Construction News Q&A

Brian Muirie is sales director at Dieselec Thistle, one of the UK’s largest diesel generator suppliers.  He originally joined Dieselec five years ago, after running the sales and servicing department for LCH Generators (latterly Speedy Power). A quantity surveying graduate with an HND in building maintenance and management, he still lives in his home town of Glasgow where Dieselec Thistle is based.


  1. Who would you most like to shoot with a paintball gun?

I’m usually a live and let live kind of person but the guy that cut me up on the way into work this morning and then threw his sandwich wrapper out of the window gets my vote for his total disrespect for anyone else.

  1. You’re God for the day. What’s the first thing you do?

I’d love to be able to make the sun shine in Scotland.  I’d say turn the clock back and make Scotland win the Rugby World Cup too but some things are too far-fetched even for God!

  1. If you could travel back in time to any period in history, when would it be?

From a business point of view I’d go back to the early 1970s when the miners’ strike forced a three-day week because of the power cuts: it’d be a great time to be selling diesel generators!

  1. Who or what are you enjoying listening to?

I usually have quite an eclectic selection on my iPod anyway but these days I seem to end up listening to whatever my six-year-old daughter has put on there (which usually means a lot of Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber).

  1. What unsolved mystery would you like the answers to?

I’d really like to know how the UK’s top three accounting firms managed to get through the financial crisis unscathed when the banks and the FSA were hauled over the coals…..

  1. What is your favourite book or film?

It’s called ‘Crash’ – the Paul Haggis film, not the David Cronenberg one – it’s a really thought-proving film that challenges your preconceptions of religion and race.

  1. What would you take with you to a desert island?

My iPhone – even without a signal it’s got so much stuff on it that I could manage to avoid getting bored for a while.

  1. What would your superpower be?

I think I’d enjoy being invisible and sneaking around, it’d be a great way to gather some useful market intelligence.

  1. If you were blessed with the necessary talent, what would your dream job be?

At the risk of sounding cheesy I’d probably still want to do the job I’m already in! Or perhaps I’d be a professional golfer – I’m pretty good on the fairway but not quite of the standard that’d allow me to leave the office for good and enter the British Open. I’m envious of professional sportsmen / women as they make a living doing what they love.

  1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My dad always said you should never burn a bridge and I think that’s as true in business as it is in life: you never know when it will be useful to call on an old contact or when people will reappear in your life.

  1. What should the construction industry be doing to help itself in the current climate?

We need to put in place a universally accepted and independently regulated payment terms structure to stop sub contractors and suppliers from being squeezed, otherwise parts of the delivery chain are vulnerable to bankruptcy even if they have a full order book.

  1. What’s the best work-related thing you did recently?

The thing that’s brought me the most satisfaction recently is helping to grow the business to such an extent that we’ve been able to take on some talented young graduates and give them a clear career path.  Graduates are having are hard time in the current job market but I always think that any successful company needs to bring in new talent and invest in the team of the future.