New dad Blazes through busy days

Andrew Johnson, 24, is head of research and development at Blaze Manufacturing Solutions. Here is a day in his life. 

Andrew Johnson


I usually get up at 6.30am and get ready for work. Blaze is headquartered in Laurencekirk, and it can take me an hour to get to the office, so I aim to leave at 7am as I like to be at work between 8-8.30am. When I arrive, I quickly check my e-mails for any updates I have received overnight from clients based in other countries, and I write a list of my priorities for the day.

I like to start the day with more physical things to get my blood flowing, so like to begin by testing a prototype or measuring a large piece of equipment.

Blaze offers fire safety protection, detection and loss prevention solutions for harsh and challenging environments including offshore production platforms, drill rigs, floating production units, onshore oil fields, terminals, refineries and petrochemical plants, and I am currently working on six new innovations projects, four of which will go on to patent application, with one being ground breaking and urgently needed in the company’s constant challenge to shave maintenance costs. On top of this I also have two work projects in my day-to-day job, both with tight deadlines and challenges.


I usually walk to the local shop with some colleagues to buy lunch, and eat with them in the kitchen. I think it’s important to have a chance to unwind at lunch, especially if you’re having a stressful day, just for the sake of your mental health. Research and development is fascinating, and I like to build my knowledge base, so I often read one or two subjects from the encyclopedia of inventions and technologies.


The company was established in 2006 to serve the global oil and gas and renewable markets, and I like to investigate new markets and think of new ideas. It’s much easier to think after lunch for me, everything is much clearer and I can run on a train of thought. If anything new does hit me, I will take a note of it down using some of my own templates to see whether it fits our business model.


Before leaving work I like to make a log of everything I’ve done during the day, to track where the projects are in terms of completion. This doesn’t take very long to complete and is great for reference.

Once I get home I have dinner with my wife, and help with our baby daughter, but will go back to working in the dining room until around 12 to 1 am.

I recently became a dad, so I don’t tend to go out in the evening but, as I am a finalist in the Northern Star business awards in the Rising Star category, I will be attending the black-tie awards ceremony in October.

Five things I enjoy about work

My job demands creativity on tap. Using my brain to think of new ideas gives me great satisfaction

Problem solving is a passion of mine. I love finding out how to fix things

Learning new things everyday is a big bonus. It also makes getting something wrong great because you now know how to do fix it. It takes away the scary parts of failure and gives me the knowledge to get it right next time

The scope of markets at Blaze is great as I never get bogged down in one sector or market. I deal with oil, mining, nuclear, wind turbines, boats and buildings, and it’s very refreshing being able to have so many different things to do

Blaze was established by my parents, and my brother also works at the company, so it’s very rewarding knowing that everything I do will directly benefit my family. Also I get to work with them every day which in its own is a perk a lot of people don’t get

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