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Get to know your community: 20 questions to David Hone

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Posted: 08/17/2011
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Each week, Oil & Gas IQ introduces you to a new member of our rapidly-growing global community. We set out to reveal what makes them tick, and what it is that makes them stand out through their work and life experiences.

This week's respondent is David Hone, Climate Change Advisor for Shell and a regular columnist for Energy iQ.

Q: Who is your hero and why?

A: Being a "space race" kid, my hero was always John Glenn. I don’t think I have a more modern hero, although I always admired George Bush Sr., probably because of the vast experience he brought to the Presidency, having been a Congressman, Director of the CIA, US Ambassador to China and Vice-President, and the very difficult decision he made to draw a line under the Gulf War and not invade Iraq at that time.

Q: Who do you admire in the business world and why?

A: As an individual, probably Richard Branson – he just seems to make the most of the opportunities he has and stands behind his ideas and initiatives in a very personal way.

Q: What has been your greatest achievement?

A: Family aside, I think it has been the diversity of my career, even though I have only ever worked for Shell. But as a single specific business achievement, I feel that I made a very real contribution to the development of the NER300 CCS support mechanism in the EU. On a personal note, visiting all seven continents has been a hugely rewarding experience. The final one, Antarctica in 2009, was the fulfilment of a long term ambition.

Q: What is your greatest regret?

A: Although it was never really offered, I wish I had included a solid grounding in economics within my formal education. As I have progressed in business I have come to realise how important this subject is, particularly in my current role. So I will have to be satisfied with "gifted amateur" status.

Q: What is your favorite word?

A: I have no idea, it isn’t something I really think about.

Q: What is your least favorite word?

A: I don’t think I have a least favourite word.

Q: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

A: At university I had thought about doing architecture. Today I really enjoy the media world – so progressing from blogger to full time writer on energy issues and the like would be an interesting challenge.

Q: What profession other than yours would you not want to attempt?

A: I don’t think I could work in the medical profession.

Q: Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

A: Not really, although in my CV I have used the words communicator, strategic and analytical.

Q: If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

A: Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He was an amazing engineer who transformed the UK during the industrial revolution. We need this type of high-risk innovation today.

Q: What is your favourite book?

A: I don’t have a favourite book. I tend to talk about books that I have read more recently. Last year I really enjoyed "Merchants of Doubt", a book about the people and institutions who have sown the seeds of doubt in climate science (and the link between tobacco and lung cancer, CFC and the ozone layer . . . . )

Q: What is your favourite film?

A: I am a big science fiction fan – my favourite is probably Bladerunner, but that’s partly down to the direction by Ridley Scott. Another favourite, at least as a grim reminder of where we don’t want to be, is Soylent Green (early 1970’s). But just to be entertained, I can always watch "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off".

Q: What is your most memorable quotation?

A: I don’t have one of my own and have a dreadful memory for others. It’s a bit like jokes, I can’t remember them either.

Q: If your job requires a lot of travelling - what is your favourite journey?

A: I always enjoy the opportunity to visit Washington DC. It’s a great city with plenty to see around the Mall area if there happens to be an hour or two spare in the business day. It’s also my favourite city for running, which is a must for me every day.

Q: What is your favourite dish?

A: Spaghetti bolognaise!

Q: What food can you not stand?

A: Roast lamb, which is strange being an Australian. But I have come to tolerate it.

Q: What is the quality you most like in a leader?

A: Someone who actually knows what they are talking about and uses the real experience they have to build vision and consensus. Modesty also helps.

Q: What is the quality you most like in an employee?

A: Someone who actually delivers what they say they can.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

A: That’s starting to stretch into "retirement", but perhaps I am doing that other profession mentioned earlier.

Q: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

A: Not much, otherwise I would be burdened by a much bigger regret than the relatively minor one I have already discussed.

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