Martin McKennaCommercial Director
Martin McKenna is Commercial Director at Universal Wolf. We caught up with him to talk about his background, career highlights and goals for the future.
Let’s start by talking about your background before you joined Universal Wolf – can you talk us through your career journey?
I started my working life as a 16 year old Electrical Technician Apprentice at NEI Parsons, which latterly became Rolls Royce Power Generation and then Siemens Energy. On completing my apprenticeship, I spent a number of years overseas. I worked on large oil- and coal-fired power stations as a Control and Instrumentation Commissioning Engineer, before moving into Commission and Construction Management. Notable postings included 2 ½ years in Iraq, 3 years in Hong Kong and 3 years in India. I also spent time in Pakistan, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Indonesia.
On returning to the UK, I worked in the Energy sector – primarily in Power Generation – taking up various senior management positions including Project Director, Service Director and Chief Operating Officer. I have worked extensively in the traditional fossil fuel powered plant, as well as Wind Energy and Tidal Power. I Project Managed large infra-structure projects, including large power plant construction and harbour construction.
I joined Tharsus Vision in 2015 as Head of Projects, before joining the team at Universal Wolf as Commercial Director in 2018.
What interests you most about your current role as Commercial Director?
The most important part of my role is maintaining the team bond, or pack, that we have built over the last 2 years, following our rebrand to Universal Wolf. The togetherness and bond we are creating does not happen by accident: it takes, time, effort, patience and leadership. Everyone plays their part and it’s important to recognise and acknowledge this.
“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
If you had to pick a point in your career that you were most proud of, what would that be?
Looking back, there are many things I am proud of. Most of them are a reflection on some of the people I’ve helped and mentored through their careers, a number of whom have reached senior management positions within blue chip organisations. If I had to pick one thing in particular, it would be the recruiting of homeless teenagers into an Apprentice scheme. We provided them with a secure job, educated them privately to ensure they achieved the technical grades needed, and mentored them through the apprentice experience. It changed their lives for the better.
From a personal point of view, and excluding my family, the thing I’m most proud of is cycling Lands End to John’O’Groats (in 9 days) to help raise £20,000 for Cancer Research. Not only the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted, but also the most enjoyable.
What does success look like for you?
Personal success is nothing without shared success: when you get it right, everyone should benefit. My goal at Universal Wolf is to make sure we continue to be successful, and to share and celebrate that success with all colleagues.