Our resident refrigeration expert and keen clay pigeon shooter, Lee Harpham, chats to us in our latest Inside IMS blog.

Harnessing his 32 years of industry knowledge and expertise, Lee has been providing IMS Evolve customers with first-class technical consultation since 2015. Working with both new and existing IMS Evolve customers, Lee is responsible for identifying and initiating new opportunities for efficiency across refrigeration and HVAC, developing technical and strategic relationships and advising how best to apply the IMS Evolve solution to improve control and energy performance.

“The data that the IMS software gathers from our customer’s existing infrastructure allows us to understand the current performance and health of the estate, which in turn enables me and the team to advise on how best to configure and implement our solutions to meet individual business needs and make significant improvements.

“It’s all about identifying current inefficiencies, establishing opportunities for automation and focusing on performance and efficiency gains as well as ultimately improving the experience for their customers.”

After leaving school at 16, Lee began his career as a Service Engineer.

“One of the best things about the early days of my career was the exposure to various refrigeration systems across nearly every industry, from corner shops to blood banks. It was my job to repair, service and instal refrigeration equipment within lots of different environments.

“However, it was during my second job as a Commissioning Engineer that I first came across large retail refrigeration estates, such as within Tesco. As a Service Engineer, you attend each site with the mind-set that the asset has been working how it should and you’re there to make necessary repairs, whereas as a Commissioning Engineer, you are responsible for ensuring the equipment meets the customer requirements, from design to manufacturing and installation, through to testing and maintenance throughout the asset’s lifecycle.”

It was during his time as a Commissioning Engineer that Lee first crossed paths with IMS Evolve.

“The IMS Evolve solution was monitoring and managing the equipment within the stores I covered as a Commissioning Engineer, so I naturally began working very closely with them. As my career progressed, I became an Energy Manager for a large food retailer and was in charge of vast programmes for refrigeration upgrades and installations. It was in this role that I experienced, first-hand, the real value that the IMS Evolve solution brings.”

Lee worked alongside IMS Evolve for many years and developed a deep understanding of the solution’s capabilities. When an opportunity to work for the company arose, he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to apply his many years of knowledge and experience to help retailers realise the potential value of the technology.   

“It made absolute sense to use my engineering expertise to identify both quick-win opportunities and long-term strategies that release huge savings for customers. The chance to do this within an innovative company like IMS Evolve, which is driven by operational expertise, was one I couldn’t miss.”

Now, almost five years into the role, Lee is at the forefront of early customer conversations, proof of concepts, implementations and ongoing innovation.  

“IMS provides the opportunity to work alongside existing, new and potential customers to gain a deep understanding of current infrastructure, processes and workflows – often by working closely onsite with engineers.

“Every site can differ, and like-wise, every customer may have different requirements based on individual challenges, and whether that’s food safety requirements or energy reduction, we can tailor our approach in order to effectively meet their goals.”

As IMS Evolve’s portfolio has grown, Lee’s remit has too. Driving efficiencies across HVAC and Lighting are now additional areas of expertise for our refrigeration specialist, providing all-round, estate-wide, technical consultation for our customers.

“The process of seeing the customer gain deeper insight into what is really going on within their environment and advising them how we are going to use this to drive efficiencies through the platform is a part of the process I really enjoy. But I must admit, the raw data our solution is able to capture will always fascinate me as it presents endless possibilities."

When he’s not leading the efficiency charge for IMS customers, Lee can be found out in the country clay pigeon shooting. 

“My number one relaxation is clay pigeon shooting, but driving around the Peak District in my Porsche is a good way to unwind too!”