Farming background cultivated strong work ethic

For anyone who is brought up on a farm they’ll know that there is always a job to be done.

From a young age children are ‘encouraged’ to lend a hand: picking tatties in October, feeding animals during winter, looking after newborn lambs in spring or helping with haymaking in summer.

Graeme Chalmers

Having this work ethic instilled from a young age remains with them throughout life, something 30-year-old Graeme Chalmers knows all too well.

Graeme, who is group operations manager at Oldmeldrum-based oil and gas service company Flowline Specialists, was brought up in a farming background and had a strong work ethic drilled into him by his grandfather and mother. It is something that has stood him in good stead throughout his career, particularly when he returned to studying recently to complete his SVQ5 in Management.

Graeme served his time in the motor industry before entering the oil and gas industry at 21. Working for a multi-national service company gave him his first opportunity to work overseas and it was an experience that was a huge benefit to him as it provided opportunities to work in different environments and with many different nationalities.

Three years ago he joined Flowline Specialists – which designs, engineers and manufactures equipment to enable the safe and efficient handling of reels, flexible pipes, umbilicals and cables – and views that move as one of his biggest career stepping stones.

“During the three years I’ve worked for the firm we have built up a very reputable business and our client feedback and references shows that what we are doing is what they want,” said Graeme.  

“I had set myself the goal of being an operations manager for a service company before I reached 30, which I did when we began opening offices worldwide. At this time I started travelling more and it was decided to make me responsible for operations globally.  

“The business wouldn’t have achieved the growth it has without the hard working team that we have built up. I like to think that we have some of the best trained and most experienced operators in our field and I want to continue this by sourcing the right suppliers and training.”

There is no doubt that Graeme’s work ethic and that of his senior managers rubs off on the other staff. Throughout Flowline Specialists there is a can do attitude that shows in the firm’s day-to-day working.  At times project deadlines can be very tight, but Graeme’s team has always met them on time and safely.

The work discipline that Graeme was brought up with on the farm as a child paid dividends when he completed his SVQ5 in Management. The course is tailored to ensure that the qualification is best suited to the individual, the company and industry that they work in.

Graeme said: “It involved a fair amount of studying to complete the seven units – three of which were mandatory and then four from a selection of 24.  The qualification has allowed me to prove my competence against a national standard, but also stimulate innovation in the business.

“The process allowed me to take a step back from my job and look at how my team could make improvements to what they do and how these could benefit the whole business. By its very nature Flowline is a pretty innovative company – it developed a way to move reels without the need of a crane for example – and is always willing to look at how products and services could be better delivered.”

Even though his career has taken him away from his agricultural upbringing, they’re roots he certainly doesn’t forget. Each September he takes a week off from Flowline Specialists to operate a slightly different piece of kit, a 16-tonne, four-metre wide combine.

“Harvest is a very busy time in the farming calendar,” explained Graeme.  

“When the crop is ripe and the weather is fair it really is all hands on deck to get the grain in, so I take a week off to help my friend with his harvest. It’s actually a great stress-buster as it really clears the head of the day job.  There is a real sense of satisfaction when you see the field of barley combined, with the grain safely in the shed and all that is left are bout upon bout of straw lined across the field waiting to be baled.”

It’s clear that Graeme enjoys his day job, but coming from farming stock means there is always a part of him that will want to go back to work on the farm, something that will never change.

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