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The man with two brains

Grontmij financial controller Jeff Davitt combines commercial and technical skills

I'm a Yorkshireman bred but not born, ' says Grontmij financial controller and commercial manager Jeff Davitt, recalling an early move to his spiritual home of Leeds when eight months old.

After attending Leeds Grammar, he went to Cambridge to read natural sciences and metallurgy. His first job was in the South and left him hankering for a return to his roots.

'My rst job was at Sudbury near London, looking at carbon fibres for aircraft, from 1987 to 1991. I didn't settle in the South, so tried to relocate back north, ' he says.

Eventually he grabbed the chance to move to Yorkshire Water. There he began working on research and development projects, before broadening out to technical management.

'I worked on business processes, customer service and then cost efficiency, but lacked the qualifications to progress, ' he says.

He needed more specific financial qualifications, so in 2003 re-trained so he could work in technical and financial spheres.

'I re-trained as a management accountant but I was still working at Yorkshire Water, doing weekend and evening study.' With this under his belt he moved to Kelda Water Services in Bradford.

The role was as a financial manager, but did not utilise his broad experience, hence the recent move to Grontmij. 'I looked around, and started here two months ago.' But what is it like to straddle two disciplines? 'There are competing points, but you try to juggle things. From client relations in my water experience, there is technical input. Then there is the financial side of things - it is best described as juggling.' Jeff still lives in Leeds with his wife Debbie, who also changed her career. 'She used to be an accountant, but has changed to become a garden designer, ' he says. 'I think finding some way to maintain your passion for the job is very

Q&A - Jeff Davitt

Career highlight: Part of the team in Yorkshire Water, turning it from one of the worst to one of the best operators. Cost structure work was part of that. On a purely personal note, the exam result.

Favourite food: Any Italian food. Preferably in Italy.

Things you would save if your house was on fire: Assuming my wife was OK, I'm not really sure - I'm not very materialistic.

Scariest moment: snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, seeing a huge grey shape emerged from the deep water, thinking it was a shark we took one look and ran. But then the relief when we realised it was not a shark at all.

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