How I got where I am today: Peter Hall

Published: 10 Oct 2014

What did you want to be when you were young?
I wanted to join the Fire Service, and had an interview when I was 18 but unfortunately failed the lung capacity tests, so that was the end of that.

What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
I always had an interest in engineering and started my working life as an apprentice in the Sheffield steel industry, training to be a welder/fabricator. I later joined the RAF where I stayed for 27 years. I worked on various aircraft types such as fast jets and search and rescue, as well as roles in engineering support, supervision and management.

I had a five year secondment as a rehabilitation engineer, working with hydraulics and prosthetics, to help bring servicemen and women back to full fitness. I then also had a two year secondment at the military school of aviation medicine as a hypobariccorr chamber support manager where I trained air force crews in the use of such things as night vision and pressure systems. I completed my RAF career back on aircraft engineering management.

I’ve worked all over the world including the Falklands, Canada, Europe and the US. I have also completed three tours in supporting operations in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.

I left the RAF to join Paradigm Flow Services in July 2013 which utilises my quality-related experience and transfers my engineering expertise. It is an exciting challenge and the company is really going places so I’m pleased to be part of that future.

Anything you would do differently?
No I don’t think so, I try and not have regrets. I believe we can learn from everything we do and from each situation we have experienced and had involvement with. I feel this outlook can only make us more knowledgeable.

Are you scared of making mistakes?
I have never been scared of making a mistake. We all make them – we just have to learn from them each time. If we don’t learn from a mistake and continually make the same errors then that’s when I would become concerned.

Pet hate?
I have never been able to understand when people don’t do their best when completing anything. If you give any situation your best then you can walk away from it without any feeling that you could have done better. If your best still isn’t good enough at least you can work on that to improve.

Throughout my career I have worked with personnel who could do much better and produce a much higher standard of work but choose not to, instead employing an “it will do” attitude. This trait is my main pet hate.

Who's been your greatest influence?
My parents – they taught me right from wrong and instilled a belief in me that you can achieve anything that you put my mind to. My father also instilled the ethos of “if you’re going to do anything, do it well and to the best of your abilities”.  

Best achievement so far?
I have been very lucky to have achieved so much during my military career over a very varied spectrum of areas but one achievement I still am very proud of was been presented with the Gillette Millennium Award for Electrical/Mechanical Engineering Student of the Year during my diploma studies. This was an award I received out of 1,700 candidates. It was also really nice to have it presented in front of my family.

I have also been named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list three times for both my work in the RAF and also as a first responder. I am a qualified ambulance technician and have worked in first response for Moray and Grampian since 2013.

What's your idea of the perfect retirement?
I am not, and have never been, very good at just sitting around and like to be active, so holidays just sitting on the beach are not for me. I have travelled all over the world throughout my career but I would love to go back to some of the places I have worked with the family and share that experience.

What has motivated you?
In my current position, it is seeing the positive effects that the work I undertake makes to people and the company overall. My job in its simplest terms is to make sure that people go home safe at the end of the working day.

What's the best way to motivate others?
I have always tried to treat people with respect and not to ask personnel to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself. You have to really listen to the entire team and get them involved; some of the best ideas come from people outwith the specific problem or issue you are trying to tackle.

I also like to give people responsibility or projects to run. I also feel that if you praise good performance it has a very positive effect on people’s attitude towards their current and future work.

Your favourite stress-buster?
I have always loved cycling, so getting out for a bike ride on the road, or a day on the mountain bike, is how I like to relax. I’m also learning to play the guitar (very badly) so enjoy making a noise with that.

What's your best career advice?   
Listen to others who have been in the same position as you when they offer advice.

Is there any day in your career you would like to live again?
Sounds odd, but the day I returned from my first tour in Afghanistan with the RAF and having my wife and children meet me on the military base as the plane landed.

What's your dream job?
While I love the career I have chosen, I think that a career as a professional sportsman would be fantastic. I would have loved to be part of a professional cycling team.

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