High Flyers: How Amy helps to engineer success at CDE

Amy Giles

In the High Flyers spotlight this week, as we mark International Women in Engineering Day 2021, is Amy Giles, head of business improvement at CDE, a leading provider of wet processing equipment on the global market for nearly 30 years.

What was your first job?

My first job was a paper round, but I didn’t have much patience for the papers not being delivered reliably on time for me to complete the run before school. It seems even then I was subconsciously focused on efficiency.

What qualifications do you have?

I’ve a BEng first class honours degree in aeronautical engineering from QUB and I’m also CGMA qualified (CIMA management accountant). I believe it’s vital that we continue to learn in our day-to-day lives. One of the things I love about CDE is that the company champions CPD and I’ve had the opportunity to continue learning and mentoring others across the business.

What do you attribute your success to?

I was raised to appreciate the opportunities you’re given, but to understand they’re not handed to you. I’m fortunate to have landed some of the positions I’ve held, however landing them required hard work and commitment. Identifying and seizing opportunities has led to many great roles, including my current one as head of a new and growing department which reaches across every part of the business to help drive efficiency.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

I’m driven, organised and detail orientated. I need to have a clear plan for things, even if it is just in my head.

Who do you look up to in business?

I look up to people I know, relatable business leaders whose achievements speak for themselves because I can see the fruits of their labour first-hand. I’m fortunate to have had a few good managers throughout my career that I’ve learned from and who have supported me in gaining the rounded business experience I have today, especially in CDE.

How do you get the best out of people who work with you or for you?

Be genuine and be yourself. Above all maintain respect for others. Mutual respect goes a long way towards fostering a relationship and environment that encourages blue sky thinking. CDE has cultivated a great culture for collaboration and ensuring everyone has a voice.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

Too many simple tasks eat into efficiency, from everyday personal interactions like updating an address to more complex business challenges such as importing/exporting and attracting and retaining talent. We need to simplify processes and address often rigid red tape. My role is all about finding the most efficient ways of working. If, at CDE, we’re world-class at the small things that will scale to support the business to be world-class when delivering major projects.

What website or App could you not do without?

Google and YouTube. I’m very independent, so YouTube can be priceless when you want to work out how to fix something yourself!

What was the last book you read?

I’ve my hands full with a toddler so haven’t read as much as I’d like to recently, but I love the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

What car do you drive?

A Land Rover Freelander 2. The first car I owned was a Freelander, so I’ve come full circle.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I have my trailer and HGV driving tests for hauling the horses around the country. I volunteer my time too. I volunteered with the Special Olympics in Belfast in 2006 and then at the Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai in 2007. They were rewarding experiences.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

Horses are my passion. I have my own horse, Nidge, for recreation and competitive show jumping at amateur level. It can be a great stress buster at the end of a long day or week.

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