PSC has more than 200 global employees all contributing to helping power a more sustainable world. Our employee spotlight segment offers a look at what our hardworking people are all about when they’re not serving our clients and each other at work. This spotlight is on Ray Young, PSC’s Manager of Real-time Systems and Power Network Solutions in Asia Pacific.
PSC: How would you describe your role at PSC?
Ray: The first part of my role is to manage and support a team of engineers that work on SCADA and EMS systems. The second part of my role is to develop new business opportunities and build a new team of engineers focused on power network solutions.
What’s the most interesting or most gratifying part of your job?
Ray: My passion and strength are finding and fixing the areas of business or technology that don’t work or need to change. To enable growth, new opportunities need to be explored. I believe there are exciting times ahead due to market forces creating a lot of chaos, which in turn creates opportunity.
What is something your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you?
Ray: I used to be reasonably good at Rock-n-Roll and old-time ballroom dancing. It was a fantastic way to meet people and keep fit in my younger days. I still enjoy the odd spin around the dance floor to good music, but it’s less frequent due to covid locking everything down.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Ray: I spent a childhood moving around. I started off living in Auckland and Wellington and running around industrial sites as a 5/6-year-old while mum worked in those factories. There were other places like Invercargill and Cromwell where I lived for some years. However, we eventually settled into country life in a small farming community in South Canterbury (East coast of the middle South Island of New Zealand). A small place called Milford. I spent a lot of time climbing trees, walking along beaches, fishing, hunting, exploring, and working on farms driving big trucks and tractors before I was 13 years old.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Ray: I am where I want to be, living on the outskirts of Christchurch, New Zealand. I have worked across the world, and there is no place like New Zealand. Every time I had been away for any length of time, I have felt a sense of calmness when arriving home. If possible, when I get home, I grab a drink and go and out on the veranda to a deck chair where I look out over paddocks that have cows and horses and mountains in the distance. It is very relaxing if it is not a howling storm, in which case I go back inside and start up the log burner and get cozy.
If I were to go anywhere for just a year or two on my own, then I would go back to living in Scott Base, Antarctica.
Have you ever had a nickname? What was it?
Ray: No comment in public but my nephews used to call me something very interesting. I thought it was funny and intelligent for teenagers with intellects that had not caught up with their size.
What are your hobbies? What led you to them?
Ray: I used to do things like jumping out of planes, swimming with sharks I didn’t realize were following me, and other dangerous activities like getting married in my early 20s. Freediving (just a snorkel) for abalone and fish was great fun but very chilly around New Zealand seas and rivers when only using a cheap, thin wetsuit.
These days I like to:
- Go on 1- to 5-day hiking trips in mountain ranges with friends.
- I do some hunting, mostly rabbits, possums, and wallaby, but sometimes the odd deer or pigs find their way into my gun sights and then into the freezer. You will often find me in riverbeds and old farm tracks in foothills of the main divide mountain ranges which are easy enough to access in NZ. Sometimes I just shoot the rabbits at the back of my section, from the porch, if my dogs have not seen them first.
- I like fishing around the dams and channels in the middle of the South Island. The trout and salmon are spectacular, but I am not that good at it, so it is more about chilling with friends.
- I have become interested in cryptocurrency. It is my new version of buying a lotto ticket where you spend in hopes of a return, but normally it is just a donation. Occasionally I make a small bit of money to keep interested. I think it keeps my attention because of the new technology ecosystems like blockchains, NFTs, metaverse development, etc. It’s also really weird and creative what people dream up in this space and turn it into something that makes money… or loses it.
Do you collect anything?
Ray: Yes, but not by choice. There are many kids’ toys and general junk collected over the years. Most will go to a better home now that the kids have both just left to go flatting at university.
What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received?
Ray: Life is for living, not stagnating. Get out and try new things before you can’t do them. I see people trying to live life only after they have retired, but it is often too late by then. Also, take the time and effort to invest in yourself.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
- There is family and kids, which are the greatest accomplishment we could ask for.
- To be chosen to work for a year at Scott Base Antarctica, which I considered a privilege.
- When I earned my MBA with distinction while also working full time. There was a huge amount of work required to get through each week and sleep was a luxury often not taken.
What is the quality you admire most in other people?
Ray: It’s more of a combination of qualities. Non-malicious, hard-working, honest people with values that I can relate to, combined with a sense of fun and adventure.
What are you most looking forward to in the next five years?
- A house without children messing it up.
- Developing relationships and skills in the power industry.
- More hunting, fishing and tramping.
- I have a friend who wants to teach me how to surf so that will be fun this year.
- Breaking even on the crypto investment game, while I have fun learning about new technologies.
What is your biggest indulgence (travel, food, music, etc.)?
- Travel and good food which Covid restrictions have made difficult.
- Mitre 10 Mega and Bunnings (hardware shops). This is where I go to worship and donate a portion of my income to the house improvement gods.
- Hunting and fishing ships. I have a thing for hunting jackets, rifle lasers, and fishing gear I don’t know how to use correctly.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Ray: I loved all parts of Hawaii and would go back in a heartbeat for a holiday. Also, Gold Coast and Noosa, Australia for long, warm and sunny days, and great restaurants.
Recent great read?
Ray: I have a fascination for cheap science fiction/ fantasy series where ideas are bound to the imagination rather than practical science. It would be too embarrassing to give you an author name because they are so cheap and mindless…. but fun to read. Asimov, Clark and similar authors are far more serious, and it feels like I am reading a thesis.
What’s a smell or sound you love? Why?
- Freshly made bread brings back memories of looking at houses for sale.
- I remember as a teenager when one misty evening I heard bagpipes from across the paddocks as a farmer was practicing for a band march the next day. I venomously hate bagpipes at close range, but at a good distance (about 1 km away) and the right setting, they are just magical.
- I forget the country, but I had gone to sleep with jet lag in a hotel room and woke up at sunrise to the sound of an early morning call (singing) to prayer (Islamic?). It was from loudspeakers across a city that was otherwise quiet and still asleep. It was my first experience (although many since), and I found it to be deeply calming and something I will not easily forget.
What’s a smell or sound you hate? Why?
Ray: Cheap food courts in Bangkok and some parts of Singapore. I would often get caught out with the smells at lunchtime when working over there. To me, they smelled like an overpowering combination of body odor and acidic foods. It’s quite good for weight loss as I lost all temptation to eat anything for many days until I got used to it. Also, I hate bagpipes. They should be banned, destroyed, and written into part of the Geneva convention. They are simply cruel devices at close range.
What do you work toward in your free time?
- Gardening. Lots of lawn mowing and trying not to kill everything I plant.
- Making thousands in cryptocurrency is my goal to afford a top-of-the-range Tesla and maybe pay off the house mortgage. Unfortunately, too much doing (investing/gambling) and not enough research has led to less than desirable results.
If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ray: T bone Steak (medium rare) with a combination of fresh and roasted vegetables covered with peppercorn gravy. Maybe a side order of hot garlic bread with lots of garlic butter and dipping sauces.
Do you/have you done any volunteer or community service work? If yes, why/how is it important to you?
Ray: In my early twenties, I was a founding member of a young Lions club (Leo’s) in Timaru and went through all the club senior roles in due course over several years. I felt it was good to give back to the community and still do through the St Johns cadet program (emergency response, leadership & first aid) that my children went through.
These days I am looking at opportunities to work with Ngai Tahu (Māori are native to NZ or at least resided in NZ before Europeans) at a volunteer level as I have a genetic heritage link. Ngai Tahu are focused on preserving nature, the welfare of future generations, and long-term strategic planning through asset development. These cultural priorities fit with my sense of pride in NZ and my belief that we need to create a sustainable environment for future generations. There are many similarities to the philosophy I believe PSC is trying to achieve.