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Max Shone, Assistant Energy Manager

What does your position involve? 

Central to my role will be the continuous improvement of our utility metering network throughout the estate. Also, I have a background in the Water Industry and there are plans to put this to use in any future tendering process for water supply agreements. As I get up to speed I will pick up various projects from Greg Nolan our Energy Manager.

What is your (education/qualification) background and how did you get here? 

My most recent qualification is a Master of Technology in Water Processes from Cranfield University. This was sponsored by Anglian Water where I doubled as a Technologist in their Innovation Department for the duration of the course. Subsequently I worked there in various guises (from environmental regulation to asset management) for ten years. After this I headed up the utilities offering at an infrastructure consultancy as an associate engineer.

My first degree was Environmental Science (BSc) at Sussex University followed by an MSc in Integrated Water Policy from Middlesex University.

What were you doing before joining the Sustainability Team?

I had decided to take a career break and follow some personal interests. Then COVID came along and it was a case of making the best of it. I took a number of courses as part of a qualification to become a counsellor and I have just passed my Level 3. If you have upmarket tastes then maybe I’ve picked your online shopping as I worked nights in a supermarket to facilitate my qualification!  

What are you looking forward to getting your teeth into in the coming year?

It is apparent that energy is a significant cost to the University both economically and environmentally. I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with metering integrity and data accuracy for our utility usage, i.e. electricity, gas and water. This will be invaluable to our team’s strategic aims and in supporting carbon and energy reduction initiatives in the future. 

Who is your inspirational figure (real or fictional)?

Tough question! I think I see certain attributes which inspire. For instance Steve Waugh (former Australian cricket captain) had a mantra of ‘back yourself’ which resonates with me. I suppose currently the only public figure I feel who is offering any leadership as to how society can move forward is England football manager, Gareth Southgate. On the green front, I have a soft spot for Greta Thunberg and her plain speaking.

Do you have any hobbies? 

I like to cycle but relatively sedately compared to others on the road. I have taken a sabbatical from running but I have been challenged to pick this up again so we’ll see! I also love watching cricket and have been known to play occasionally. Recently though, my free time has been taken up by coursework and enjoying time with my wife and two teenage children.

What do you think is the biggest environmental challenge? 

Overcoming vested interests. I feel that too much wealth (read: power) is in the hands of those benefitting from the status quo.

What gets you out of bed (and into work) in the morning? 

Currently the rotund pigeon roosting on the garage roof… but in all seriousness, I am at my most motivated when I feel I am making a difference – it makes starting work in the morning much easier!

What is your environment-related pet hate? 

Food waste, followed by excess packaging. This list could go on and on…

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I am proud that I retrained and managed to be successful in building a career in the utility sector.

As I write this, I also recall a ’champagne moment’ winning an industry award for a Cambridge technology start up in Cambridge called Pelikon. The sales director told me the investment decision of the future funder of the company was influenced by reading about the award in the trade press.

What is your favourite green gadget? 

An easy question! My bicycle.

First impressions of Cambridge?

I have lived 10 miles from Cambridge for nearly 20 years. It remains the historical, contemporary and futuristic city today as it struck me then.