Q&A with Paul DonaldGeneral Manager Consulting
World-wise, experienced, and knowledgeable is an apt description for Paul Donald, our General Manager Consulting. Paul Is a veteran business leader and engineer with over 37 years of worldwide experience in defence, having worked with the Royal Air Force, Australian SMEs and global corporates.
He has great respect for defence personnel and passionately believes our forces deserve the best support and equipment.
We recently sat down with Paul to gain insight into his passion for the defence industry and what led him to Quartek.
Q. You have over 35 years of worldwide experience in the defence industry. What made you passionate about this area?
A. I was attracted to the Royal Air Force (RAF) at a young age and was accepted for their apprentice scheme. I found that I really enjoyed learning about aeronautics and consequently applied myself to all aspects of the course; this resulted in my winning a course prize. The prize was training to fly at an RAF flying school. From there, I attended officer training and was sponsored through university twice. I was then deployed worldwide, with Columbia, Zimbabwe, Peru, Arctic Circle, and the Falklands being the most memorable. I doubt there is an employer outside defence that invests so heavily in its people and provides so many opportunities for personnel development.
I have a bucketful of positive memories about being in the defence forces.
Having been lucky enough to:
- be sponsored through education,
- frozen in a tent on Dartmoor,
- sunburnt climbing mountains in Sardinia,
- seasick whilst being winched out of a rescue dingy in Cyprus,
- seconded to NATO in Munich for four years,
- and attached to Royal Saudi Air Force in Abha and Damman for three years.
Now that I have spent the past 15 years in the defence industry, it’s time to give back and help others achieve their best. I enjoy the technology, the camaraderie, ethics and the almost universally held belief that the defence industry exists first and foremost to provide the best support possible to the warfighter.
Q. What was it about Quartek that attracted you?
A. In one word, their Culture. Simply put, it’s what the Quartek team have set out to do, and how they do it is why I am here.
Q. What does a workday look like for you?
A. I have always tried to be an early starter. I like to get ahead of the emails and admin tasks, so I may spend the day interacting with others. With the COVID-19 pandemic, a change in dynamics has occurred, from in-person interactions to virtual. The connections and conversations are still maintained, all thanks to video technology!
Q. What is the one thing you have learned and carried with you in all your years in the industry?
A. Don’t give up. Nothing is easy, and it’s an imperfect world where we all make errors. Act with what you know and believe to be correct and do so with pace and integrity.
On a lighter note, during my RAF recruitment process another candidate once got rather impatient with the staff and asked, “how long do you expect me to wait?” The response was if you want to be successful in the military, you had better learn to wait as nothing happens quickly. That comment was in the 1980s, and I think it is still valid today.
Q. What is the one thing no one knows about you?
A. I spent a couple of years playing records in clubs, introducing bands, and building PA and lighting for penniless groups around Glasgow. The Sunday night band was a little-known ensemble called Simple Minds.
Turn your passion into a career
If you’re looking to turn your passion into a career, get in touch today and discover the world of opportunities that lie ahead at Quartek.