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Salute Military Story: Liam P. Round

Lee Kirby, Salute Co-Founder, and retired Army colonel interviewed Liam P. Round, Royal Navy Veteran and Global Business Development Manager – Critical Power at DEIF.

Liam P Round Military Story

Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

I was (and still am) football mad! I had that dream of every footballer, to play at the highest level. However, as is often the case, injury curtailed my dream. No matter how hard I tried, the serious nature of the injury was too much of a risk to continue. I also had an interest in tinkering and would often be found next door at my neighbors’ house learning about cars, engines, and anything that had moving parts. They would banger race once a week, and the rest of the week leading up to it would be focused on preparation. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to see them race because of the abundance of football conflicts!

And what are you doing today?

I am the Global Business Development Manager for Critical Power at DEIF. DEIF are a power management solutions company headquartered in Denmark, but present in over 27 global locations. I am the conduit between end users looking to enhance their power efficiency and the consultants designing the power management system to maximize uptime. I also drive our OEM engagement for generators and power sources. With my background in power generation, I connect all three power elements to ensure a solution system as opposed to a system.

Can you tell us a bit about your military background?

I joined up in 2001. I didn’t find myself with many options due to not being any good at exams and football off the table. As part of the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) here in the UK I was sat in front of military boards to choose a Military career. I chose HM Royal Navy for three core reasons: 1) My Dad was in the Navy in the 60s & 70s, 2) You were guaranteed a transferable engineering career, 3) I could play football pretty much whenever I wanted for the RN.

I chose to join as what is known as a ‘Stoker’ or Marine Engineering Mechanic and went through basic at HMS Raleigh, before heading over to the military engineering college at HMS Sultan. Here I studied everything from basic engineering principles on electrical and mechanical systems to plumbing and woodwork (although wooden ships were pretty much out of service after the 1800s!). It was noted I was rubbish at exams but strong in application and could pick anything up quickly.

Four sailors including Liam P Round

My first ship was taking the Fleet ‘Flagship’ HMS Invincible out of Refit in Scotland, through sea trials and then return her to active service. It was a steep learning curve but one that would ground me for life. I worked under two chief stokers that guided me early and nurtured me in Power Generation, although I’ll admit I was a naughty little toad at times, it was their guidance and understanding that saw me lead a department within four years. I was rewriting service routines, running maintenance intervals, and selecting and/or commissioning new engines/generators. I also became the only ever person to win two captains’ commendations for work in adversity.

Following this, I moved to the Small Ship Fleet where I managed the generator department looking after a small team covering all mechanical and electrical elements. This was my first foray into leadership but found that I thrived in it and thirsted for more.

I served in Iraq for OpTelic in 2007 but it was at this point in my career I realised I could offer the world more.

Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “take away” did you learn from that story?  

I was always a ‘challenger’ or what was sometimes referred to as a ‘lower deck lawyer’. I never held back an opinion, but there were times when it was for the safety of my peers and not my career. When I had an issue on a survey vessel with a 40-year-old diesel drive engine, I made a call to shut the engines down, figure out what needed doing, and get us back to operational. I was hauled up in front of the engineering officer the next day and to explain my actions and why I defied a superior. When we hit the wall, we were joined by the manufacturers SME who stated that had I not of carried out the actions I did, we would very likely have lost all engine capability. I learnt two lessons: 1) that sometimes we must make bold decisions that may not be justifiable to superiors in the moment, and 2) if you don’t know, don’t pretend you do.

Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business or leadership? Can you explain?

Yes. I gained three key things. Work ethics are the first thing that comes to mind. Maybe some are born with this, but I think it is truly embodied in the military lifestyle. To listen and understand and focus on the mission. Camaraderie was not just a good feeling but an advantage you could depend on, then and now. Critical thinking, quickly, and under pressure, as well as communicating questions or concerns, gets things done.

Is there someone you are particularly grateful to for helping you reach where you are today? 

My father was the first major influence on my life, and he set the foundation of morals, principles, and a worldly perspective.

Another is Chief ‘Pony’ Moore, who I worked with for four years. He was a small but tough artificer who had such high standards that I was forced to grow and excel just to keep up. It wasn’t easy to work for him, but he invested in and motivated me. I was his rough-cut diamond, not the cleverest but always eager to learn, and he was the first person to really back me.

Another that I am still in touch with is Dean ‘Shep’ Sheppard. His wisdom and trust taught me that when things go bad, dust yourself off, learn from it, and grow. A proper hardy old schoolteacher who chucked you in it and would step in when needed. He knew to pay forward you must pay back.

Why is helping the military community and veterans get into this industry so important to you? 

Sometimes we all need that helping hand, a guiding voice, or somewhere to identify where our skillets lie. I struggled to tell people what I can do initially, and certainly on a CV, but through peers I have learnt how to present my skills and experience in better ways.

If you could inspire a movement, what would it be?

Completely free education to all, for life. I work for a Danish company who value education and learning every day. As a citizen of Denmark, you can get a degree for free! This means, at any point and you can go back to college or university for a career change. Having this demonstrates a continuous cycle of payback and is something many countries should learn from. There are many reasons why Denmark is a great place to be. I believe anyone making money from education should fund this through partnerships or government incentives only. No one should have to pay to better themselves, every industry benefits from those eager to join them and willing to learn.

How can our readers follow you online?

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