Here is our Fireside Chat with Adam Richardson, General Manager at the Fire Industry Association. This interview touches on the need for the industry to continue using, adopting, and developing the latest technologies to enhance fire safety, his motivation to continually improve things and help people, as well as the being at the heart of the fire industry.

02 November 2022 by Ryan Brassil , Business Liaison

Intro

Hello, my name is Adam Richardson, and I am the General Manager at the FIA. I joined the FIA, and by virtue the fire industry, in October 2019 and started working in various areas such as lobbying the Government on the UKCA Mark, establishing the IoT Forum and organising the Belfast FIM Expo. As General Manager, I now focus on improving how the FIA works, leading several projects and supporting, growing and managing the team. I am as eager as when I joined the industry to continue building and maintaining more relationships that provide beneficial results for our members, the wider industry, and the FIA.

Personal Questions 

Do you have any pets?   

Sadly not, I did have a cat named Sybil who is now in cat heaven, if such a place exists, after spending the last 16 years coercing my family to do whatever she wanted.

What’s your favourite movie of all time? 

Such a tough question as it depends on my mood, but if I had to choose one, I would probably say In Bruges with the ‘that’s for John Lennon” scene making me laugh every time.

Describe yourself as a teenager in 3 words? 

Cheeky, spontaneous & fortunate.

What is your biggest pet peeve/hate?  

I would have said people who play loud music out of their phones in public, but buying noise-cancelling headphones has solved that. I would say it’s probably when I go into a room looking for something but then start doing something else. I then tend to completely forget what I came into the room for and leave.

If you could be from any other decade (or era), which would it be and why? 

Ancient Egypt, it would be amazing to be able to see Egypt at its peak with the Pyramids, the Lighthouse of Alexandria and much more.

What is your favourite quote and why?  

Hakuna Matata. Here are my reasons why: Lion King is a top-tier Disney film; it is important with so much going on not to get stressed out and I couldn’t remember anything sensible.

If you weren’t in the fire industry – what would you be doing and why?                                                                                                                                        

I’d like to think that in an ideal world, I would be a vet or a lawyer as I think that would be really fulfilling and engaging. However, it’s most likely that I would have gone into the Civil Service and tried to make things better that way.

What’s on your Spotify or iTunes? 

I have 3,000 songs saved with no playlists from a whole host of genres from the last 6 years which makes going on shuffle whilst on road trips quite risky. At the moment, I’m listening to Bon Iver, Brockhampton, Debbie and a podcast called the Rest is Politics.

If you could have any three people (dead or alive) over for dinner – who would they be? 

Going for a mixed bag here, I’d have Banksy (someone I find intriguing), Yuval Noah Harari (one of my favourite authors) and Stevie Wonder (no explanation needed) - it would certainly be a very odd episode of Come Dine with Me but not quite as odd as the episode where the bloke puts the whole whisk in his mouth.

What two things would you take to a Desert Island?  

A barbecue and a machete, I have no idea about survival but they seem like a good start.

Name a book, movie or tv show that has positively shaped you and why? 

Factfulness by Dr Hans Rosling was a real eye-opener. It starts with a 12-question quiz asking about what you think of the world, for example, it would say ‘In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? A: 20% B: 40% C: 60%.’

After getting the vast majority wrong, by being overly pessimistic, it made me realise that the world, and our societies, are by in large far better than they once were and the doom and gloom narrative from some of the media is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the world. It was a really uplifting, optimistic and informative book that also helped you interpret data to know when it is being manipulated to push a certain agenda.

If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why? 

I would like to be a Beaver as it would be fun swimming around and building dams all day.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received? 

It would probably be my parents paying for me to go on a school ski trip as I made some good memories which I am grateful for as going and doing something is more important than buying and owning a material item.

What's your favourite thing in your closet right now? 

I was in Belgium recently and bought some swanky (in my opinion) corduroy trousers.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 

After recently finishing season 1 of The Boys, I am not quite sure I would all together want a superpower. Having said that, I think shapeshifting would be a good laugh as you could be an eagle one day or a dolphin another.

Professional Questions 

Where’s the most interesting place that you have ever been with the Fire Industry? 

I have been able to travel a good amount at the FIA, I think so far it would be running a FIM Expo at the Titanic Centre in Belfast.

What's the best piece of advice you've received? 

I read in a book during University which stated that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This was helpful as it helped me see things differently that I hadn’t considered before.

What time did you get to work this morning? 

08:55.

What does your usual day look like? 

One of the things I really enjoy most about my job is the variety, one day I could be: working on the AGM, hiring new staff, improving or automating a process, running the IoT Forum etc.

How does your work and family life come together? 

Quite easily as my parents have moved abroad and I live in London with a few friends - so they don't tend to clash. During Covid, things were entirely different as I was working from our family home and in that sense work and family came together in quite a big way.

What makes you excited about the future of this industry? 

I am excited that there is so much that we, as an industry, can do to improve fire safety and being at the FIA, you are at the heart of the industry working with driven, forward-thinking, and committed people.

What does the fire industry need? 

To continue using, adopting, and developing the latest technologies to enhance fire safety.

What do you like about the fire industry? 

A find that the people in the fire industry are genuine, refreshingly honest and welcoming.

What matters most to you? 

Family.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 21? 

Don’t shave your head in lockdown, stick with the weird phase of growing your hair and you will come out of lockdown with a serious hairstyle.

What motivates you? 

I fully appreciate that this may sound seriously cringey/cliché, but I enjoy making things better whether that be a project that the FIA delivers for its members and the wider industry or helping to develop and grow a person in our team.

Where do you want to be in 5 years? 

I would be thoroughly content if in 5 years’ time, I was in the same position as now and still surrounded by bright, driven and energetic people to deliver projects with greater impacts around the world. I’d also rather like many of our processes to be digital and automated so that we can focus more time on the important issues affecting our members and less time on admin.

Why is the FIA important to you and the industry? 

Well firstly for me it helps pay the rent! But seriously, the FIA helps the industry come together which is pivotal in improving fire safety.

What do you want to say to the readers? 

It feels odd being the individual doing a Fireside Chat having interviewed Tom Simmonds on 5th February 2020 for the first one that we did. It has been a great 2 and half years since then and I hope the coming years mirror that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and apologies if it was as dull as dishwater.