The secrets of my success: James Enston, KPI Bridge Oil

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Eleven team Energy & Commodities, Candidate blogs, Oil Trading, Shipping and Supply...

The secrets of my success: James Enston, KPI Bridge Oil

James Enston joined KPI Bridge Oil in February 2005 as a bunker trader. Since finding his role with Eleven Recruitment, formerly Oil Recruitment, 13 years ago, James has enjoyed a hugely successful career and is now managing director of the company’s London office. We were keen to find out the secrets of such career longevity and so gave James a light grilling!

For James, contributing to the company’s growth and progressing through its ranks have been his biggest highlights to date: “It’s been rewarding to see the results of my hard work and to know that I’ve played a significant part in the company’s development. During my time at KPI we have gone from a five-man trading office to a staff of over 30 people and have moved offices four times as the company has grown and its business needs have changed. We now have a modern office and a sound business and it’s fantastic to be part of something so positive. The company is a flat, open organisation where staff can both see and enjoy the rewards of their hard graft.”

Along the way James has enjoyed support and encouragement from key mentors. “Mark Emmett, former MD of the London office, now MD of KPI Bridge Oil Singapore, who employed me back in 2005, has been a good mentor for me. Mark has taught me so much, particularly in terms of managing people and how to be a leader. I’m still very much a work in progress, it’s been four and a half years and I’ve still got a lot to learn, I’m definitely not the finished article.”

Be honest about where you see yourself heading

Career progression always involves interaction with senior managers at KPI Bridge Oil and James reflected on how to get the most out of these relationships: “Be honest,” he told us. “In my experience being open and honest always delivers far better results, especially in terms of career progression. I’d always encourage people to tell their managers what they’d like to achieve and where they see themselves heading.”

He did however have a word of warning: “Although everyone wants career progression, make sure that you’re consistent. Long-term, a steadier rate of growth is far healthier than just getting a quick buck.”

Looking ahead there are big changes on the horizon. New environmental legislation comes in to force in 2020 and James believes it will have a huge effect on business: “There is no escape from the new regulations. We are working hard to position ourselves in a way where we are best equipped to guide our clients in the lead up to 2020 and continue to service their needs in the changing environment. We expect the new regulations to push up the price of bunker fuel and change market dynamics in a way never seen before. We need to be prepared and continue to promote better service.”

Be prepared, be humble and be willing to learn

During his time at KPI Bridge Oil, James has witnessed many changes, both within the company and across the industry as a whole, but for those just starting out, he offered some sound advice. “It’s a tough time to start in the industry but it is also very interesting, so get your head down and work hard. There are no shortcuts, but there are always great opportunities if you give it your all and enjoy your job. I am fortunate to work for an organisation which believes in developing people for the long term. Be prepared, be humble and be willing to learn and you will see that there’s good scope for progress. There’s nothing worse than a know-it-all - and that applies whatever industry you’re in.”

We’d love to hear from other members of the industry about what’s helped you to have a successful career. Get in touch here or on our LinkedIn page.