Meet Scott Smith - Head of Plant, Cwmbran

Name: Scott Smith

Location: Cwmbran

Current Position: Head of Plant

How long have you been with the company? 9 years

What does your typical day involve? Cwmbran is an exciting factory and every day is new experience.  I like to review how we are doing from the numbers and then get out and about the factory to see it running.  Daily lots of time spent with the team and they drop into my office as well as we all run open doors.  We have developed the site immensely over the last 9 years and we still have lots of interesting new projects which the team are running and seeing the progress is very inspiring.

What do you like best about your job? Working with the Cwmbran team and especially watching the team members develop in their abilities and having them teach the “Old Man”  new things  is great.

How did you get started in this industry? I always loved machinery and production and from a young age decided I wanted to be an engineer like my grandfather and father.  I got involved in print machinery through running a precision engineering company that made intrinsically safe components that went into solvent based printing equipment amongst other harsh environments.   After several attempts at an MBO the then owners sold the business to a higher bid from a direct competitor, so I went for a walk on the wide side and joined a printing group in mid-1990.

What are your favorite sports or pastimes? My new favorite pastime since having serious heart surgery in March this year is walking.   I now walk at least 5 miles every day accompanied by my personal trainer - Carol, my wife.   In my younger days waterskiing was my passion, along with village cricket in the team my father captained.   I am also somewhat a DIY fanatic and have more tools than most tool hire shops and have taken on some challenging projects for the family.

Do you have a favorite sports team that you root for? Growing up across several continents as my Dad opened new factories for Courtaulds around the world,  I had a few cricket and football teams I followed but also remained a Notts County FC fan and watched Nottinghamshire Cricket Club. Now my favorite sport has migrated to rugby as both my 18 and 20 year old grandsons play for Wales and I now spend time supporting them.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I have always loved fast cars, boats and aircraft.   Aged 22 I moved away from my love of being an engineer and was attracted to the RAF as trainee pilot officer and did a yearlong flying selection course.  They concluded I would too big (or more likely dangerous) for jet fighters and offered me a career in Hercules transport aircraft- that was the end of fast aircraft.  I decided to go back into engineering and diverted my love of fast things into my hobby of re-building old classic sports cars.

What is your favorite band, movie, or book? I like many music genres and the same in books.   My wife and I recently went to see live our favorite female artist – Celine Dion.  A fabulous show and I will go to see her again in 2018 in Wembley without doubt.

What was your favorite holiday/vacation? Much as I love flying my wife has a 4 hour limit on an aircraft and we love the Canary Isles, so Tenerife has become our holiday haunt.  October is perfect weather on the islands and few years ago we spent time living in a wooden hutted forest location on La Gomera with the famous whistling people.  It was not quite back to basics as the huts had aircon and hot tubs heated from volcanic activity.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? I have been lucky working for several inspirational mentors.  Some advice has been very blunt and unpublishable but I always go back to a special piece of advice from a gruff Yorkshireman I worked for in my early career as an engineer – He said “challenge the impossible and never surrender to difficulty”.