How I got where I am today: Andrew Wylie

What did you want to be when you were young?

Some form of engineering, a weatherman or a geophysicist.
What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
I studied MEng at university which included a six-month placement with an engineering consultancy. I then worked for an offshore construction contractor before returning to engineering consultancies.  
Are you scared of making mistakes?
In the early days I was but now I believe you don’t succeed without going for it. Calculated risks don’t have to be risky.
Who’s been your greatest influence?
My father. Back in Belfast he was a businessman and a chartered engineer for over 30 years.

Andrew Wylie
Best achievement so far?
I’m proud of having managed some of the largest projects we’ve been involved in the North Sea region, securing a 25% market share in this region and being part of a team that’s the supplier of choice in many areas of subsea engineering.

Also, growing the subsea team from 17 to 53 in five years with a retention rate of almost 100% is a statistic that speaks of a happy crew and that’s a great feeling.

However, the most rewarding thing I’ve been involved in at Xodus has to be to do with ‘Xtras’ which is our professional skills development programme that covers initiatives like report writing, commercial awareness and project management courses – essentially, skills that help give our consultants a competitive edge.
Another achievement is my involvement with our mentoring scheme – I’ve helped four people develop their interpersonal skills and achieve their own goals.

Is the “career for life” a thing of the past?
As long as you are with a company that can develop you and is itself growing and changing then I think you can have a career for life.

What have you actively tried to avoid in your career?
Standing still! My career progression with Xodus exemplifies that.
Five years ago I joined as a consultant and my work consisted mainly of managing studies. Now I’m an operations manager working with experts in an extraordinarily wide range of subjects from flow
assurance and geotechnical engineering to environmental compliance.
What would your autobiography be called?
“Underwater and Still Breathing”. You’ll understand why from the next answer!
What would you name some of the chapters?
There would need to be a balance between my 15 years in the subsea world and real life. Plus there would need to be a chapter in there about the time I spent in hospital in 2013. I was pretty ill with a throat and chest infection and ended up in a coma for six days.

I was in hospital for over two weeks and off work for two months. During my recovery I feel I changed. Life wasn’t scary anymore. I think more positively and think about other people more. I have learned from this experience and I now try to bring happiness to as many people as possible.
What has motivated you?
Making people happy – whether that’s people I work with or people I work for.
What’s the best way
to motivate others?
Positivity, encouragement and energy are key. I encourage people to try things they haven’t tried before. I have a very positive influence.
Your favourite stress-buster?
Rolling around on the floor with my two young children.
What’s your best career advice?  
Talk to people and build relationships. It’s key that people speak to each other at work. I encourage a ‘walk and talk’ attitude. Don’t just sit on your bum; actually take the time to speak to someone face to face.
Is there any day in your career
you would like to live again?
In 2002, we had just finished installing products at Gryphon’s RB9. We’d been working around Gryphon all summer so it was a great relief to finally leave the field. I was on the deck of a DSV as we starting sailing for home when we were rewarded with a blast from the FPSOs horn. It felt pretty special as a young engineer amongst a gang of riggers.  
What’s your dream job?
I would love to travel the world as a world renowned geophysicist.

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