I arrived in Edinburgh in 1991 and to say I had a great time at the Dick Vet would be an understatement!
Edinburgh was an exciting place to be a student without being trapped in a metropolis. The School was a friendly place where students and staff worked well together.
I helped resurrect the Vet Students Council and with other friends made sure the vets' voices were heard within the University.
I played rugby and hockey throughout the five years, rather more socially than professionally!
Glasgow University Practice
On graduation in 1996 I went to work at the former Glasgow University Practice in Lanark. I had four happy years there working predominantly with farm animals but also developing equine work and some small animal duties.
As a student teaching practice, I became involved in small group teaching final years and lecturing students at the Vet School.
Seeking a new challenge I left practice to start work with a biotechnology company, PPL Therapeutics, near Edinburgh. PPL had been integrally involved in the development of sheep cloning and the arrival of “Dolly the Sheep”. By the time I started work, the technology had developed to the extent that medicinal proteins were being extracted from sheep milk.
“The last 12 years have shown me that veterinary thinking and skills can be equally applied to business management as animals.”
I was one of a small team of vets responsible for safeguarding the health and welfare of the 3,000 sheep, ensuring that the company complied with the requirements of Home Office legislation and pharmaceutical regulators.
Unfortunately, the technology couldn't be commercially exploited so I moved on to pastures new.
I started work with food certification company SFQC in 2002. I was initially employed to conduct a review into the food safety, animal welfare and traceability requirements of Scottish farm assurance.
I was also responsible for managing the company's contract with Quality Meat Scotland, the Scottish red meat promotion body. As time went on, I became more involved in developing our livestock, cereal and organic work becoming Agriculture Director in 2006.
In April 2008, I became Chief Executive of the company responsible for all our work within farming, food processing and food service.