Get to know our team: Tony Kitchen
What’s your role at Ant Hire Solutions?
I’m the head of Pressure Testing which means I am responsible for growing this division of the business. I’m often meeting with Tier 1 and 2 construction firms and educating them on the importance of reliable data in pressure testing. I work with other heads of departments to develop initiatives such as PIPE Data Management and the PIPE eBook which establishes a standard for Pressure Tests. Working on new initiatives and technologies allows me to set my team new and exciting objectives whilst passing on my knowledge to them at the same time.
What did you do prior to your role here at Ant Hire Solutions?
Before Ant Hire Solutions, I worked as a manager for 16 years at Shorco, a shoring company founded by Nigel Thompson, the founder of Ant Hire Solutions. Shortly after Nigel started Ant Hire Solutions, I moved with him to the new business and I’ve been here ever since.
What has working at Ant Hire Solutions taught you?
For me it’s more ‘who’ has taught me. Since the beginning of my career I’ve always worked closely with Nigel who has been my mentor. Pressure Testing is such a complicated subject and it takes years to fully understand what to do, how to interpret the data, what’s involved, what equipment to use etc. Luckily being under Nigel’s wing I was given the time and tools to develop this understanding from him. Now I’m able to work with new members of the team and pass on my knowledge of pressure testing to them. Adrian Thompson, our MD, has taught me a lot about how a business operates, working with me to develop my understanding of setting and achieving business goals in my department and working towards a larger business plan. Adrian has also supported me with business trips and conferences in London, America and across Europe to develop me as a leader.
What do you enjoy most about your role at Ant Hire Solutions?
For me it has to be the expertise we have in pressure testing. Just to put it into perspective, no matter where someone is undertaking a pressure test across the UK using our equipment, we know exactly what is going on through our data dashboards. It’s like a dark art as it is fascinatingly complicated to understand. We can see from our data whether a pipeline pressure test is going to fail and explain to our customers the reason for the problem and how large the problem may be in almost real-time. All this whilst still being sat in an office, often over 200 miles away! That’s what I enjoy about my role, learning what data can teach us and helping our customers stay safe and compliant.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m a bit of a foodie so I love eating out at restaurants and trying new venues, I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I’m a supporter of Leeds United and I love to watch a bit of rugby league as well.
Name one thing that people might not know about you
Being in the industry for over 30 years most people know everything about me but one thing they might not know is my middle name is Gilbert.
As Ant Hire Solutions grows, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I’m still planning on being Head of Pressure Testing in the next 5 years although I would love to see Ant Hire Solutions grow as a business and for us to have established the set standard for all pressure testing in the UK. Also by then I hope our PIPE Data Dashboard will be used by all water companies so we can help them achieve leak-free new networks nationwide.