Keeping it local is key for new Sizewell C Supply Chain Manager

Ian Currie has been appointed Sizewell C Supply Chain Manager at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

A Chartered Engineer, business analyst, and former RAF Officer, Ian comes to the role from Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group in Cambridge where he undertook consulting, strategy analysis and business planning roles.

Ian Currie is the new Sizewell C Supply Chain Manager at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce
Ian Currie is the new Sizewell C Supply Chain Manager at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

At Suffolk Chamber, Ian joins a growing team working in collaboration with EDF, the company behind Sizewell C, to ensure local and regional companies are ready to win work during the construction of the new nuclear power station planned for the Suffolk coast.

His main role will be to manage work packages being issued by Sizewell C and the Civil Works Alliance of Tier 1 contractors, understand what is required, and, where possible, find local companies who have the expertise and capacity to fulfil the work. Ian will also undertake gap analysis on companies registered on the supply chain database, to make sure they are fully aligned with the necessary accreditations and governance to work on the project, so they are fit to bid as contracts become available.

Of his new appointment Ian said: “I wanted to move into something with growth potential and a sector that is recognised by Government as being key to our nation’s future.

“I see the energy sector as being crucial to the UK’s economic wellbeing, and with nuclear power complementing renewable energy sources, it will also be important to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

“In order to secure funding and support for the programme, it is vital that the potential benefit to the local and national economy is realised. By having a substantial local component to the supply chain, there is also greater likelihood of delivering the enduring local legacy we seek for the project.”

Ian, who has lived in Suffolk since the early 1990s, also believes that a large infrastructure project like Sizewell C will reawaken the county’s proud industrial heritage and make a significant contribution to net zero 2050.

“I see Sizewell C as key to creating new opportunities to replace lost industry in the Suffolk and giving a more positive future to some of the communities that have been hit by that decline, especially for the younger generations.”

“It may seem counter intuitive, but Sizewell C is also key to preserving our countryside by making a significant contribution to carbon reduction and the threat of climate change; all the new zero carbon initiatives need energy. Nuclear will provide a much-needed predictable energy supply to complement renewables, and it is far better that this be zero emission nuclear rather than coal or gas power generation.”


Early days

Ian always wanted to be an engineer and was fascinated by aircraft, cars and boats from a young age. He studied engineering at Huntingdon Technical College which paved the way to a degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Kingston Polytechnic where he met his wife to be, who was studying on the same course.

Whilst there, he successfully applied to join the Royal Air Force as an Engineering Officer. Ian’s early RAF career was spent running aircraft maintenance organisations, including operating air to air refuelling aircraft, and then managing engine and aircraft overhaul operations at RAF Wattisham, which was when he moved to Suffolk.

After a brief spell in weapon systems research and development at Shoeburyness in Essex, Ian went on to study for an MSc in Advanced Systems Engineering at Loughborough. This enabled him to become a specialist weapon systems analyst in the Ministry of Defence, in London, supporting current operations as well as strategic procurement programmes.

After 19 years’ RAF service, Ian changed direction and studied for project management qualifications and moved into programme management consultancy with QinetiQ before joining Marshall Aerospace in their start-up consulting practice. In the 12 years that followed, Ian diversified into strategy, market analysis and business planning roles, helping develop and deliver business development campaigns as well as introducing a new integrated business planning process to the company.


In his spare time

Ian is a classic car enthusiast and has been an active and long-standing committee member of the East Anglian Alfa Romeo Owners Club. He also has a soft spot for elderly Land Rovers, follows motor racing and sails when he has the chance.

“For many years I used to practice martial arts, until a back injury forced me to look for something less damaging! I now enjoy walking, and the recent pandemic has seen us increase our annual step count considerably,” he said.

“I have got to know our locality much better during lockdown, found lots of new walks and also taken time to really appreciate the nature we have around us. I can now identify more birds, trees and flowers than I used to. I have also found more time to re-kindle my interest in wood-working and found I have more patience and thus am improving my skills.”

He has a love of Italian food, and Italy itself, along with a Nordic landscape and live music and science festivals – all things he hopes to experience again soon.

“I love live music and also listening to some really clever scientists explain some the great wonders of the world and universe,” he said. “Walking the dog, with family or friends in some great rural, coastal or mountainous landscape, followed up with a nice craft beer, meal and a pub quiz would be a very good day!”

Most of all, however, Ian is looking forward to walking the eldest of his two daughters down the aisle later this year.

“I have done some interesting things in my life, but my biggest achievement was meeting my wife Megan, persuading her to marry me, and bringing up two fantastic girls who inspire me with their drive and commitment to making a positive contribution to the world or where they live.

“Having had to postpone her wedding last year, I hope that my eldest will be able to get married this year, and then I can be a proud father of the bride! Whilst it is not in my gift, I would love to become a grandfather sometime soon.”


Welcome to the team

Gareth Davies, head of engagement in the Sizewell C Supply Chain team said he is delighted to welcome Ian on board.

“Ian’s background in the aerospace industry gives him a nuanced understanding of highly technical and highly regulated industry,” he said.

“As a Suffolk resident, I know he is excited about supporting the Chamber’s contribution to the long-term economic future of both Suffolk and the region by ensuring that we maximise opportunities for the local and regional supply chain to work at Sizewell C. His appointment also reinforces Sizewell C’s commitment to create employment within the region and we will continue to grow our team, strengthening support for this game-changing project.”