Making a Difference - Joel Kirby

15 May 2019

Since joining the Resort in 2016 Joel has been instrumental in rolling out new procedures and efficiencies to reduce energy that last year alone saw savings of £120,000. His dedication and hard work has enabled the Resort to achieve Green Dragon and Green Tourism Gold status… which is no small task with a business of our scale!

We caught up with Joel following is MAD Award win for 'Facilities & Development Employee of the Year' to find out a little bit more about his day-to-day and his motivations.

So Joel, how long have you been working at the Resort and what did you do prior before joining the Celtic Collection?

I’ve worked at the Resort now for around 2 and a half years. Before that I was an environmental account manager working under the group energy manager of a company called The Restaurant Group who own brands Frankies and Benny’s and Chiquitos, among others. My role there mainly involved auditing and training staff on energy efficiency techniques.

What does your typical day look like?

It is very difficult to pin down a typical day, but there are various things that I do on daily basis to manage the estate’s utilities.

Every morning, I check our sub-metering for any issues overnight or pick out any trends or anomalies from the previous day that could impact on overall consumption. This can be from a number of things, improper shutdowns in any of the outbuildings and golf clubs, equipment being switched or left on in areas that should not be, and to ensure key equipment is functioning. Daily I check and set up the multiple building management systems, which involves setting up heating and air conditioning schedules for upcoming business, checking building temperatures and generally ensuring equipment is running correctly.

Following this, I make sure key items are in stock, such as LED lighting, something which I oversee to ensure we are only ordering high efficiency equipment across the Collection. Waste management will also take a main role in any typical day. From managing contamination reports to chasing missed collections, this can be very time-consuming.  The rest of my time can vary, from dealing with project installations, developing new projects and dealing with other requests and concerns from across the business. 

How do you relax after a busy day at work?

It depends on the weather really. If it’s cold and miserable (basically any time in winter) it’s nice just to relax in front of the TV but in the summer it’s nice to get out of the flat and go for a walk or a drink. I have the benefit of living in the middle of Cardiff which makes it much easier to do that!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s often the case in energy management that you get setbacks if you don’t get funding for projects when you spend a long time developing business cases. My previous boss always used to say that the best energy managers have the patience to persevere even when this happens and move on to the next project until one sticks. I’ve been lucky in my role at the Celtic Manor in that I seem to be trusted with funding to be able to do a good job, but it’s certainly something that I think has helped to get me where I am today.

What’s your favourite area across the Celtic Collection?

I think it probably has to be The Rib. I do like my food and they serve my favourite cuisine over there, plus it’s nice to have a change of scenery from working in the Resort all day, I don’t tend to get out to the Golf Clubs or Coldra Court as much as I’d like given the focus that the Resort demands in comparison to the outbuildings.

What motivates you in your role?

My main interest has always been in the environment and so I would have to say that my main drive is to have an impact on reducing our global emissions. As an energy manager, I am in a privileged position to have a direct responsibility and the resources to reduce the emissions and enhance the sustainability of The Celtic Manor Collection. To see the improvements that are being made on a day to day basis encourages me to continue to seek further areas of improvement and persuade others to do the same.

Most memorable or proud day at work?

Probably the day I found out that we’d been awarded the Green Tourism Gold award - it was something that I’d been working on since I started my role at the Resort and to go one better than our previous audit report. It took almost 3 weeks between the audit and receiving the award so it was certainly a massively memorable day when I got the call and received the results.

What’s your next goal?

I set myself continuous goals to reduce the resort impact on the environment every month, although my next major goal is deliver Green Key environmental accreditation for ICCW when it opens later this year. It would be great if we could also maintain our Gold status with Green Tourism at the Resort and at Coldra Court Hotel in our audits later this year though!

Where has your MAD Award trophy taken pride of place?

At the moment it’s sitting on a cabinet in my living room at home, although I think it’ll probably end up with the Green Dragon and Green Tourism plagues on my desk.

What are you looking forward to?

I’m being kept very busy the Resort at the moment with everything going on and it’s a really exciting time for the business. Time seems to be flying past at the moment and it won’t be long until I’ve got a few more challenges to get stuck into.

Celtic Champions - Making a Difference

We'll be sharing more about our Celtic Champions who are making a difference. Keep a look out on our social channels for posts with #CelticChampions for an inside look!

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