In this recent edition of our ‘Meet the Team’ series, our Group Technical Manager, Raymond Forsyth, discusses his journey while working at STR.
Since joining the company in 2016, Raymond has embodied the STR values displaying teamwork, integrity and being dynamic to give our customers the best solutions, all while being a supportive mentor to our newer team members and playing a pivotal role in developing the STR Academy.
Read more to discover more about Raymond’s diverse career background, why he thinks customers choose STR, and more…
How would you summarise your career background and what led you to STR?
“On leaving secondary school I studied electrical and electronic engineering but went on to work in my family’s businesses in the hospitality sector. I then relocated into Aberdeen where I managed a number of successful premises and finally my own, where I was nominated for three National Awards for quality and service, winning two of the categories and coming runner up in the third…to my brother!
“That’s where my attention to detail and desire to deliver a consistently high level of service and quality product comes from. I feel this is fundamental to the success of any business and something we take great pride in ourselves at STR across all regions.
“Several years later, I retrained as an ROV technician and was fortunate to be hired on completion of the course during a period of downturn in the industry. In this role I worked hard both onshore, maintaining the vehicles and integrating project specific equipment, and offshore on projects themselves to achieve the various competencies required to progress my career. I started off as a trainee and then moved up to senior pilot technician and supervisory roles.
“During this time I was mentored by some great people who recognised I had ability and was willing to put in the effort required to be successful. I will always be grateful that they passed on their knowledge and offered sound guidance and advice in what was an alien environment to me.
“STR was the preferred equipment supplier for my previous employer, and part of my role was the testing and integration of all the different equipment and sensors we hired, which on completion gave me a great sense of achievement. This was my introduction to STR and when the company was looking to open an Aberdeen base, I was asked if I would be interested in coming on board and jumped at the opportunity.”
How has your role evolved since joining STR, and how have you utilised your experience?
“When I first joined, I worked predominantly offshore as a survey technician. While onshore, I would travel down to the STR base in Great Yarmouth where I could get hands-on experience while carrying out testing, preventative maintenance and repairs on a diverse array of equipment and in-house products. I really enjoyed that experience and would take every opportunity available to get exposure in the field, where you develop a real understanding of the equipment you may be integrating, troubleshooting, or repairing in the workshop, offshore or while offering technical support.
“Around 2 ½ years later, I moved into an onshore role as a Senior Base and Support Engineer, then as Technical Operations Supervisor, overseeing the STR workshop in Cults, Aberdeen before we moved to our current location in Altens. That's when things really changed, this was a much bigger workshop and warehouse facility, which meant that STR was going to have a real presence in Aberdeen!
“We moved quickly and started developing our new STR Technology and Service Hub in Aberdeen, and from there we really hit the road running with both new and existing customers.
“Over the following years, I was promoted to Technical Operations Manager and now hold the position of Group Technical Manager, where I continue to work closely with our customers and regional technology and service facilities, almost as an extension of their team.
“I think I’m one of a few people who has been to every original STR site. It has been, and continues to be, a truly exciting journey and to play a small part in the evolution of STR fills me with immense pride.
“STR has experienced rapid growth and now boasts new service facilities in Perth, Singapore and Houston, with a Technology and Innovation centre in Great Yarmouth. Having supported the start up of our international locations, I am looking forward to supporting our new Perth facility in the new year.”
What does a typical day look like for your role - what is the ultimate goal for you?
“Every day is so different but it’s those challenges and changes that make the job enjoyable for me. One of our key values at STR is that you have to be dynamic, because things will change and we have to be ready to adapt so we meet our customer needs.
“I think the unique thing about my role is that I’m supporting our global teams in maintaining the high service and quality standards we strive to deliver. So, week to week I can be at each corner of the globe, supporting the STR teams and ensuring the same high standards, levels of support and service are being provided throughout.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“I'm lucky to be working in a job where I enjoy so many aspects of it. I work closely with world renowned subsea operators and equipment manufacturers, as well as our own in-house technology and product suite, adapting products and software to improve the wide range of OEM technologies and products we have in our fleet, which excites me.
“I enjoy working closely with our senior management and R&D teams when it comes to innovations and developing new technologies to further strengthen our unique product and equipment offering, and working with clients to get them into the market.
“I love working with a team and helping others, whether it’s our customers in the form of technical support, providing operational input and insight into our new product development (“NPD”) programme or mentoring the newer members in our team and helping them develop their careers and experience.
“I still get a real buzz assisting in the integration of large, complex spreads of equipment and seeing it all come together in preparation for client Factory Acceptance Testing and feel great satisfaction when the kit is packed up and shipped out, as it takes great effort from all STR departments to deliver a quality product and service successfully.”
Tell us about the STR Academy? Why is this something you’re passionate about?
“When I started out in this industry, I appreciated the support and mentorship I had from senior figures, so I wanted to be a good supervisor and invest the time in supporting those more junior than me going forward.
“The STR Academy is something I’ve played a big part in developing, because I’m so passionate about supporting others' progression and implementing positive processes. Teamwork and succession planning is crucial for any company, so the STR Academy provides a clear path of progression and ensures every team member has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
What do you see in STR’s future within the industry over the next 3 to 5 years?
“Everything we do at STR is built around teamwork, succession and growth. There's no boundary for what the future holds, which is incredibly exciting.”
Why do you think people choose STR?
“I believe the level of interaction we have with our customers, as well as the effort we put into finding effective - and sometimes bespoke - technical solutions is what really sets us apart.
“We're there for the full life cycle of our customers, from conception, during the project, right through to completion - and at every stage we’re on hand to support to ensure we deliver a superior level of service.
“Our equipment standards and the quality of our technical support is fantastic, and everyone in the team is so passionate about what we deliver, whether it's the operations team, the sales team, the technical team - everyone really cares about what we do. I feel like that personal touch and the ethos behind the company has not been lost, even through our transition onto a global platform.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
“Be dedicated, work hard and stay focused - opportunities will follow! If you have that mindset, you will succeed in whatever you do in life.”
Find out more about STR and our suite of best-in-class services here...