Twenty-five years is not only a quarter of a century, but also an impressive milestone for someone to reach with one company. Jim Moore joined Cundall back in 1992, a young man who was inspired after working with a consultant from Cundall to become a similarly respected and technically qualified engineer.
We recently sat down with Jim to talk through the most important and inspiring moments of his 25 years with Cundall.
When and why did you join Cundall?
Jim’s story is two-fold. The inspiration to become an electrical engineer came from the family – his dad, uncle and sister are electrical engineers and it is very much a family trade.
“I started when I was 16 back in 1978, which seems like a long time ago. One of the projects I was working on as an apprentice, at that time for the contractor, meant that I interacted with the consultant on the job who was from Cundall. He used to come to the site every Friday to do his inspection and he commanded so much respect in the team. At that time I thought to myself that one day I would aim to be like him.
Fast-forward to 1992, there was a difficult time for the industry and I was made redundant. Of course, I was very keen on finding a new job and I applied everywhere I could. One of those companies was Cundall. When an opportunity arose with Cundall, I took it with both hands and have been here ever since.”
Jim started work in the Newcastle office where he stayed for fifteen and a half years. After that, he moved to Dubai where he has been working for the past nine years, with a half year secondment to the London office during that time. These days Jim works across both the Dubai and Doha MENA offices.
What is your favourite Cundall story?
“My favourite story is one that I tell on many occasions: the David Gandy story. When I joined Cundall I had just been made redundant from a contractor company where I was on a reasonable salary. When I was interviewed with David at Cundall he said to me: “Look Jim, I don’t want you to think I am taking advantage, but you are currently unemployed and there is no way we can offer you that level of salary.” So he made his offer and I was concerned about how I could live on such a salary, but I took a chance and accepted the offer. It was a bit uncomfortable at the start with the house and stuff like that but I made it work.
After about a year at Cundall, I went to David and told him that I want to be a Senior Engineer. His answer to this was that he couldn’t possibly do it, as I didn’t have a degree. So, I requested Cundall to support me, and put me on the relevant university course, to which they agreed.
Four years later I finished my part time degree, which was quite challenging to do in parallel with work and demanding projects. As soon as I finished my study, I was promoted to a Senior Engineer role straight away. After that I progressed to Associate and then onto Technical Director in Dubai.
David went on to retire and as part of his retirement he was doing consultancy work for us. At that time I had to sign his time sheets and his expenses, which was quite funny. I was in a position where I could challenge him and was asking all sorts of questions like, “Dave, what are you claiming this for? Is it a work related expense?” And he said to me: “Look Jim, I always knew you were going to be a problem and I was right!”
What is the best bit of advice that you have received?
“Two bits of advice I guess: the first one, when I started to work, was from John Carr, who was the Journey-man electrician I was working with, he had been everywhere and had done a lot of different projects from re-wiring houses to petrochemical plants. He said, “Look Jim, there are two things you always have to ask – why are we doing it and how does it work? You ask those two questions and you will get the rewards you deserve.” That is the way I have lived throughout my life.
The second piece of advice was from Dennis Gillis, who was a Senior Engineer I worked for when I joined Cundall. He said, “People who don’t do work don’t do mistakes.”
And those two pieces of advice pretty much set my work ethic in Cundall.”
What is the best bit of advice you would give to an engineer at the start of their career?
“I guess I am a bit of an epitome of a success story in Cundall. I started as a fairly raw recruit, I thought I knew everything when I was working for the contractor and I thought I’d learned everything I needed to know. It didn’t take very long to realise that I didn’t really know as much as I thought, from a consultancy side of things. Working with good quality people like Doug Shield, Dennis Gillis, David Gandy, and Keith Anderson made a huge difference and influenced my career like nothing else. I looked up to them and I knew I needed to extract as much knowledge as possible from them. For me, it’s about technical knowledge, and quality in what we are delivering as a result. I work hard at what I do and working hard as an ethic will get you anywhere at Cundall.
I am very confident that anyone who puts a lot of effort into their work will reap the rewards; there is no doubt about it. If you get the work ethic right, the company will reward you.
It also gave me stability in life. If I didn’t think I was secure here I would move on. That’s why I’ve stayed with Cundall for so long.”
What are your aspirations for managing your team?
“I want my guys to deliver the best and I want them to understand what they produce so I keep asking them why are we doing it and how will it work, it makes them think for themselves which I believe is a positive thing.
Also, every time I employ someone I say that I am not employing you for now I am employing you for 5 years and more and when I see guys with ambition I am very determined to help them and that’s what we are all about. I want my guys to step into my role and to drive the company forward into the future when I will be on the beach and cruising around the world. Hopefully!”
What is your favourite Cundall project?
“Oh that’s a difficult question. There have been so many good projects. I think Sage Headquarters in Newcastle is my favourite. The project is six office blocks in a new area. It was a very good project, with a construction period of 18 months, and it was a real learning curve for me both onsite and offsite. I worked on the design side of the project from conception in 1999 through to completion. It was a big job and the project was on and off so it took a long time to complete it. My role was Senior Engineer and I progressed to Associate during this project delivery.”
What is your proudest Cundall moment?
“Most probably for me it was getting my degree. I was sponsored by Cundall and I truly appreciated that. It was back in 1998 at the University of Sunderland in the UK.”
What is your favourite thing about working for Cundall?
“It is definitely the people. We are like one big family. No matter what office you go to and in what country, our people will always make you welcome and it will take less than 5 minutes to feel like home. I think this is unique to Cundall that we are a real people business. People don’t come and go, people stay because if they work hard they will get looked after very well.”
It has been a very inspiring interview with Jim. Even after 25 years with the company, Jim is still the first one to come to the office every day and the someone that everybody respects and loves working with. We have had many projects that our clients have come back to us just because they wanted Jim to work on the project.
Thank you, Jim, for your dedication and being a true inspiration to all of us.