After travelling the world thanks to the industry he set his sights on as a schoolboy, Alasdair Buchanan has returned to Scotland.
The Thurso-born 51-year-old said living in his home country was a big attraction when taking on the role of chief operating officer at energy services business Senergy.
He added that, now he had his feet under the table at the Aberdeen-based firm, he was finding Senergy itself was also attractive and had “huge growth potential”.
Some of that potential is already being realised – Mr Buchanan said the company had the best month in its history earlier this year after signing contracts worth £22million in March alone.
Mr Buchanan said success did not come by itself, however.
He said: “Senergy employs around 580 people at the moment, but we are looking to increase that over the next 12 months.
“The challenge is getting the resources which will get the business where we want it to be. We are successful in recruiting people, but everyone is looking to add to their workforce at the moment, so it is a tight market.”
In 2011, the company achieved 16% growth. The group says it is now well on target to surpassing £100million of turnover in 2012.
Mr Buchanan joined Senergy after nearly 30 years abroad.
After leaving Thurso High School, he worked for a year at Dounreay because he was certain chemical engineering was the career for him. After graduating from Edinburgh University, he joined BJ Services.
Mr Buchanan spent nearly 28 years with the business, climbing the ladder from engineering trainee to ultimately become the company’s vice-president for international operations.
In the process he lived and worked across the world in Asia, the Netherlands and west Africa, but he also has first-hand experience of the North Sea from early in his career.
“I worked offshore in the North Sea for a while,” he said, adding: “That was actually where I first met (Senergy chief executive) James McCallum.
“He was on the Britoil graduate programme while I was doing my training in the early 1980s. When James approached me to work at Senergy, that was the first time we had worked together since those days offshore – so it is now coming around full circle.”
Mr Buchanan said the North Sea had “changed massively” since the days when he and Mr McCallum were trainees.
“Those were the days when the only companies in the market were supermajors,” he said.
“Now there are a lot more independents and there is a lot more investment coming in, which presents more opportunities for Senergy.”
Mr Buchanan – who lives in Aberdeen with his partner Debbie and has a 23-year-old daughter Carina and sons Ross, 15, and Kyle, 14 – said Senergy was not just concentrating on the North Sea.
He said: “If you look at the company’s revenue profile, in its early days it was very much reliant on the North Sea.
“Over time, the international business has grown significantly and it is now getting close to a 50-50 split between the North Sea and the rest of the world.
“There is a lot of focus at the moment on Asia Pacific, India and the Middle East, which led to us opening an office in Dubai earlier this year.
“I am also keen for us to look closer at the Americas – it is a market I am familiar with from my time in the US, and although we have businesses there it still has great potential.”