We caught up with Andy Gibbs, SMS new Offshore Manager. Although "new", Andy previously worked for SMS a few years back and we're extremely pleased to see him return, utilising his wealth of experience within the industry and existing knowledge of SMS products and services to support our Offshore operations.
- Welcome to SMS Andy, would you mind quickly introducing yourself before we get started?
Hi my name is Andy Gibbs, I have worked in the Oil and Gas, Marine and Fire industries for over 30 years since I finished my HND many moons ago.
I have held several positions over the years from, design draughtsman, engineering, commissioning, maintenance and reliability support, proposals, business development and through to supervision and management roles all within a technical or manufacturing environment.
This is not my first time at SMS / Alderley having been employed from 2003 to 2007.
- What made you choose SMS as the next step in your career?
I have known Dave Howlett, Managing Director since my first time at SMS and we have kept in touch over the years, and so I was aware of SMS-Alderley and its future plans.
When the opportunity came up for Offshore Manager, it was an ideal opportunity to get on board and use my knowledge and experience to assist in growing our aftermarket services business.
- You have been in the industry for over 30 years – looking back, how has it changed over this time?
From an industry point of view hydraulic system design has not really changed, however what has changed is the amount of data and instrumentation now available to monitor the system, providing greater control and feedback for operations and maintenance.
Another big change has been the increase in Subsea Tiebacks compared to new build in platforms and controls, due to CAPEX costs and the technology and reliability of subsea equipment.
Although the core technology hasn’t changed too much, how it’s being used has. SMS continue to stay abreast of these changes and adapt to the times, whilst providing guidance and support to our customers to ensure they do the same.
- In your opinion, what does the offshore industry need without having realised it yet?
I think the industry has known this for a number of years but until recently has been slow in its uptake, and that is making the best use of their assets and ensuring they are inspected and maintained regularly and to a high standard so that they have increased availability and reduced downtime.
This is one of the things I like about SMS-Alderley, and that is the company at its core is a Service and Solutions company rather than just a product supplier.
From a capital projects point of view, clients and end users need look at their specifications and look to ways they can standardise what they are looking for as in many cases they are adding a lot of unnecessary costs and making this difficult for suppliers such as SMS, who have a better understanding of the product we are supplying and what it is capable of.
There is an industry initiative called JIP33 which is addressing this, so my hope is that it successful and creates an opportunity for more investment and time in beneficial areas to improve performance as opposed to creating bespoke designs each time that ultimately replicate the same thing.
- What’s the most memorable moment within your career to date?
It’s difficult to just pick one out. From the first project I engineered back in the early 90’s to getting the opportunity to travel and work around the world to being responsible for successfully delivering a multi-million pound subsea controls installation.
- As someone well versed in everything subsea and offshore, what makes SMS’ (products and/or services) so successful?
I would never say I was well versed in everything subsea and there is still a lot I do not know and can learn, but a question I think I am qualified to answer having worked for both a number of related companies in the industry including clients, is that SMS has an extremely good reputation for supplying quality products and very high level of service and technical knowledge and experience.
It is this high level of service that most clients appreciate and value, as they can always buy a product from another competitor, but the service levels are the value added that SMS can provide both in capital and aftersales.
- What are you looking forward to the most in your new role at SMS?
There are a number of things I am excited by - from growing our service capabilities and providing our clients with the level of service SMS can offer on more of their assets as their one stop shop for all their service needs.
I’m also looking forward to helping my team and colleagues achieve their maximum potential as well as ensuring they have a good wellbeing and work/life balance.
- If you’re not working, how do you spend your free time?
Difficult question now we are still in lockdown, but I still love spending time with my family and living in the Norfolk countryside walking my dog.
I have a passion for sport especially Rugby Union following Northampton Saints and obviously England, but also for Football and for my sins have been a Man Utd fan all my life so have seen bad times and great times and then the now indifferent times.
Prior to lockdown I was actively playing badminton and had started playing walking football, I hear you laugh, but ask Ryan Johnson (SMS Sales Manager), it’s harder and more exhausting than it looks!
Additionally in my position as a Fellow of the iMechE I work closely with local universities and colleges improving the visibility of our industry sector and getting the message across that Oil & Gas and Energy is able to provide them with a good career within engineering.