Meet Ashley Sims, Senior Designer at Expro. After leaving school, Ashley graduated college with a HND in Graphic Design. Finding that industry difficult to get a foot in the door, Ashley started work with Oceaneering in 2005, drafting up rig pipe schematics for NDT inspection. After three years, he became a designer for the deepwater team, specialising in a variety of subsea equipment. Ashley then joined Expro in January 2011 as a designer in the Group Engineering Projects Team in Aberdeen, before progressing to Senior Designer.
What keeps you motivated to go to work every day?
Quite simply, I enjoy my job! Being creative - designing, making, and drawing is something that has always been an interest of mine, from being at school, to my day to day life at home. Doing a job that involves all this is what drives me into work each day. My colleagues make my workplace an enjoyable place to be, we have a great laugh in the office, so it’s a really great place to come in to. Because the majority of your life is spent at work, having a career that genuinely interests you and a great group of people around you, is definitely a must for me.
What do you like best/least about your job?
The part about my job I like least can also be the part I like best! When you have a job that comes with a tight deadline and that requires a component machining drawing completed ASAP it can be frustrating! The designing of certain components like Integral Slick Joints or Running Tool Adaptors are very complex and the process can’t be rushed. They require a lot of detail and therefore, concentration. However the satisfaction of successfully completing the design in a short time frame is hugely rewarding and gives me a great sense of achievement, often outweighing the initial frustration.
How have you evolved from your first day in Expro to now?
I’ve definitely learned a great deal since my first day at Expro back in 2011. One big shock was moving over from millimetres to inches! I have evolved from being initially baffled by some of our more complex drawings, to now being a competent senior designer who enjoys the challenge of designing new components start to finish. I’m still learning though, as the saying goes “every day’s a school day.”
Are there challenges in your job, and how do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge that comes up now and then would be when we get some abnormal BOP parameters to work our components around. These sometimes need a non “off the shelf” approach that involves multiple design reviews to work out our best plan of action. These type of jobs are very rewarding once completed.
From waking up in the morning to going to bed at night, what does “a day in the life” look like to you?
My day generally starts off at 6am, as I live out in the sticks (definition: living in the country!) This gives me time to get sorted and drive into the office for a 7:30 start. Most lunch breaks end up being a working lunch as I spend my time on my side business that my wife and I run (@re_up_cycle on Facebook & Instagram, check us out!). I’ll spend my time drawing up some new designs for either our own stock, or for commissions. We recycle unused items, mainly pallets, turning them into wall art and items for home decor. We have even used pallets and shipping crates from the Expro workshop skip in our recycled creations!
Once I am home the work continues out in my workshop, doing woodwork, frame making, staining, whatever the job requires, before my wife adds the art work or pyrography design or any finishing touches. We think we make a good team!
We also have two boys, 6 & 8, who take up any time we have left! We hope to inspire them to be creative in their own way and hope that being creative gives them the same satisfaction and enjoyment that it gives us.