From repairing toy cars as a child to nearly 30 years in the world of refrigeration engineering, Richard Taylor, Refrigeration Controls Specialist at IMS, tells us how his experience in the industry has helped him become the refrigeration superhero he is today.
‘Refrigeration is a bit like Chess, you can learn the basics in no time but there is always something new to keep you interested.’ Says Richard. Although perhaps not the most common of analogies, Richard’s expertise and knowledge for refrigeration engineering couldn’t be a more appropriate fit for IMS…
Richard Taylor may have only joined the team in early 2020, but he was no stranger to the IMS Evolve solution. In his previous role as a Commissioning Engineer, he regularly worked on-site for one of IMS’s largest UK food retail customers, commissioning new refrigeration systems and enabling their smooth integration to the IMS Evolve solution.
Richard adds, ‘I also worked alongside IMS in my previous role to assist in the setup of the Refrigeration Research Centre. This first-of-its-kind refrigeration test facility models the essential dynamics of a typical supermarket to provide a live and accurate testing environment. IMS worked alongside a large consortium, including the likes of Tesco and Lincoln University with co-funding from the Government's Innovation Agency, Innovate UK, to test an innovative new demand response solution. It was a really unique project for me to be involved in!’
Existing knowledge of our solution, passion for refrigeration engineering and his longstanding friendship with our resident refrigeration expert, Lee Harpham, meant that Richard’s progression to a fully-fledged IMS colleague was inevitable.
‘I found out about the job through Lee, who I have known for the best part of 30 years. We worked together in the early 90’s, when I was straight out of school, on a refrigeration apprenticeship and Lee was a Junior Service Engineer. I was his apprentice for a few years and after undergoing further training together, we have maintained our friendship ever since; I taught him everything he knows of course!’
Richard’s role at IMS is working alongside Lee in the IoT Solutions team. This has been a big change from his time as a hands-on commissioning engineer, and he’s gone from daily store visits to predominantly working behind a desk managing customer insights remotely.
‘It was a big decision and there are times I miss being on the tools, but long hours with weekend and night work, coupled with my children quickly growing up, led me to think differently about how I can still work in an industry I love whilst achieving a more positive work life balance.’
‘In addition, the role at IMS is extremely diverse and has challenged my knowledge and skillset. We have a wide range of customers across the world who have an even wider variety of refrigeration systems and control strategies so there is plenty to keep me busy!’
Richard’s background enriches the department with engineering and industry knowledge as well as first-hand experience in how the IMS solution is used in retail environments.
‘This kind of in-house machine and system experience is hugely unique for the technology industry and is massively beneficial in enabling us to identify efficiencies and savings within our customer’s machines. I believe it also plays a role in asserting our expertise as a company. It provides our customers with the confidence that IMS understands their equipment and how to run it more efficiently whilst minimising waste. We can also effectively communicate with customer technical teams to drive a better understanding of what they require from the solution on a technical level.’
So, what does our refrigeration superhero’s day-to-day consist of you ask? Well, we did too…
‘A large part of my role is to work alongside our customers, usually in the role of the SME (Subject Matter Expert), to establish and deliver energy saving, performance optimisation and waste mitigation initiatives through the IMS IoT platform across their refrigeration estates. I also work alongside internal teams to help understand the refrigeration data our solution is gathering from all our customers sites and assist with any refrigeration technical issues. I do occasionally get out on-site to assist with set-ups or check equipment types along with the odd visit to the Refrigeration Research Centre!’
Having only had around 10 weeks working in the office before lockdown commenced, Richard has enjoyed the additional flexibility around his home life and, although he hopes this continues into his future at IMS, he is looking forward to spending time in the office too…
‘I can honestly say I find IMS a great place to work! I work with a great team of people who are very professional, supportive and have a great work ethic, but can be a good laugh too. Working from home has been very productive and I enjoy the flexibility – I’ve even been able to take my kids to school which I have never previously been able to do, but I am looking forward to the office re-opening so I can also get away from them occasionally too!’
Let’s hope Richard continues to settle into IMS (and that his wife doesn’t get a read of this!)