Meet the Member – Alec Smith

Alec Smith

What first degree did you take? 

BSc (Hons) Marine & Freshwater Biology from University of Essex. I chose this to mix a passion of biology and the natural world with one for SCUBA diving and travel. The latter didn’t really form part of the degree but I did get the opportunity to go on an 8 week conservation diving expedition to Indonesia in 1999, which was amazing! 

What was the first job you got when you finished your full-time education? 

I was a Project Manager for a small consultancy in charge of construction and install of acoustic fish deterrent systems from 2002 – 2003. This involved anything from admin, to building waterproof speaker housings, to bobbing around in boats in power station intake channels to managing a team of commercial divers to install underwater boom guide rails. In case you’re wondering, the system makes a noise underwater that fish don’t like and ‘guides’ them away from power station inlets, through fish passes in rivers and the like. 

When and why did you join BOHS? 

I joined BOHS in 2016 to broaden my access to industry networking, news, CPD and training opportunities. There is a great community and also up to date industry news from email newsletters and the BOHS website, along with regular meetings and events. 

Describe a typical day in your work. 

I run an asbestos consultancy Artisan Surveyors Ltd, which I started in 2005. As MD I am involved with strategy in business development and driving growth and innovation within the company. I assist with and get involved with consultancy at ground level and muck in with help on surveys when an extra pair of hands is needed!  

A typical day would include a catch up meeting with staff to check we are all working on the same page and there are no issues, work on a section of business development in marketing or other area, a network meeting or meeting with a client on site, then replying to emails from associates and clients. 

How did you get your current job? 

I worked for another asbestos consultancy for 3 years from 2003 to 2005, when I left to start Artisan. To start with it was just me covering quotes, admin, surveys, report writing, accounting, marketing and all other aspects of running a business. As things built up my wife joined me to cover the admin. We now employ an office manager, admin, full time surveyor and trainee surveyor and are growing fast!  

I am quite entrepreneurial and along with various property developments and investments I also started a small building company in 2013, which I have recently sold to allow me to concentrate my time on working on a growth strategy for Artisan and putting systems and processes in place to continue to improve the service to our clients. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 

I love spending time with my family, my wife Clare and children Jake (10) and Evie (4) and Labrador Skye. We enjoy walks and adventures exploring woods and climbing mountains, bike rides and a family skiing trip in winter, and possibly a second ski trip with friends or colleagues if I can get away with it! I also read a lot, mostly business, property and mindset books but also some fiction to relax. I also like to keep fit and try to keep up with a range of cycling, swimming, climbing, gym and boxing.  

Where did you last go on holiday? 

Camber Sands in a beach holiday cottage with the family. It was actually sunny pretty much all week! 

Favourite pet? 

had better say my 11-year-old black lab Skye, she’s looking at me now asking for a treat. She is pretty awesome  

Favourite film? 

Shawshank Redemption. It’s a good reflection on the importance of valuing life, friendship, community and hope. 

What was the last music album your bought? 

It’s all streamed now right?! As a purchased album I think it was Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways 

Favourite book?  

I read a lot of books so this is hard! Fiction I would probably have to say Lord of the Rings as it was the first ‘grown up book’ I read as a child. For nonfiction, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, this was about a year ago and really changed my mindset around business and has kickstarted a bit of an obsession in learning, development, self-improvement and entrepreneurship.