Welcome to our special monthly feature. With the definition of ‘In Profile’ being ‘to see from the side’ we hope you enjoy this opportunity to ‘meet’ an industry figure and discover another side to them beyond the well- known facts.
Here, we speak with Managing Director of Portland Fuel, James Spencer, and learn more about his attitudes towards such things as crisps, politics and social media.
Give your career history in 25 words or less. I joined the oil industry straight from university and have worked in it ever since. I’ve loved every moment.
Describe yourself in 3 words. Would Rather Not.
What were your childhood / early ambitions? I was interested in politics, but looking at the state of it today, I think I made the right decision in pursuing other things.
Describe your dream job (if you weren’t doing this?) I’m pretty happy at Portland!
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Don’t be a ****.
Share your top tips for business success. Get honest feedback on what you do well and become a specialist in that area.
What’s your most recent business achievement of note? Setting Up Portland Canada – although you would have to say that with Covid-19, the timing could have been better!
Tell us your greatest fear? Over-promising, whilst under-achieving.
Which is most important – ambition or talent? Ambition – by a country mile.
What’s the best thing about your job? Being able to make decisions quickly and then seeing plans through from start to finish.
Is there a quality you most admire? Hard work.
What are you most likely to say? What crisps have you got?
What are you least likely to say? Ready salted please.
Describe your perfect day. Messing around in a boat.
Do you have a favourite sports team? Yes – Sunderland AFC / All England sports teams / Team GB.
What’s the biggest challenge of our time? Well clearly Covid-19 presents quite a few challenges at the moment, but aside from that, I would say dealing with climate change in a rational and practical way.
Share your greatest personal achievement. Going to university.
What’s your biggest pet hate or biggest irritant? Oh dear. Impossible to only have one; faux online sympathy, virtue signalling, keyboard warriors, words rather than action, people feeling the need to share their opinion (irrespective of their qualification to do so), the gross simplification of debate, the new puritans vis-a-vis humour and comedy. Oh… I’ve just thought, all of that comes under “social media”!
If you were elected to government what would be the first law you’d press for? See above. A complete ban on social media. Everyone to be given a book to read instead.
If your 20 year-old self saw you now what would they think? 20 year olds rarely give 50 year olds much thought.
What is number 1 on your bucket list? England winning the World Cup and being there to enjoy it.
What 3 things would you take to a desert island? A boat, a map and some water.
Tell us something about you that people would be very surprised by. I ran the bulls in Pamplona in 1994.
Who would you most like to ask these questions to? Donald Trump – just to see how off the scale the responses are!
This interview originally appeared in the September 2020 edition of Fuel Oil News.