Employee spotlight with Remi Portes, Operations Director (EMEA)

For this month’s employee spotlight, we talked to Remi Portes, Operations Director. Remi started his Logi-tek journey in 2014 as a Design Manager and now leads the operations for the business.

We found out more about Remi, his journey, and his thoughts on the future of commissioning.

Remi, describe Logi-tek in Three words?

Family, Transparency, Collaborative

What is your guilty pleasure?

I have been a big fan of Lego since I was little. I keep getting more and more, I own most of (if not all of) The conquest of space set. Building lego is my peace and a form of meditation for me. The only issue is the space they take up in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, studio….!

Tell us a bit about your journey into commissioning?

I always wanted to be an engineer in the construction industry (maybe because of my love of Lego). I completed my HND in Mechanical Engineering in France and then moved to London, theoretically for six months, to learn English. (15 years later, I am still here😊)

I joined a maintenance company on a new estate in Paddington and started a part-time university BEng in Building Services Engineering. While working for them, I realised that many issues were arising on newly completed projects. I was shocked by the things we found, and it’s at that point, I decided to join a main contractor as a technical services manager and started making changes at the source.

I enjoyed working for this business. It taught me so much; my role was to manage the entire engineering aspect of the project from A to Z, but I liked driving the commissioning process and seeing how every system comes alive.

At this point, I got in contact with Logi-tek as they were working as Client-Side commissioning managers on my current project. It was the first time I came across an independent commissioning management company, and I immediately knew this is what I wanted to do.

It’s been a fantastic seven years, and I have never looked back.

So, what advice would you give to graduates currently doing a Building Services Engineering (BEng) qualification?

Don’t stop at a BEng. Go all the way. You are on an excellent career path, one that will always need engineers. Experience a wide range of jobs, from being on the tools, a project manager or a designer. All that rounded experience will be critical for your future.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

I would say seeing my colleagues happy with their successes — experiencing that moment when you look back on what we have achieved always makes me feel very proud.

How has commissioning changed over the last five years?

The importance attributed to commissioning is what has changed the most. Now everyone understands how vital it is to think about commissioning; the next challenge is to demonstrate that by the time businesses think about commissioning, it’s already too late.

How would you like to see Commissioning change in the next five years?

We have already established digital delivery and paperless processes. The industry needs to focus on this. For example, there are no excuses for why a pressure test needs to be recorded on paper.

During the last year, to support our sites and clients during lockdowns, we launched our Net Zero Cx Commissioning platform. This entails live broadcasting all the tests on-site so that the design team and client could attend without ‘being there’. It has also opened up doors for specialists that may be busy on other projects/tasks to participate in numerous projects. Net Zero Cx also serves as a depository for records and training. I see this being a big thing in the future, it will reduce the need to travel and reduce carbon emissions.

The vision for the future is off-site commissioning, where most of the plant will assemble off-site and be thoroughly tested before being delivered. It will allow a faster build with less quality/commissioning issues while offering the opportunity to have the plant ready on order for a just-in-time delivery, inline with client needs.

Click here to find out more about Logi-tek’s Net Zero Cx Commissioning Platform.

#employeespotlight #commissioningmanagement #technicalprojectmanagement #engineering #commissioning #projectmanagement #carbonneutral

Employee spotlight with Tom Mitchell, Divisional Director (UK)

Tom Mitchell has been promoted to Divisional Director (UK) at Logi-tek. Tom manages the UK team and holds overall responsibility for the bidding process, market expansion, learning & development, and forecasting.

We found out a bit more about Tom and his career journey, which has led to this new position.

Tom, Congratulations on your promotion; it’s been a rewarding five years for you at Logi-tek; describe your journey in 3 words?

• Passionate
• Encouraging (no idea is too small, anything is possible)
• Innovative

Tell us three facts about yourself?

1. I am very Client-focused – the client needs to walk away with the VERY best version of what they requested. I use the analogy: “If I was building a new house and employed the best specialists from around the world, it needs to be the best house I ever lived in.
2. I am very family-oriented and love spending weekends and spare time with loved ones.
3. I am passionate about internal development and focusing on innovation.

Tell us a bit about your journey into Commissioning?

I started my career as an engineering lead in the public sector. Transitioning into the private sector, I discovered my passion for adding value to a project. I enjoyed making a difference in the industry and not just meeting tight deadlines and financial incentives.

I moved into Project management, where I worked with both the client and the main contractor. Seeing their respective visions and differentiators taught me to see the bigger picture.

On joining the commissioning management team, I was exposed to aspects of the role I loved, especially getting in the detail. I was also learning more from working alongside people immersed in design, delivery, management and closeout. These were the influencers that spoke transparently with all levels of leadership on the project.

What have been some of your proudest and most rewarding moments working at Logi-tek?

I believe individuals and structure are critical to our success as a company, so these moments will always involve people.

I have aided in developing our bidding and interviewing process; I am proud to see the project base and the team grow as a result.

Building the UK team and innovating with unique, passionate engineers/managers is very rewarding.

However, the most rewarding part of my role is identifying strengths in individuals, inspiring them to use their best assets across projects, and seeing the fantastic output.

How would you like to see Commissioning change in the next 5 years?

Commissioning is a fundamental aspect of the industry, it’s becoming more than just MEPH-focused. Commissioning managers have huge, varied backgrounds. They are Project Managers, Technical Service Managers and Designers. They can all be utilised further to add even more value to projects.

I would also like to see the boundaries of engineering pushed further and commissioning management redefined.

Technology will become an enormous part of our industry and, in line with sustainability and building greener; master systems integrations will be built into packages. Our Net Zero CX platform has been developed to support this.

Lastly, I would like Commissioning Management to become a recognised qualification. It is an ‘envelope’ understanding of many disciplines and combinations of different elements that reach across an entire project.

The potential knowledge share amongst commissioning managers is vast. Therefore, the base qualification could be a combination of factors from some widely understood and known university degrees.

Tom’s promotion is important at Logi-tek, we spoke with the leadership team to obtain their thoughts on Tom and his role at Logi-tek.

Can you describe Tom in one sentence:

Tom is highly Committed, Enthusiastic, and Energetic.

We asked, Remi Portes, Operations Director EMEA about Tom’s leadership qualities;

“Tom has been my trusted right-hand man since we started working together and I am so proud to see where he is now. With Tom, there is always some sort of “Beauty” in what he does. He knows how to bring people together and to share his passion for commissioning. Tom is a driven individual that always wanted to do more and had leadership at heart. Tom is a natural manager, able to focus on his team’s strengths to overcome any weaknesses. Well done Tom, you really deserved your promotion, and no doubt you will excel.”

Chris Dodd, Commercial Director EMEA, discussed Tom’s Key strengths;

“Tom has an impressive ability to juggle competing demands without letting anything drop. He supports colleagues at all levels and consistently goes the extra mile to ensure that his projects succeed. I’m excited by what 2021 has to offer for all of us and am sure Tom has a big part to play in our success.”

Kevin Fletcher, Managing Director EMEA, endorsed that Tom will help to shape the business going forwards.

“Tom’s promotion is recognition of the leadership role that he has taken regarding UK operations. As a business, we continue to grow and thrive in the UK and Tom’s role is central to this”

#employeespotlight #divisionaldirector #promotion #commissioningmanagement #technicalprojectmanagement #engineering #commissioning #projectmanagement

Employee spotlight with Design Manager / Commissioning Manager Adam Plavecky

In this month’s employee spotlight, we talk to Adam Plavecky, Design Manager / Commissioning Manager based in the United Kingdom.

Adam is working across two commercial fit-out projects, a Shell and Core project for a prominent property developer and a 150kV Substation for a Hyperscale Data Centre.

Three words to describe Logi-tek?

Energetic, leading-edge, unified.

Adam, what is something your proud of achieving outside of work? 

In 2007 I backpacked around South America for four months. When in Peru, I completed the 88 km trek along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The hike was over 3.5 days, at high altitudes reaching 4100 km above sea level at the pass. The majority of the walk was stone steps either going up or going down. My knees suffered badly (an old football injury); however, it was all worth it looking over Machu Picchu at sunrise.

Why is the Commissioning process so important, and why is it essential to manage it?

Commissioning optimises and enhances building systems; it extends the equipment’s service life, improves comfort and indoor air quality, reduces energy cost and gives the client an in-depth knowledge of how their building operates. The perfect scenario for any client is a project that finishes on time, is snag-free, and all systems operate efficiently. Without management, the commissioning process would be rudderless. This could lead to a lack of coordination, little tracking of progress and no one driving the process. Ultimately this would lead to a delayed project, plant not operating autonomously and a client with no confidence in the installation.

Who/what has influenced you the most when it comes to how you approach your work?

This would have to be my Grandpa, Harry. Now 94, Harry left school and started work as a driver at the age of 13. By the time he retired, he was the lead project manager in constructing multiple high-rise buildings in Sydney, Australia. Harry worked hard, led by example, and was always positive. He valued the art of diplomacy to get the most out of people.

Where do you see the Commissioning of the future?

The industry has shifted towards intelligent buildings, and I see this developing further with AI technology advancement. Maybe, one day, we will see a building that commissions itself.

To find out more about commissioning opportunities at Logi-tek please send your CV to recruitment@logi-tek.co.uk

Employee spotlight with lead commissioning manager Robert Tonner

In this month’s employee spotlight, we talk to Robert Tonner, Lead Commissioning Manager based in The Netherlands.

Robert has been with us for 12 months and is currently managing a hyperscale data centre project not far from Groningen in the Netherlands, we were interested to find out a bit more about him and his role.

Three words to describe Logi-tek?

Progressive, Collaborative and Rewarding.

Robert, please tell us some interesting facts about yourself?  

Well, a brief resume: In 1986, I joined the army Cadets at 15, became a 2nd Lieutenant officer in 1992, and left as a Captain in 2000.

Shooting was always my sport, so I joined the local shooting club. I became club champion and captained the Scotland National team for two years and shot for the Great Britain team in 2019. I’m still very much an active part of the GB squad now.

Why is the Commissioning process so important when managing Data Centre projects?

The setting up of any installation goes through a natural process from design, construction, through to completion.

The critical infrastructure to keep a Data Centre operational as soon as it goes live, demands a very high level of thoroughness of quality and commissioning checks.

On a particularly large project like this, the activities involved in this process has to be managed and documented carefully.

The margin for error is slim, so the planning, the preparation of the schedule, the commissioning activities and the respective teams all need to be co-ordinated to allow all the integrated testing to take place in a controlled, correct, and sequential manner.  

Delivering the project with a target of zero defects, fully tested and operational is the standard we set ourselves on every project.

So, what does a typical day look like for you, Robert?

I start on site at 07:30 and lead the daily briefing.

The commissioning teams then progress their work and I receive their updates throughout the day.

I then alter any commissioning strategies as the day progresses, problem solving with the team, whilst keeping the client up to speed with the progress.

We always finish the day with a de-briefing meeting – a really good summary of the achievements during the day.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Leading teams! I’ve been leading teams for a long time and it never becomes tiresome. Every day is about delivering the best service I can and guiding the team around me to do the same.

The team we have on my current project are one of the best I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.

To find out more about commissioning opportunities at Logi-tek please send your CV to recruitment@logi-tek.co.uk