Derek Jones

We are delighted to have had the opportunity to sit down with Derek Jones, Associate Director of Installation in the Fuel and Power team, who brings over 40 years of valuable experience in the Fuel and Oil industry. We caught up with Derek to find out more about him, his extensive skillset, and what the best part of the job is.

How did you come to be working in the Fuel and Oil industry?

I was lucky to have a very good apprenticeship as a shipwright/boat builder which was a seven-year apprenticeship. Nowadays, obtaining a three-year apprenticeship is considered lucky. Since our workplace was a small yard, we all had to possess multiple skills, starting from the drawing board, and progressing through various stages of boat construction. This included tasks such as fabrication work, welding, pipe fitting, hydraulic systems, engine fitting, fuel systems, electrical work, woodwork, and commissioning, among others. I thoroughly enjoyed this job, but it came to an end during the recession in the late 80s and early 90s.

My subsequent role was with British Gas as a welder/pipefitter, where I delved into the more serious aspects of the industry. This involved working on high-pressure gas mains, high-pressure testing, and adhering to all safety aspects associated with flammable gases. Compliance with a ‘code of practice’ was essential, and today, it would involve following method statements and risk assessments. My next role came with British Gas as a welder/pipefitter this is where I learned the serious side of the industry working on high-pressure gas mains, high-pressure testing, and all the safety aspects that are involved with flammable gases.

 

Later, I worked for a petroleum company, where my responsibilities included installing and decommissioning fuel tanks and pumps. I honed my skills and knowledge through on-the-job learning, self-study, and the attainment of qualifications, gradually progressing within the business.

This experience fuelled my interest, and in collaboration with a colleague, we established our own fuelling systems company. This venture allowed me to expand my skills and knowledge further by meeting with clients, assessing their needs, conducting site surveys, providing quotations, and explaining the details of the job.

How did your career progress to the role you have at REDS Group today?

With my knowledge and experience, I’d worked closely on various jobs and projects on behalf of REDS Group and when an opportunity came up at REDS to join them I was excited to take it.

Have you seen significant changes to fuel infrastructure since you began working in this industry?

The main concern revolves around the paperwork related to health and safety, as well as environmental regulations. These were aspects that received little consideration in years gone by. The material used for pipework has evolved from steel, either welded or threaded, to plastic pipework. Additionally, the introduction of the mapress pipe system, along with pipe-in-pipe technology, has significantly impacted the environment by reducing contamination through leaks.

What does your job on-site entail?

I prefer being present at certain jobs to meet with clients, to make sure they understand the process in the schedule of work. I like to work with the engineers to see how good and tidy they are and to make sure they have a thorough understanding of what they need to do before they start the job.

During various stages of the job, I also like to walk the client through what we’ve done so far to make sure they’re happy and that they understand exactly what’s going on.

How do you balance project management and working on the tools?

My main responsibility is to oversee the work but I also like to keep my hand in what’s going on so that I can show/better explain the more technical aspects of the job, this also lets the engineers know that I know what I’m talking about, and no corners are cut when doing the job!

Which have been the most challenging projects you have worked on with REDS, and why?

A particular challenge was a job where we decommissioned a large tank within a building while simultaneously installing a new tank and specialist stainless steel pipework in various locations within the building. Throughout the project, 200 staff members continued to work in the building, wedding ceremonies were carried out, and we also interacted with the public both inside and outside, as it was a public building.

What has been the most rewarding project with REDS to date?

All projects give a sense of reward when you know you’ve done a good job taking on any challenges the job may throw your way and always being on your ‘A’ game.

How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

I love to spend time with my family and time outside walking the dog. I love my bikes and my cars! And of course my wife!

Date Posted: 21/02/2024

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REDS Group Team