Glen Tyson Product Manager, Atmos InternationalCan you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m from Manchester so I haven’t journeyed very far. I did my degree in Physics and a Master of Sciences in Vacuum Engineering. Yes, I know it sounds a little bit strange but was about negative pressure, so quite relevant to Atmos. My first role was with a company that specialized in mass spectrometers and I worked on the building, testing and installing those.

While working there, a role at Atmos International popped up on my radar. Looking back, it was a four-hour interview with Jun and the technical manager on the team. There were lots of questions about my work in mass spectrometry, as well as what I knew about SCADA, communications and hydraulics. The more we spoke, the more I realized that my degree was quite relevant for the role. I started in 2009 as a project engineer, ultimately joining the Maintenance team.

I spent many years in the project engineering team before moving over to R&D during the early days of the Atmos Wave system. I was involved in the installation and commissioning as well as helping to develop the Atmos Wave Flow system. I’ve been fortunate to be part of many of our innovations such as our clamp on leak detection hardware which evolved to become Atmos Eclipse.

I’m really lucky that in my many years with Atmos, I’ve worked in most departments. I enjoyed being a project manager where I was involved in the deployment of leak detection in Romania. The project was complex but we achieved a great outcome.

Now I’ve taken on the mantle of Product Manager which is both amazing and daunting. You live and breathe the product like it's your child! It’s the most exciting opportunity I’ve had and I’m learning so much.

What has been your most interesting project at Atmos?

I think it would be a project on a Russian Island, north of Japan (Sakhalin Island). One of the exciting aspects of Atmos is that you often get to travel to unusual places. Sakhalin Island is certainly one of those places. I felt like I was in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles! It was a grueling trip to get there. I stayed there for several weeks working with the local engineers to get the system up and running. It may have been the most challenging but it was the most rewarding. I would never have done that without Atmos.

What’s a typical day like?

At the moment it is very different (COVID-19). When I was in the office, I’d be in very early to beat the rush hour traffic. It’s a nice time of day. The office is a bit quieter and you can catch up with colleagues over coffee before meetings and the day gets busy. Plus, we are global. This means I’m often looking at queries or requests that have come in overnight from our colleagues in the Americas and China.

As Product Manager for New Product Development, my day is spent keeping track of their development. I’m checking to see what needs my support, how I can help move any obstacles and ensuring we are moving forwards. I think the sheer variety of my role is one of the things I love about my job at the moment. There’s always something that needs doing too. We’re working on some exciting developments in simulation and developing a mobile-first approach to some of our reporting apps too.

What three words describe your job?

  • Challenging – Nothing’s easy and in what we’re doing we’re trying to push the boundaries of what we do every day. We are passionate about what we’re doing and constantly applying fresh thinking to our customer’s challenges.
  • Interesting – It makes me think a lot. I also get to use some of my higher learning from university too. In the field of leak detection and pipeline management, there are new opportunities that just weren’t there even a few years ago, we’re keen to maximize our potential
  • Exciting – it’s the people. I genuinely enjoy the collaboration and the Atmos family. There’s a special feeling you get when are part of the team that helps to solve a problem for a customer.

There’s always fun to be had though. That’s important.

If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?

It might sound a little cheesy but I’m enjoying what I am doing now. I love my job and I can’t see myself changing it right now.

What is on your wish list for your next five years here?

We have a full roadmap that is rightly ambitious and we’ve added so much value to the products and thought about it from the customer’s experience. With Dave Lobban leading the software development, we’ve achieved substantial progress. More of the same in the next five years, I hope.

I think the philosophy we have now, applying fresh thinking to new and existing products is going to keep me very busy. We’re using new ways of working and it’s very exciting to be part of that.

What are your biggest challenges?

The nature of the role brings some challenges with a variety of tasks and activities. However, I see this is as something positive. I’m aiming to create an environment in new product development that helps the team, rather than impedes it. I’m also excited about helping customers adopt new technology – seeing the smiles on their faces when they get results they couldn’t achieve before is something very rewarding.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

This person is probably unique to my role. It’s a person called Marty Cagan. He was a pioneer in developing working practices in tech product development. I read his book called Inspired – it’s like a manual to do my job in many ways. He can talk the talk, walk the walk and it validated my thinking.

If you could go back and talk to your 16-year-old self, what you would say?

Don’t be such an idiot! At that age, I think I dwelled too much on any mistake I made. So, I’d say don’t worry so much. Just have fun.

What do you most like about your job?

I think the most pertinent answer to this is that I’ve been here for many years and counting. The range of roles and the professional and personal challenges. Atmos has enabled me to grow and to try things out. I  enjoy the environment I work in every day. People accept you’re human – mistakes are allowed and there are no grudges. Those characteristics of an employer are really important to me.

What advice would you give to those joining Atmos?

Nobody is expecting you to have all the answers and do the job standing on your head on day one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – we’ve all been there. In my experience, we’re a really good bunch and people want to help. Try and find the fun in what you are doing.

Do you have a motto or a personal mantra?

Give it a go. Try new things to get out of your comfort zone. How do you know whether it's something that's going to bring you some joy or interest unless you give it a go?

Do you have any favorite blogs, TV or media?

I listen to a lot of work-related products as I usually have an hour’s drive to work. It’s a bit different now though. I like Better Product by Innovatemap and the Business of Software. I’m also a Manchester United Fan so there’s a couple of podcasts I’ll listen to relating to the club.

What’s your favorite country you have visited?

There’s a lot of places I’ve been to visit, especially on Atmos projects. I’ve been fortunate to visit Beijing and also see the Great Wall of China. I’ve seen amazing beaches and rainforests in Costa Rica where I saw sloths and toucans. In California, I got to see a hummingbird too.  

By: Will Stone
Date: 01 February 2021