He was presented with the prestigious award, sponsored by Innovate NI & Steelwrist, during a glittering ceremony, compered by television and radio sports presenter Adrian Logan, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in South Belfast.
Organised by the publishers of Plant & Civil Engineer, 4SM (NI) Ltd, it was attended by hundreds of guests and leading figures from the plant, construction, quarry and waste management sectors. With 20 separate categories, the event is widely regarded as Ireland’s premier platform of recognition for those operating across all sectors of the industry.
A quarter of a century ago, Peter was working as a fitter; today he manages a team of 30 people across a network of depots and is responsible for a hire fleet totalling well over 1,000 pieces of plant and equipment. His wealth of knowledge of many different brands and makes of plant machinery are second to none.
Peter is well used to working in a fast moving and changing environment and has been employed through Balloo Hire on some prestigious supply projects that included Game of Thrones.
“With multiple filming locations across Northern Ireland, I made sure to assign a dedicated engineer to each location to be on call 24/7. If a serious issue arose, I would travel at any time of the day or night, weekends and holidays to the filming location myself, because it was critical to keep the downtime of a machine to a minimum, otherwise that could hold up an entire filming schedule.”
He was also involved with the Open Golf Championship at Royal Portrush where he and his team again had their work cut out. “We had over 80 machines on site for the championships, ranging from telehandlers, forklifts, diggers and powered access. All machines needed ‘white noise’ reversing alarms fitted rather than the standard beep. This was to stop any machines disturbing people already on the course. The machines also had to be fitted with grass tyres to protect the golf course from damage.”
In his role as plant manager, Peter has to constantly keep up to date with the latest legislation covering the company’s hire machines, and he takes a keen interest in his staff. “All my staff know they can talk with me about any issues that may concern them,” he says.
He is also focused on their careers and adds: “I am training the next generation of plant engineers; currently we have four apprentices within the workshops and maintenance departments - we can teach the skills that a book will never show you. It makes me proud to see an apprentice become an integral part of my team.”