My job, my passion | Larry McLauglin

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My job, my passion | Larry McLauglin

July 28th '19

Does the name Newcastle Upon Tyne ring a bell? After today, it certainly will. Not only because it is the ideal location for a weekend trip – medieval city centre with an industrial core at the east coast of England, the Grainger Market, the Quayside with its famous bridges, the monument of Earl Grey, authentic factories now populated by creative companies, the enormous football stadium…  but especially because we are proud of our local establishment: Smulders Projects UK. We give the floor to one of our English colleagues, Larry McLauglin. Passionate about Smulders and football!

What exactly is your job, Larry? “I am Process Engineer at Smulders Projects UK and I make sure the construction process runs smoothly. Transition pieces, jackets and substations no longer hold any secrets from me. From storage to supply and assembly at the right time and at the proper location, it’s really my thing. I am the glue between engineering, logistics, project management and construction.”

Since when are you on board? “I work for Smulders since 2016, after the company I worked for previously was taken over. Since my education to be a production engineer, I have gained approximately 30 years of experience in the industry. I was born and raised in Newcastle on the banks of the River Tyne, near the sea. I have studied here and always worked within its region. I love living here and am very proud to be able to work for Smulders now.”

What is it that makes Smulders Projects UK unique? “Our branch works on a project basis on the production of foundations and substations for offshore wind parks and other major offshore structures. That on its own is quite a mouthful and we have an excellent reputation worldwide for doing so. The fact that I am allowed to contribute to all of this as a Process Engineer, makes me a proud employee.”

What is your perception of Smulders as an employer? “We are given many opportunities here, so just grabbing them is the message. I came in with many years of experience when our branch became part of the Smulders family, but yet there was and still is a lot to learn. The philosophy and pleasant vibe I feel here and the ambition to stay in pole position when it comes to the offshore wind market, is all completely in line with my own vision and ambition. Even though the project team is not located in England, the overseas communication runs very smoothly. The colleagues in Belgium provide us with the support and means necessary to grow both professionally and personally.  When I started working for Smulders, I trained at Smulders Projects in Hoboken for a few weeks. Our Belgian colleagues are always available and more than willing to share their knowledge.”

What is it that makes your work unique? “Every day is different. Leaning back comfortably behind my desk is impossible because of the coordination tasks I have and the deadlines I have to pay close attention to. That creates a certain level of stress, but that pressure goes hand in hand with positive vibes. I just want to do my job the best I can and once the team and I see the progress and the result of a project... amazing. A few highlights are the jackets for the Beatrice Offshore Wind Park and the European Wind Deployment Centre (Aberdeen Bay). We are currently working on the Moray East Jackets (55 jackets) and Triton Knoll OTM TPs (2 OTM transition pieces).”

Your job clearly is your passion, but do you have another one? “Absolutely, my job and my family are extremely important to me. And you may have guessed it: so is football. That has been a passion of mine since I was a little boy. I used to play myself for a long time but due to a knee injury, I now sit on the bench as a spectator. I obviously support Newcastle United. I go to the match every two weeks.”

Your own football club in the city, that must be worth your while? “Certainly, with its own football stadium in St. James' Park. Many people know the club as ‘The Magpies’ and the supporters as ‘Geordies’. We play in a black/white striped shirt and in light blue during the away matches. Don’t forget to look for us when you watch English football any time soon.”

How is the club currently doing? “We play in the Premier League and the home matches are usually attended by approximately 52,000 fans. Football is a real boost for Newcastle. There have been seasons we didn’t do so well but we are on the rise right now. You know our boys, right? Dubravka, Lascelles, Fernández, Shelvey, Almíron and many others… all of them top players. We won the match against Manchester City this spring; we were so very proud. We are also holding our own against Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Liverpool. I am a fan of Newcastle United in heart and soul and always will be.”

Do you feel a connection between your job and your passion for football? “Grabbing opportunities, striving for victory, doing the best you can… I can see those values both within my job and in football. You won’t be winning all the time, but if you give it your all within your capabilities and within the things you can control, that’s perfectly fine. Football players also have a plan they execute. They overcome obstacles, take on challenges and are genuinely proud if they make progress. I have a bit of that same feeling at Smulders: striving for the perfect delivery, within the timeframe and, above all, safe!”