Balcas: one of Britain's and Ireland's largest wood products suppliers

Engineering Open Day

May 9th, 2019

Read Sean’s story below and please pass on this great opportunity to anyone you know studying or due to graduate Engineering.

I first joined Balcas in 2015 for my university placement, it was my first real taste of the manufacturing industry and I spent 8 months in Reman under the guidance of Jackie Hamilton. On completion of my university degree in Wood Science and Technology from the University of Limerick I was delighted to be offered a full-time position. I returned in June 2016 to assist Jackie in the Reman; picking up where I left off and enjoying the challenges of managing operations in a busy and diverse processing unit.

In January 2018 I embarked on a new adventure when I relocated to our energy plant in Invergordon. Working as part of an energetic management team lead by Johnny Pollock, our primary focus has been continuous improvement. In this new role I was very much out of my comfort zone as I transitioned from sawn timber to pellet manufacturing and my unmistakable accent took a bit of getting used to for the local team.

The biggest initial difference was working in a plant operating 24/7. Unlike the sawmill where time can be allocated for essential maintenance, the energy plant differs for the fact any instance of downtime cannot be made up. For this reason, massive emphasis is put on planning the annual maintenance shutdown.

Most recently in April, I was pleased to be appointed Assistant Plant Manager. Personally, this is a very exciting opportunity. I look forward to continuing the great work achieved on our Invergordon site. We have a tremendous close-knit crew who are enthusiastic about the site’s future and I’m privileged to be part of this team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who I have worked alongside throughout my time at Balcas so far. I have received great support and assistance and have been shown the ropes by so many great colleagues.

Sean Lacken

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