‘beneath every problem lies an opportunity’. We have regular ‘lessons learned’ sessions at McMenon to identify root causes and solutions. We are constantly looking to do better and improve – solving issues is a very positive process, even if the ride can sometimes be bumpy.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
The ambition includes both organic and inorganic growth at McMenon. We are broadening our product offerings by maximising 70 years of engineering heritage at the Workington facility. We have firm plans to diversify into other sectors and expand our geographical reach.
We will look to collaborate and acquire businesses that can help us grow and create new opportunities. In 5 years, I’d like the name McMenon to be an instantly recognisable name for quality and reliability across a broad range of sectors.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Don’t feel awkward or guilty about being ambitious. I freely admit I’m ambitious, but that’s different from greed. I’m looking to see how far I can go; to test myself. Ambition connected to conviction will help you succeed and move the business forward.
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