Up Close with Acumen

A closer look into the people that make Acumen tick, the work they do and what goes on behind the scenes at Acumen. Find out a little more about our team and get Up Close with Acumen.

As Commercial Director at Acumen, Peter Lohan understands why first impressions are so important. Here’s what Peter has to say.


Dress for the occasion

Prior to any communication or the initial pleasantries, your appearance outlines your professionalism and the level of respect you have for yourself. Keep it authentic though, it’s not only about what you are wearing, it’s how you wear it, so make sure you feel comfortable, and your confidence bread from your efforts will do the rest. Boris Johnson might of made the fuzzy hair fashionable… or maybe not, but some personal care and attention speaks wonders of your mentality.

Turn up on time

Turn up on time! Nobody likes waiting, and we all have busy diaries. I have a saying that “early is on time, but on time is late!” and I think it’s really important to make sure you turn up on time. If you encounter something unavoidable, call ahead and let the person you’re meeting know about the hold up and a revised ETA. Allow enough time for roadworks, or the bus that might be running a bit late, these inconveniences may be unpreventable, but it doesn’t mean you can’t account for them.

Firm handshake

I think you can tell a lot about someone by how they shake your hand… if they shake your hand! Unfortunately, Covid has ruined the old fashioned handshake, but when it’s safe to do so, it’s the best way to greet someone for the first time. They say a loose handshake shows a lack of confidence, so without breaking knuckles, stand up, look them in the eye and give a firm handshake, it screams authority and breeds engagement between both parties.

Focus your attention

When you meet with someone, especially for the first time, focus your attention solely on the subject. There is nothing worse than someone who checks there phone part way through a conversation, or someone who asks the same questions twice because they haven’t been paying full attention. If you’re meeting someone, be courteous and give them your unreserved attention, it really will help to build a great relationship!

Technical Assessor, Mohamed Hussein, joined Acumen at the start of 2021 so we caught up with him to find out what happened in his first month with the business.


Mo, what were some of the reasons you decided to join Acumen?

I joined Acumen Waste Services partly due to the fact that despite last year being such a challenging year for both people and organisation alike, Acumen continued to make strides in growing and adapting to the new environment as well as giving the staff opportunity to work from wherever possible, whenever possible.

Another reason I decided to join Acumen was the heavy emphasis on training. The Acumen Academy looks like it’s a great platform that really helps to develop and nurture talent from within the company. Acumen also takes on a number of people for apprenticeships so it’s great for giving them the opportunity to gain qualifications whilst working further to develop and progress on the career ladder.


What did your first day look like?

I arrived at the Head office and spent some time with a couple of  the Directors, Adam Hindson and Kris Sutton who helped me set up my desk as well as getting the details for Bigchange and the server. I was then introduced to the rest of the team in the office so I was able to get to know them and the role they played in each department. Next up was my first initial introduction to things such as the company history, health and safety policies and also I found out about our special W.A.S.T.E. reporting app.

I finished off the day by catching up with my line manager, Charlie Wingrove, where she provided me with lots of useful documents relevant to hazardous waste regulation and we then scheduled a number of site visits for later in the week. There was lots to take in but it was a great start to life at Acumen.


What does a “normal day” at Acumen look like?

Day-to-day my main job sees me doing lots of work with the server and Bigchange in order to generate consignment notes/ waste transfer notes for both our regular customers and ad-hoc collections such as fly-tip or site clearances. Each job has its own requirements and a uniquely tailored approach with some being fairly straightforward such as looking after our Acubin Services.

On the flip side I also help out with jobs that are multi-stage operations that need several different aspects to be considered. This could be taking in to account accessibility, packing requirements, pricing arrangements or if there is a hazardous aspect to the waste being handled. With such complex operations it is vital to liaise with my colleagues in transport, customer services and the chemist on the ground in order to determine the best way we can service the customer whilst ensuring we maintain the highest levels of compliance throughout.


What are the things you’ve enjoyed or been impressed with during your first month with Acumen?

Much of my first month at Acumen has involved me going to our transfer stations and treatment plants to get a deeper knowledge and understanding of how these sites operate and the people that make this possible. I am incredibly grateful to them for taking the time to give me in-depth explanations as it’s really helped me get a better understanding of how we process a variety of waste safely.


What are the things you’ve enjoyed or been impressed with during your first month with Acumen?

I was impressed with how efficiently everything ran whilst maintaining the highest level of compliance. As well as this I was also impressed with how Acumen places a heavy emphasis on the importance of training as it shows that Acumen actually invests in people and takes interests in their development.

We recently took some time to find out a little bit more about our Dry Waste Account Manager, Nicky Smith. Here’s 5 questions with Nicky.


1 – How long have you been with Acumen and what is the job you do?

I have been with Acumen since March 2009.  I work in our Asbestos collection/disposal sector as an Account Manager/Transport Co-Ordinator.


2 – What does a normal day look like?

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a ‘normal day’!  LOL!  My first job is to make sure all jobs are booked onto the system and that all paperwork is printed and compliant in order for our drivers to carry out their duties.  My day is then spent dealing with calls and emails from both new/potential and existing customers answering enquiries and preparing quotes.



3 – How has the way you work changed in the past 12 months?

Initially I worked from home for 3 months which was a little strange as everything had to be done through calls and virtual meetings, however I was fortunate to be able to go back into the office from June onwards, so no real change for me.


4 – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!


5 – How do you unwind outside of work?

I enjoy doing exercise, catching up with my family, and friends,  (I have 6 Grandchildren)! I love to read Ghost Stories and watch old TV programmes!