Mike Brown, managing director of independent consultancy, Eunomia, shares his career highs, lows and advice
How did you land your current job?
I gave our chairman, Dominic Hogg, one of his first instructions when he first formed Eunomia. We kept working together until after a two-year courtship (three-way with our director, Joe Papineschi, in fact), I went into partnership with them.
What has helped you get where you are in your career?
Having a view about what the right thing to do is and trying hard to stick to it even if it means less for me.
Do you have any tips for people about to embark in your field on how to make a success out of their careers in sustainability?
Yes – learn from history and innovate; don’t just repeat what’s been done before. If you do you’ll make a lot of foreseeable mistakes.
Who have been your role-models/mentors in your career?
Matthew Macan – a director at Terry Adams Limited. Matthew showed me that if you don’t take no for an answer quite often it turns into a yes. People give up far too easily.
What have been the stumbling blocks or barriers along the way?
I don’t like stupidity or injustice – especially when it comes from people exercising power; and have to challenge it. I’ve made some enemies. Oh – and joining Eunomia showed me I’m not as bright as I thought I was!
What stages of your career have been the most challenging?
Letting go of CES Ltd – the Cornwall Council owned waste company I was MD of that was given to SITA. Cornwall was more than just a job to me; it has always been my home.
The most rewarding?
Eunomia. I am very lucky; I get to do interesting work with inspiring people.
What is key to getting the most out of your team/colleagues?
Being prepared to stand in their shoes; even if you can’t fill them.
What have been the groundbreaking instances or milestones in the sustainability field that have really changed the way you have to work? And how did you adapt to these events?
Moving from landfill to incineration and then to recycling. Slowly.
What qualifications have been necessary/most beneficial in your career?
Hydrogeology. The geology got me into quarries; the hydro got me into filling them with waste. Once I got onto the hierarchy I started to move up it.
Have you had much continuing professional development?
No – I’ve learned on the job.
Could you sum up, in one sentence, what has changed in the industry since you first began your job?
What does the future have in store for your industry – choppy waters ahead? Or a fruitful and secure future?
Depends where you are. Incineration will go the way of landfill. You need to head towards the top of the hierarchy and beyond into the circular economy.