Uncovering our Decom process at Shields: Glen Terry, our Field Quality Manager’s story

We recently caught up with Glen who became our Field Quality Manager in the 1983 and has been supporting our decom services ever since, to uncover more about our services and the people behind them. Read on to find out more about the day-to-day of working within decom, how it has changed over the years and why Glen is important to us at Shields.



How long have you worked at Shields?

I started working for Shields on the 28th of August 1983, so that’s 39 years and counting.


What is your role?

As a Fields Quality Manager, my role consists of lots of different things. The day-to-day often involves planning for decommissioning projects, liaising with clients, site surveys, client sign off reports, and health & safety assessments to name a few areas.


Why do you like working for Shields?

I enjoy the stability, regular income, freedom to do your job, flexibility and the trust.


What’s a piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

Believe in yourself, open up with any issues, ask for help, and take schooling more seriously.


What’s the most common challenge in your role and how do you overcome it?

Although technology can be great for connecting people around the world and is most definitely needed, nothing beats talking to people face to face. Often technology can be demanding with all of the emails and Teams messages. It can be easy to assume you need to respond immediately and written communications can sometimes be misinterpreted – especially when rushing. Personally, I miss talking to people, but my best advice is to take a breath, read the email back and then respond. It’s important to take a breath from time to time.


How did you get into the telecoms sector?

Before Shields, I had started as a recycler in a very small yard in Grays Essex UK, just down the road from our Shields HQ in Purfleet. I knuckled down and made my way up the ladder, so I just fell into the telecoms sector.


What does your day-to-day look like at Shields?

I’m in the office at 07.30am, I like to start early with the computer on and my coffee in hand so I’m ready to start my day. I check my emails for existing jobs and progress, I’ll jump on a call if there are any issues with the engineers on site, then I’ll carry out planning and prep work for the next day which I keep up to date via our internal and client trackers. If there are no issues and all of our engineers have returned, I’ll leave work at 4pm.


What do you enjoy most about your role?

The flexibility. I’m based in the Shields UK Purfleet office, but I’m also hands on and have always enjoyed multi-tasked working out on-site with the engineers, as well as planning and overseeing the work. This gives me the knowledge of the work/tasks being carried out as well as ensures I’m still in a good place to accurately plan works.


What’s the strangest / funniest / most memorable moment in your current role?

Shields had up to 140 engineers 14 minibuses going out every day & working away staying in B&B’S, sharing rooms with 1 to 6 engineers. I got contacted a lot regarding the breakfast being too small, only getting 1 x egg, the eggs aren’t cooked, my pillows are hard, my steak was undercooked, letters of complaints about the TV someone wants to watch EastEnders I want to watch doctor who, complaints from the B&B’s regarding cups & kettles going missing.

On another job I was once I was with my line manager going to a job in France, started heading to Folkestone Eurotunnel in a 7t lorry, as we approached the terminal I jokingly said have you got your passport after a search he replied no, had to drive back to Southend-On-Sea pick up the passport then return back to Eurotunnel, got to France ended up working until 10pm. It was a bit of a nightmare but quite funny looking back.


How has your job changed since you started your career in this field?

The biggest change is technology & health & safety.

When I started out we had no phones, only landline or a telephone box, pagers, no computers just pen and paper, and no sat nav either we used A-Z maps or ask a postman and booked hotels using yellow pages or tourist information. Very different compared to today.

Health & safety was quite different too… in the summer we used to work in shorts & a t-shirt wearing trainers or espadrilles (holiday shoes) or sandals. You used to be able to smoke while working, radios would be blaring out and our tools mainly consisted of a hammer, chisel and cutters. Since then, health and safety protocols have come a long way both in general and especially at Shields.


Where do you see Shields going in the next few years?

That’s difficult to answer as my department works on various contracts which often change. I do see Shields continuing with MarketPlace and making good progress and everything is positive at least.


What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I can come across as hard and not a team player, but really I am quite reserved.


What job would you be doing if you weren’t doing this one?

I had a big interest in cars so probably working in a garage.


Who is your hero or heroine and why?

It would have to be my Mother, we got through some tough times together.


What do you do to relax and unwind after work?

I like to watch TV, play Xbox, listen to music, and potter in my man caves (one of them has a bar).


To find out more about our decommissioning work at Shields here.