Day in the Life - John Sim, Project Manager at TRAC

Day in the Life - John Sim, Project Manager at TRAC


My current role at TRAC is Project Manager but as I’ve worked for the company for over 20 years, I’ve had a few!  I started back in 1996 as a Rope Access Technician (Level 1) following a move from Hi-Rope.  Over the years I’ve relished the challenge to cut my teeth and successfully moved through the ranks. Today as a Project Manager it’s the experience I gained offshore undertaking various work scopes which gives me the ability to ensure our clients are confident we can deliver.

My typical day usually involves client meetings and liaison with my colleagues.  I’m now office based usually working 08.00-16.00 -a far cry from my days offshore in the North Sea.  At the beginning of a project I have the responsibility to meet with the client to establish their requirements and more importantly, understand their expectations.  In my experience comprehensive ground work at this stage helps to ensure the project runs smoothly.  From these initial meetings I prepare the work scope for the project which results in a project work pack.  This pack then becomes our bible, consisting of documents such as lift plans, RAMs and method statements.  An offshore survey forms part of the prep work to ensure we understand the extent of the works required and can allocate the appropriate personnel.  

At TRAC we are very lucky to have a highly skilled team with backgrounds in various trades which allows us to offer flexible offshore teams.  When offshore it is quite common for teams to be unable to complete the scheduled work scopes due to bad weather, especially in the North Sea.  In this instance our teams can be called upon to undertake other works which are not weather dependent, ensuring that the personnel are utilised to maximum productivity.  

During all stages of a project I am in constant contact with our other support departments including logistics, ensuring we have the right people, doing the right job, in the right place, at the right time.  A key part of this is people having the right equipment to do the job too, so I also work closely with our stores facility to ensure this happens.  Of course, there is no getting away from managing budgets and spreadsheets, so I liaise with our Finance team regularly too.

As we look to grow TRAC’s products and services, part of my role also includes product development which I really enjoy.  I’m currently leading a project to develop splashzone solutions which are remotely deployed from the platform to enable safe inspection of various types and configurations of caissons and conductors.  This zone presents a number of specific hazards including variations in tide and weather making it difficult for divers to inspect. This tooling will negate the need for divers, ROVs and DSVs.  Our aim is that it will lead to improved asset integrity, increased safety and major cost efficiencies.  We’ve recently successfully completed field trials with a North Sea operator, and I am genuinely excited about the positive impact these solutions will create for our clients.

My role is hugely client focussed and I am constantly listening to how we can provide better ways of working, so it’s been great to work on a tool that I know our clients will benefit from. At TRAC I am proud to say that we continue to invest in the younger generation taking on apprentices to future proof our business.  We have a great environment for them to learn in, ensuring that they have a designated mentor. The open culture within the company also means (I hope) that they feel they can approach any member of the team should they need support.  Having been a technician (albeit a long time ago!) I am happy to share my knowledge and support them where I can.

So, in summary it’s a varied role with no two days the same, but that’s what keeps it interesting.

Published: 29-05-2019

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