Belfast Telegraph

'I think a good thing in business is to question'

Q&A: Kailash Chada

Q: What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given?

A: In business - take a decision. I was told very early on in my career that I was employed to make decisions. So, consider all the facts, think about your previous experiences and take a decision. If the decision is wrong, then at least you have a good reason why you made it.

Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?

A: Plan. You cannot plan too much. I have plans for everything that we are trying to achieve. Without a strong, detailed plan, you can sometimes not have a clear view of what you are trying to achieve and the best way of getting there.

Q: What was your best business decision? 

A: I'm not sure if I have a single best business decision - to me it's about making good decisions every day. I think a good thing in business is to question things. Don't accept things as being right without thinking about whether it makes sense. Why do we do it that way? The other side of this equation, though, is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's about getting the right balance.

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Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career? 

A: I would love to lecture on business or accounting at a university. I think working in the business world for 25 years is a great basis for teaching the next generation about how things really work

Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?

A: My last holiday was two weeks in Portrush, which is where I hail from. We were there in July, including during The Open. Although the weather was a little hit-and-miss, we still enjoyed it and The Open was really fantastic. Our next holiday is skiing next year in Austria.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests? 

A: I do love to watch live sport wherever possible. I watch Ulster Rugby as often as I can and travel to away matches regularly. Apart from that I was at The Open, Nottingham's tennis Open last year, and a couple of Man United games last season.

Q: What is your favourite sport and team? 

A: I am a big fan of both rugby and cricket and follow Ulster Rugby.

Q: And have you ever played any sports? 

A: I did a lot of running until recently including 10k runs and a few half marathons, but I've had to pull back in the last few years due to injuries, although the real answer is due to old age.

Q: If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book? 

A: The last book I read was Fiesta/The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Q: How would you describe your early life?

A: I was raised in Portrush, which is a part of the world that I really love. Life there was quite easygoing and it is a great place to be raised. My overriding memory of my younger days in Portrush is that they were enormous fun.

Q: How would you assess your time in business with your company Phoenix?

A: Well, I have been here for two years now and I have found it a steep learning curve, since I have come from a banking background, but hugely enjoyable. It is a growing business within Northern Ireland with still significant room to get bigger, but even the scale at the minute was something I had not imagined. The natural gas industry in NI employs more than 3,000 people, most of whom are SME-type family businesses working in local communities.

The industry is still growing here; whilst there are more than 220,000 homes now connected to the network in our area alone, there are another 100,000 that could connect to the natural gas network, so there is still a lot of scope for growth.

Q: How do you sum up working in the utilities/energy sector?

A: I have been quite lucky in a way - this is a really exciting time to be part of the energy industry. Globally, mindsets are shifting and people are considering what the future of energy for the world will look like. I think the impetus behind getting answers to the future of energy has reached a point that we have really not seen before.

Belfast Telegraph