In the spotlight with IPP

Today, we put Joint Managing Director, Ian Crabtree under our spotlight.

Introducing the fourth edition of IPP Group In the Spotlight with Ian Crabtree, Joint Managing Director IPP Europe, IPP Scomark SPI and IPP Scomark Engineering.

Ian has been in the Oil & Gas industry for more than 25 years, in sales and business development roles. He joined IPP Group as Group Sales Director in 2010 bringing a wide range of skills and experience to the group. Since 2010, Ian has been instrumental in setting up the Middle East operations and successfully managed the Australian operations before being asked to take up the position as joint MD, with colleague Helen Simcox.

Ian elaborates on his route through IPP in our interview today.


Q. Ian you have been involved with 3 key roles within IPP Group around the world. What has been the most significant and a learning curve for you?

A. Most people are well aware of the fact that I have been based in the UK, Middle East and Western Australia, as well as doing a considerable amount of international business travel in my previous roles as a BDM.

This has enabled me to expand on my knowledge of the various cultural differences, business practices and has enabled me to understand the client requirements in greater depth. You get a much better understanding the demands and appreciate the different values when you spend a considerable amount of time there, rather than just a ‘fly in, fly out’ business trip.

Q. From all your experience and business development skills, which of them most supports you in your role as joint MD?

A. Not just one single role really, more of an accumulation of experience built up over the many years I have been in the industry. I have ‘worn’ many different hats so to speak, and fulfilled many roles, from packing on the shop floor to delivering orders, assisting in writing the QA manual and implementing the old BS5750 in one company etc. I think that this wide and varied experience enables me to understand the requirements of all the departments within a manufacturing company that coupled with the material and product knowledge, industry and client base on a global scale.

Q. Your role is split between you and Helen Simcox, how does the remit work and what is your particular responsibility in the business?

A. Helen and I take cover IPP Europe, IPP Scomark Engineering and IPP Scomark, with Chris covering IPPM and IPPSMS. Helen and I are joint in the sense that our skill sets are fully complimentary of each other. Helen has adopted the role of looking after the office; her knowledge of the software systems that we operate is far greater than mine. Myself, I am overseeing and ensuring that the HSE requirements are implemented and followed and jointly we look after production.

I also support the sales director with technical and commercial evaluation on major project bids.

Q. How is the current Oil price and change in the industry impacting on IPP Group as a member of the supply chain and how does this set IPP Group a part from the competition?

A. We are currently involved in several large, long term projects which will hopefully see us through any slowdown in new Oil & Gas projects. However, we are expecting a large upturn and demand in requirements for the civil nuclear programme which is now starting in the UK. With our experience and existing approvals, from the EPC’s and OEM’s that will be involved in supplying to these new stations, we are ideally positioned to hopefully secure a significant portion of the piping requirements.

Q. There is an industry skills shortage of significant proportion, how do you intend to get involved and solve that problem?

A. We are currently looking at taking on more apprentices to train within the various divisions of the Group, with an opportunity for permanent employment once complete. Investing in, and employing local people and providing a secure working future for them, while at the same time ensuring a high level of skilled staff to ensure continuity within the company in all areas. This also shows our commitment to maintaining a British manufacturing presence.

Q. Where do you position the IPP business and where will the group be in the next 2-3 years?

A. I believe that the commitment of the Group owners and the willingness to continually invest and expand within the business units, will ensure that we continue to be one of the market leaders within the markets that we serve. As the recent acquisition of SMS has proven, we are not afraid to complement the Groups abilities and services that we are able to offer by expansion.

Q. Generally speaking, what are some of the challenges the O & G industry is facing now?

A. Apart from the low oil price at the moment, the current technology and materials are being pushed to the limit in developing new fields that are not only deeper, but hotter and higher pressure. We pride ourselves in the fact that we work closely with our clients to assist in proving materials, design calculations, which further enhances our commitment, and credibility in the market place.

Q. Tell us one thing about you that people might be surprised to know?

A. I am a fully qualified BSAC Dive Leader and avid scuba diver.