Alex Carmichael: Retirement after 41 years


After working for Bureau Veritas for a committed 41 years, Alex has made the decision to enjoy the next chapter of his life with his planned retirement. We have caught up with Alex who shares his transition within the business, his accomplishments and his plans during retirement.

Name: Alex Carmichael

Job Title: Chief Engineer

Location:Didsbury, Manchester

Describe your employment journey

Prior to joining Bureau Veritas (formerly known as Scottish Boiler and General Insurance) in 1976 I worked as a lift engineer for Otis Elevator. Throughout the role, I came into contact with the inspectors who examined the lifts that I installed and found what they did to be very interesting and thought that becoming a lift inspector would be a great step forward for my career.

After being successful in my application with Bureau Veritas, I moved from Dundee to Buckinghamshire as the role was based in London. I initially joined the company as a lift engineer and from there, I have progressed to lift consultant, to assistant chief engineer for quality assurance and then to a technical manager for in-service inspection activity. In 2005 I was then appointed chief engineer, responsible for UK accreditations and notification bodies which brings us to today.

Talk us through your development within Bureau Veritas

Alongside my role at Bureau Veritas, I began representing our trade association (SAFed) on the British Standards committee for lifts in 1987 and throughout the last ten years I have been the UK expert at the European Lifts Standard Committee.

This has not only aided my knowledge, but has also been of help to the company as I have been at the forefront of industry updates and any changes to standards or regulations, keeping us one step ahead of the game.

What have been your key highlights within the business?

My favourite part of working for Bureau Veritas has definitely been my responsibility for notified body services from 1999 to date.

This type of work takes me back to my initial lift engineer career, which is what I am most familiar with and thoroughly enjoy. I have also helped the organisation to gain its UKAS accreditation which has held ever since and I see this as a huge achievement.

I was awarded my 40-year long service award in April 2016 and I will end 2017 with my retirement.

What have your experiences taught you?

The main piece of advice I would give to anyone starting out in the testing, inspection and certification industry (which I also share with the surveyors that have just joined) is that you need to have a systematic approach to inspections. Once you adopt this concept, you will successfully address all key processes and achieve the task at hand.

If you have a starting point and a methodical way to the end point, you can walk away confident in the knowledge that you have completed the job to the best of your ability.

What are your plans during retirement?

I am looking forward to being able to spend my retirement playing golf, travelling and devoting more time to my four grandsons. So far, my wife and I have planned to go to Dubai and travel the west coast of Scotland.  Although I would never move back as my family and I are settled in the Poynton area, I will always be a proud Scotsman.

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