May 2023

Spotlight on EngTech: James Adams

In our ongoing series of case studies, Jordanne Allsopp, IGEM Marketing Communications Co-ordinator, is chatting to our members about their careers to date and how IGEM has supported them so far. She spoke to James Adams, Capital Delivery Project Manager at Wales & West Utilities.

“I think the best thing to do is to think big and understand that the industry has limitless opportunities for someone with the right mindset and vision.” That’s the message James Adams would send to someone just starting out in the industry.

James, known as Jim, is a Capital Delivery Project Manager at Wales & West Utilities and has recently joined IGEM as an EngTech member.


He started out in the industry in 2007 as an apprentice at Wales & West Utilities on pressure management and network services. Jim said: “My dad worked for WWU as an First Call Operative (FCO) and so growing up I knew what a good industry the gas industry is to work in and what varied and interesting roles are within it.

“I spent 11 years then working my way up and learning my trade as a Governor Technician. During this time, I also furthered my learning by gaining a FdSc in Mechanical Engineering to help me understand more of the engineering surrounding the narrow band of work I was involved in on network services.”

In 2018, he was offered a sabbatical for 12 months to travel the world with his wife. He came back to work in early 2019 with a renewed energy for work and started to look for more challenges.

Then, in 2020, Jim was promoted to his current position of Capital Delivery Project Manager. He said: “Since I’ve been in my new role, I’ve delivered a large number of varied projects across all pressure ranges including large and small reinforcements, holder demolitions, new assets, nitrogen sleeve repairs, infills, diversions and wholesale governor replacements.

“This new role has given me a much broader understanding of how the business works. I’ve been regularly involved in commercial, financial and procurement decisions and discussions which have wide reaching effects on all my work.”

When talking about his career progression and what the future may hold for him, he says: “I’m highly interested in renewable energy engineering. The move towards blended hydrogen and hopefully onto 100 per cent hydrogen gets me excited and is something my skillset should mean I can really help with.

“I think the future of gas could be very exciting. With the general move towards hydrogen, it’s a very interesting time to be involved in the gas industry. We’re now at the start of a similar movement to when we moved from towns gas to natural gas and to be running projects and helping at this early stage really feels like we’re going to be breaking ground on something very new and exciting.”

When asked why Jim joined IGEM, he said that he joined when he started as an apprentice before recently re-joining again after his sabbatical.

“At the stage I am at in my career, I am looking forward to utilising potential networking opportunities, visits, and the online options to help me in my role and potentially help others in theirs.

“The huge number of resources available to you as an IGEM member really makes it worthwhile. For me personally, I enjoy the opportunity to network and hope that this will enable me to move forward with my career and become a more rounded engineer with a deeper understanding of the industry we’re a part of.”

We ask all of our members for any advice they would give to someone starting out in the industry and Jim explains that: “A good basic understanding in the major processes in the gas industry would be essential, but once you’ve that grounding the sky really is the limit.

“It’s an exciting industry to be in currently, but with the imminent move to future technologies like hydrogen, the opportunities for forward thinking individuals are endless.”

He goes on to say that he feels that the gas industry is seen as a bit of a dark art. “When recruiting, I feel that a lot of people don’t know who we are or what we do.

“A bigger presence on social media could be a way to remedy this and show the exciting and diverse work that you could be a part of if you decide to join the gas industry. I think that would be a great way to encourage more people in.”