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Member profile: Mr Ian Beynon FEI Chartered Energy Manager
When did you first become interested in energy?
I have always been fascinated by natural sciences and sustainability, even as a child. I studied geography and geology at college and then earth science at university where my interest in climatology and environmental change really peaked. I came to the energy industry almost by accident, but it was my interests in climate change, and the impact that the energy industry could have, which made me quickly realise it was right for me.
Tell us a little about your current job
I currently head-up the Technical Services team at amber energy. Our team is broadly split into two areas, Energy Analytics, who use remote monitoring and proactive exceptions alerting to identify and help resolve operational energy waste, and Energy Solutions, who undertake site-based works, from energy surveys and efficiency projects through to legislation and standards compliance.
The most enjoyable aspect about what we do is enabling our clients to make a tangible impact on their energy and carbon footprint by unlocking their low-carbon aspirations. Most know they need to do something; many are ready to do something about it; and our energy team is parachuted in to take them on that journey, from helping set policies and objectives, developing baselines and setting targets, identifying and designing the solutions and finally delivering the carbon reductions and measuring and verifying the results.
What inspired you to pursue this career, and what path did you take to get there?
Like many of us that came to the energy industry through a non-engineering approach, I sort of fell into it. It was by chance following university that I was introduced to the owner of a relatively new energy consultancy specialising in metering, sub-metering, AMR systems and M&T platforms. My role there was to develop the analytics services and to work with clients to ensure that they got the best out of their M&T systems.
Five years later, we had developed our own software and had some industry-leading analytics, but I knew I wanted to see other parts of the energy industry and explore the solutions side.
In 2014, I applied for my full membership of the Energy Institute and in March of that year, I was recognised as a Chartered Energy Manager.
I joined a large FM company as an energy manager, in the first instance looking after energy aspects of some large central government contracts, both on the solutions side as well as overseeing the bureau functions. This soon expanded to all of the public sector estate, including local authorities, universities, schools and hospitals. Five years later, I finished my time at that company as Head of Energy Solutions.
Shortly before joining amber energy in 2017, I submitted my application to become a Fellow of the Energy Institute and perhaps my greatest professional accomplishment to date has been achieving this recognition. For me, becoming a Chartered Energy Manager demonstrated the practical experience and technical competencies developed through my professional development since joining the industry, whereas the Fellowship was a way of demonstrating wider Energy Institute values, personal integrity and the professional qualities required to be a leader in this industry.
How has being a Chartered Energy Manager benefitted you in your career?
Energy professionals come from all backgrounds and with a wide range of industry experiences. As with most things, we also don’t know what we don’t know, and it can sometimes be difficult to lift your head up and see what else is going on in the wider energy industry and what best practices can truly look like.
Perhaps due to my non-engineering background, I knew that continued learning and continued professional development were key to a successful career in this industry.
Fairly early on in my career, I aligned myself with the energy industry training, going on to complete the ‘European Energy Manager (EUREM)’ course, equivalent now to the Levels 1 to 3 energy management training. This naturally led me to aligning my Energy Institute professional accreditations with the training and practical experience I was gaining in the industry.
In becoming a Chartered Energy Manager, I knew I had reached a certain point of technical understanding and had gained the practical experience to draw a clear distinguishing line in the sand as to where I was on my own professional journey. Above all, I believe the chartership provided my clients with assurances that they had a professional working for them with the range of competencies needed to support them in the complicated energy landscape.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring Chartered Energy Manager?
Take every opportunity you can to expand your horizons, experience something new and crucially understand the impact of it. Use data to form opinions and never get too attached to an assumption. There is always time later to specialise, whether in certain sectors or technical solutions but I genuinely feel that a much broader understanding of the industry, of different sectors and of different solutions is invaluable on a route to becoming a Chartered Energy Manager and a successful energy professional.
When I am hiring, not only am I looking for an accreditation such as Chartered Energy Manager as a marker, but I am also looking for the range, and not only depth of, experience. Try to create opportunities to deal with commercial or contractual negotiations, force yourself to speak publicly at events or conferences, and take the time to understand colleagues from other business areas such as finance and projects. All these things will make you so much better at your core role.
Away from work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m lucky enough to live in Gower in South Wales, one of the most beautiful places in the world. As a family we get outside a lot, down to the beach and for walks, but when I get my ‘me time’ (sometimes with the kids!), I’m into everything from beekeeping, fishing, growing vegetables, keeping chickens and playing rugby.
And finally… What does your Chartered Energy Manager accreditation truly mean to you?
It makes me feel immensely proud. I remember at the time of being notified it came during a particularly busy time in work, with loads happening and lots of change. Becoming a Chartered Energy Manager at that point felt that it was worth it and allowed me to step back for a moment to appreciate what I’d achieved.
I also distinctively remember the HR director of the company I was with at the time telling me during an internal interview that he thought it was very significant and that it was a great achievement to be proud of. It is sometimes only when you hear it from someone else that it hits home.
Interested in applying for Chartered Energy Manager? For more information on how to apply, please click here.