A Day in the Life of a Head of Division

Paul ‘Flash’ Bolton recently took over as the Head of Synthetic Training and Simulation for Inzpire.

Before this, Flash had worked in the RAF’s Air Battlespace Training Centre as an Inzpire Synthetic Training Subject Matter Expert for almost 10 years, with the last three years of his time there spent as the Operations Director.

Our Marketing and Communications Manager Becki caught up with Flash to find out how he was finding his new daily routine.

Becki: What are the main differences between Operations Director and Head of Division for Synthetic Training?

Flash: I was in the Air Battlespace Training Centre (ABTC) for the best part of 10 years, so my role now is completely different. The most obvious difference is the location; I have swapped a high-tech simulation facility for Inzpire’s Lincoln HQ, where I am now spending a lot of my time.

When you work somewhere for as long as I was in the ABTC becomes a bit of a goldfish bowl; when you come out in to the wider sphere you realise just how much is going on within Inzpire! Many of Inzpire’s Divisions overlap in terms of delivery and business opportunities so I now need to have a solid understanding of what is going on around the company. Before, I knew what was going on in most areas but it didn’t directly impact me.

Another thing I have noticed and that I am having to get used to is the distribution of time to different parts of the Head of Division (HoD) role. The ABTC runs by the clock; the day was very organised, I knew what time each Exercise would start, how long the debriefs would take and what time I would leave work each day. Being a HoD is a lot more fluid; my time is split between Head Office, the ABTC, working from home and meeting industry experts and customers, so my diary is often dictated by the needs of others.

Like Tats – the new ABTC Operations Director – said in his blog last week, I also receive 10 times more emails now, so I’m having to dedicate a part of my day to making sure I am checking my inbox!

Becki: What challenges have you come across?

Flash: I’ve had to refresh my procurement skills that I had when I was in the Air Force and bring them up to date so that they are in line with what is required in the Industry. There are also lots of new faces, contacts and names that I have had to learn, both within Inzpire and in the wider industry and I am having to learn what roles they all do – Inzpire works with a lot of people!

Becki: What does the average day look like in your new role?

Flash: Every day is different; I’m doing a lot of travelling to meet customers and to go to business meetings. I spend time looking out for new contracts and helping to extend the ones we currently have; as a HoD it is my responsibility to ensure that I am keeping on top of any business development opportunities that appear.

As I’m still very new in the role, I am also spending much of my day making sure that I am catching up on all aspects of the Division that have been developed under Bob Chevli’s tenure; introducing myself to all of his contacts and continuing business development opportunities.

I also spend a lot of time talking to other Inzpire HoDs and Subject Matter Experts, making sure I am fully aware of any developments that may impact my Division.

Becki: How did previous role as Operations Director prepare you for your new role as Head of Synthetics?

Flash: I have a deep understanding of synthetics; I am a Subject Matter Expert and as Ops Director I had to oversee all aspects of training delivery at the ABTC. Being at the heart of Synthetic Training delivery for the best part of 10 years means I had a wide-ranging understanding of what the Division does and how we can develop; I am using all of the skills and knowledge I learned in that role every day.

It is the wider business aspect that is the challenge for me now, but I’ve been within Inzpire for so long that I always know someone will have the answer to any questions I may have!