Industrial Refrigeration Systems, Services, Plant and Equipment Design & Manufacture - Star Refrigeration

James Ward

Please briefly describe your current role and a typical working day.

I am Star Refrigeration’s Operations Director. My everyday job involves an extremely varied number of tasks, from investigating continuous improvement opportunities, challenging H&S procedures, interfacing with customers to solve their problems, supporting internal departments with their day to day challenges to reviewing financial information to get the most out of our budgets.

What is the greatest challenge you face in your job?

Time management and delegation. I love to get involved with the team and helping them solve problems, but this can lead to getting too involved in the day to day tasks. I’m still getting used to overseeing the department and making sure minor tasks are delegated.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

The people – customers, staff, suppliers and subcontractors that I work with.

Please provide a brief outline of your career so far.

Trainee – Service Engineer – Projects Engineer – Technical Sales Engineer – Key Account Manager – Sales Manager (Food Market) – Director of Sales (Food Market) – Operations Director

As you can see I am now in my ninth role at Star, and have worked across a range of different business divisions. I can now use knowledge drafted from each of these different positions in my current role as I have a greater understanding of the company and the refrigeration industry.

How did you come to choose this career path?

My father worked for Hall Thermotank International (HTI) ahead of running his own refrigeration business in Northern Ireland. Whilst working for Zero Refrigeration in Belfast I was introduced to Star Refrigeration when we were subcontracted to support an industrial installation fitting one of Star’s Low Pressure Receiver systems using ammonia as the refrigerant.

Upon joining Star Refrigeration I was enrolled in Bath College completing my refrigeration technician’s qualification and followed this up with two years at Willesden College London completing an HNC & HND in refrigeration. You can say I didn’t really plan on becoming a technician, I was just following in my father’s footsteps, but I was incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to study for my qualifications so I could progress in this career.

How has being in different roles been of benefit to you and the job you do for customers?

Having experience in a number of different roles has been invaluable. It has obviously benefited me because I am working my way up the career ladder and gaining new skills, as well as becoming more confident in my refrigeration expertise. I can do a better job for our customers because I know all about the different sections of the business, and I know what it’s like to be a trainee as well as a manager. I think this can also be an inspiration to the new trainees and apprentices, as they can see first-hand the progression opportunities at Star and one day they could be in my position.

James Ward - Operations Director