In this month’s Q&A: Modern Fleet talks to Dee Humphries, interim managing director at ENGIE EV Solutions about having Terry Pratchett, James Hetfield and Ada Lovelace round for dinner, coming back as a ring-tailed lemur and ensuring we have the next generation of engineers coming through
Favourite holiday destination?
I like a bit of local wildlife and nature when I get away, so I loved Mexico – full of iguanas, coatis and amazing colourful fish for snorkelling, with incredible scenery.
What car do you drive?
I am currently driving a DS E-Tense, I’m shortly changing to a Hyundai Kona. I rent my EVs short term at the moment so that I can get a feel for what’s on the market whilst I’m settling into the industry.
How and when did you get into this industry?
My background is predominantly facilities management and soft services, but I moved in to EV almost by chance in October 2020 when I joined ENGIE to do some process improvement works after starting up my own consultancy. It’s amazing how much there is to learn in EV and how fast you become passionate about the transition to e-mobility, so I’m delighted that they have asked me to stay and assume the interim MD position.
How can we encourage more people into the industry?
I think the industry is appealing to most people as it’s exciting and a growth area, however, more work needs to be done with STEM access routes for the next generation to ensure we have the engineers of the future coming through. We are still at the stage where we recruit from outside of the EV industry and look for transferable skills, but as a business we will be spending some our dedicated volunteering time supporting individuals coming into industry, in the hope that they will see EV as a career of choice.
I’ve lived through this in the facilities management industry; when I started there it was a career people generally fell into, but now it’s professionalised with recognised qualifications and clear career paths.
What are your industry predictions for the next 12 months?
Everyone would agree that there will an increase in the percentage of EVs on the road – I think from a CPO perspective the next 12 months are about customer focus, being easy to do business with and improving customer journeys. That’s my focus anyway, contactless payments, reliability and listening to EV drivers.
What is the strangest or most challenging job you have done?
I love a challenge, but I think home schooling during lockdown has to be the most challenging ‘job’ I’ve ever had. Strangest (or ickiest) has to be a Saturday job in a veterinary surgery when I was younger – lots of cleaning!
If you had your time again would you have followed the same career path?
Very little of my career path has been planned, I’ve worked hard and the next opportunity has usually presented itself. If I had my time over, I might be a little more strategic about my route to where I am today and perhaps have a five-year plan. But I think you can learn from every situation you’re in, and as long as you take that opportunity and know when it’s time to move on, you can’t go wrong.
If you had been reincarnated, who or what do you think you were in a past life?
Never thought about it! Perhaps a ring-tailed lemur. I’ve always loved them, and perhaps that would explain why I’ve always been obsessed with them.
If you could invite four people to a dinner party – living or dead – who would they be – and why?
Terry Pratchett, I grew up reading the Discworld novels and love his sense of humour. James Hetfield, I bet the tour stories would be amazing. Ada Lovelace, a woman who showed an interest in science and logic well before any move toward equality and my friend Mike, because he’d never forgive me for going to dinner with a member of Metallica without him.
What are your passions outside the workplace?
Live music, particularly rock and metal; spending time with my kids and ferrying them to and from various activities (I’ve become weirdly fond of under-7s football for a non-football fan); watching almost any sport when I get the time and I tried my hand at painting during lockdown but it’s safe to say there’s no career change on the horizon there!
If they made a film about your life who would play you?
I asked my family and was horrified by the responses…so I’ll just say hopefully someone younger.
Describe yourself in five words?
Loud, determined, upbeat, approachable… and short.