2 Minutes With: Mikey, Aqua Project Manager

Home for Mikey is Thatcham, West Berkshire, making him perfectly placed to look after clients’ projects across the South of England. That said, a recent project took him to Arklow in Ireland, but, then again, flexibility is key within the project world!

Talking of travel, Mikey enjoys sports when he’s not at work, although he describes his golf as something he enjoys “more so when playing abroad in the sun, with a cold beer in my hand.”  And, if he wasn’t working in the temperature control sector, he thinks he’d be best suited to “selling lemonade on a beach in St Lucia, stress free.”  If he could choose one superpower, he’d go for time travel, which would help with his commutes between jobs and make him the best Project Manager on the planet!

Mikey is renowned by his Aqua colleagues for having a great sense of humour and will always manage a joke and a smile, even on the toughest of projects. When you ask Mikey what he loves most about his role, it’s the variety of clients and projects he comes across at Aqua. “One day I can be at a brewery or a plastic moulding factory and the next at a football stadium or F1 headquarters.”    

Here, in his own words, Mikey gives us an insight into a recent project for an aerospace technology client.

“We had a three-day window, over a weekend, to get this project ready to go. The job in hand involved replacing a water tower and tank with a new adiabatic unit and a smaller tank, designed to a specific footprint.

It was all hands on deck on the first day. The team, consisted of myself – in my trusted install uniform of jeans and a top – two welders, three pipe fitters, an electrician, a HIAB, and a team of six to help lift and shift equipment.

If I’m honest, the day didn’t get off to the best start. We learnt last minute that we couldn’t drain down the system in the planned location. The legacy, 10,000 litre tank, held treated water, which restricted where it could be discharged to. So, we quickly moved to Plan B (always need a Plan B!), which initially seemed like miles away. But, by using an intermediate bulk container (IBC) and a forklift, we successfully completed the drain down and decommissioned both the tank and water tower.

Next, we needed to strip down the old units, and get it onto the back of a trailer to make room for the new equipment. Then our team would be free to crack on with the installation work.

Fast forward two VERY long days and, for me, an unhappy wife! But we were piped up, wired up, and the system was filled, and pressure tested. At this stage we could put it in the hands of Aqua’s very capable lead commissioning engineer, Julian, to get everything up and running.

I’m a firm believer that the key to being a successful Project Manager is surrounding yourself with the right team, and this job was testament to that. Whether you’re reliant on contractors, or your own team, it’s important to be able to trust everyone involved to do the very best job for the client.

By the end of this project the customer was smiling, we’d secured the Planned Preventative Maintenance contract on the system, and it opened the door for us to do similar projects on the clients’ sites across the UK!

Sometimes, the projects that don’t always go to plan are the ones you enjoy the most. It’s difficult to make allowances for every eventuality. But, what’s important, is to be able to adapt and to overcome challenges along the way. I can’t wait to get involved in the next one!” 

Mikey O'Neill - Aqua Temperature Control People

Home for Mikey is Thatcham, West Berkshire, making him perfectly placed to look after clients’ projects across the South of England.

Email: mikey.oneill@aquacooling.co.uk

Job Title: Project Manager

Mikey, Aqua Project Manager