International Men's Day interview with Mark Kirkpatrick

It’s our fifth and final day of our International Men’s Day blog series and to finish off the week we chatted to Mark Kirkpatrick who is our Technical Director. Mark enjoys mountain biking and tells us a little more about the growth that SAM has experienced over the past 25 years.

1. Tell us about your role within SAM

As the Technical Director at SAM, I must ensure that our plant and machinery are suited to our manufacturing process. This includes managing the engineering and maintenance team as well as overall technical admin. I’m also responsible for ensuring product R&D development in both our processes and our materials/products are of highest quality.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The job varies a lot, there have been no two days that are the same in the past 25 years. I’m proud to be a part of the team and the SAM success story.

3. What career development opportunities have you had within the manufacturing industry?

When I started SAM back in Feb 1995, I was an engineer on placement which evolved to full time employment as Production Manager June 1995, Operations Manager, Operations Controller, Operations Director, and then Technical Director. I’m happy to have been involved in each level of the business over the years – the progress that has been made is brilliant.

4. Name two things that you are really good at

Problem solving, especially with machinery. I’m able to make machines run faster and more reliably both in the factory and on the race track. I also think I’m good at training our internal team in product knowledge.

5. What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Attending the European Quality Awards was a very proud moment for me as part of the SAM team. Seeing our name on the screen along with global brands was a special night. Also of course, my two girls, Amy (15) and Zoe (12). Watching them grow to become two ambitious and motivated young girls is really rewarding for me – they each have their own sports interests and are focused on achieving their best at school. They are already motivated and thinking about their future goals which makes me really proud.

6. What do you do to relax?

I’ve been involved in classic motorcycle racing since 1994, competing in circuits. I’m also active within our bike club and support our classic pre 1973 class. I enjoy cooking too, especially with a BBQ and smoker.

7. What do you do to stay healthy?

In the past couple of years my main activity has been mountain biking around the local tow paths at Aghalee/Craigavon lakes. During the summer, our mates would gather and ride MX bikes on barley stubble fields. Since the sudden death of a close friend in July, I have re-joined Dunadry gym after 10 years absence and now swim twice a week

8. What values do you live by?

Never ask someone to do something you would not do yourself, and always listen before action.

9. Who is your greatest role model and why?

My Dad. He has always guided me with advice. We may have argued about things at some point over the years but his views are usually not that far from my own. We have a special working relationship that I am proud to have, as not all sons can work with their dads.

10. If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Go for it – trust your gut feeling.

Big thanks to all the SAM team who contributed to our International Men’s Day blog series!