This month, the ACR Journal talked to Natasha Eley, Service Manager at Stonegrove Refrigeration Services.
Where did you study and what qualifications did you gain? All GSCEs passed at Brays Grove Comprehensive School, Harlow
Where do you work now? Stonegrove Refrigeration Services in Harlow, Essex.
Honestly, when I started working the industry I knew nothing of it. I started at Morris & Young when I was 18 on their service desk and found the job always to be very rewarding and varied. I love the fact that no two days are ever the same and have stuck in the industry ever since!
What do you specialise in now?
As Service Manager I now run our 12 engineers, commercial and industrial, and keep contact with all our clients. Our main focus of business here at Stonegrove is large industrial ammonia projects, so being on the service side I’m covering the after-sales area in dealing with the clients’ service/maintenance requirements and hopefully keeping their future business with Stonegrove.
What excites/interests you about the industry and your part in it now?
The industry is so versatile and there is such a wide spectrum of jobs that you can be involved in, it gives you opportunities you probably have never thought of. From a personal point of view, I have always strived to give good customer service and feel that good customer service from my level is key to success for future works. I love the good and the bad of the job (even though it’s testing at times!) but think I have pretty good relationships with most of my clients, which is something I emphasise to my staff who always work on the service desk.
What would you say to other women who are considering coming into the ACR industry?
DO IT – As with most male-driven industries, women are always left at the bottom of the pack, trying to fight to the top, but certainly I have found over the years women in this industry are being encouraged more and more on all levels, from design, project management, finance and engineering. As I said before, the industry offers a wide variety of skill sets for all looking to start out.
Where do you see your career developing?
Who knows!! I’m just finding my feet with this position.
What are the challenges of this industry?
Being able to make myself heard and be taken seriously. But I hope as time goes on that this will become less of a challenge and I will be accepted as being a female in the business that knows exactly what she is talking about!
What are the benefits of being in your role (e.g. travelling, variety, monetary?):
Personally I like interacting with clients so this job gives me that opportunity by travelling. Obviously money is always a bonus!
What industry competitions or events have you participated in?
I was nominated and shortlisted for a customer service award in my previous role and as a company we have won two Contractor of the Year awards in the past 12 months, including at the National ACR & Heat Pump Awards in January, when I was fortunate enough to be at the ceremony in Birmingham.
What industry associations are you involved with, and what are the benefits?
Institute of Refrigeration. The Institute provides up-to-date information on the latest legislation changes and also provides specific information and seminars for service engineers. I find all the information very helpful in maintaining my knowledge, and being able to relay this to my customers is an added benefit.
Do you know someone who could be a candidate for our Women in ACR feature? Please email David Todd or call 01778 392094.