Based in the UK, Paul oversees Atlas’s Newquay and Banbury offices, whilst staying in close contact with other ROV & Survey hubs across the globe such as the Atlas Singapore office. Where the company’s Newquay office services the survey industry and assists on related environmental projects, the Banbury team serves the needs of not only the ROV sector, including trencher, plough systems and inspection, but also those of the dive sector and specialized riggers.
“The Survey and the ROV, Diving & Inspection business lines are two very important entities in Atlas,” Paul says, “and ever developing. With new technologies and methodologies emerging fast, allowing to dive deeper and survey more accurately, we as an offshore personnel provider are continuously challenged to stay on top of our game.” A challenge he doesn’t mind facing, though. “I like to keep moving forward and being challenged – as well as being challenging! It’s how we grow.”
Innovative subsea world
Walking around industry exhibitions such as Ocean Business you can’t avoid the obvious rise of automation and remote operations in the sector. “A number of companies are working really hard to make remote operations feasible. And with this rise of remote operations and AUVs we may see the roles in the ROV and Survey departments change dramatically,” says Paul. “In time – however contradictory it may sound – the future of offshore ROV & Survey may well be more land-based!”
Professionals shouldn’t be alarmed, however, according to Paul. “In the foreseeable future there will continue to be a need for the current level of offshore personnel – if not more due to the surge in renewables projects, raised activity in the APAC region and the potential rebound of the Oil & Gas industry. Next to this, our teams are always on top of the latest developments so we can advise our professionals about relevant training courses and certifications.”
Paul is pleased to read that professionals such as Hydrographic Surveyor Karolina Kwiatkowska and ROV Sub Engineer Mohd Firdaus Ramlan – both featured in this edition of Heroes – are keen to further develop their skill sets and embrace the challenges that come with ongoing innovation in the subsea industry. “The willingness to embrace ongoing training, and to adapt to the changing face of the Offshore sector that is shown by our professionals demonstrates that it is not only an ability or skill, but also an attitude; and a good one as it’s highly valued by clients and fellow professionals.”
Next to some of our professionals, Atlas also speaks to different clients in this edition of Heroes. One of them is Dutch maritime contracting company Van Oord. Just like its Survey Operations Manager Erwin Landman, Paul spent a good deal off his career offshore as a surveyor himself. “I originally focused on academia. However, I soon found out that the Oil & Gas industry offered ‘big toys’ and often awe-inspiring technology, so I couldn’t resist moving across to the commercial sector as a surveyor.”
Over time Paul rose to the position of Party Chief and then Offshore Manager working with several high-profile companies. During this time, he had the opportunity to work on umbilicals and cables, which naturally let to the renewables market. Followed by different onshore roles within the sector, including as an Operations Manager for a Marine consultancy company, his experience has enabled Paul to add a better understanding and empathy of not only the various aspects of the industry that Atlas operates in, but also of the perspective of both the clients and professionals.
A particular understanding Paul has developed on both sides of the equation relates to competence management. Referring to Senior Hydrographic Surveyor/Data Processor Jason Davies’ interview in this magazine, Paul says: “I know from experience that, as a freelance professional, you always have to be one step ahead, thinking about your next assignment, and as such you want to show prospective clients your competence, qualifications and experience in a clear and straightforward manner. But I also know the importance of this from a client perspective, having experienced both the highs and lows of individuals capabilities!” Being able to represent both sides of the industry with the online Atlas Competence Programme is something that really pleases him.
Ask Paul to give you one career highlight, and he gives you many: “From working with the British Antarctic Survey to large-scale Oil & Gas production projects, or wreck hunting to being involved in the early large-scale Offshore Windfarms! And now having the opportunity of working with the motivated, knowledgeable and fun teams in Banbury and Newquay.” Paul says he looks forward to further enhancing the synergies between the offices and is committed to keep the quality, service and commitment of the teams a priority.
“The investment in offshore renewables has kept our sector afloat and looks to continue well into the future. The Oil & Gas sector has been really hit hard in recent years and I believe Atlas came out strong due to the versatility of our teams. We’re really happy to have the opportunity to work with motivated, competent professionals and to collaborate with well-established or new clients. Every day offers new opportunities and we look forward to continuing to support them in the years ahead.”