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0 Mar 30 2011 @ 9:56am by Matt Smith in energy consulting, Global Energy, risk management, Risk Strategy

Chips and Salsa With Precision Castparts Corp Pro

For my latest indulgence of chips and salsa, I was fortuitous enough to grab some time with charismatic Nick Balster from Precision Castparts Corp. Nick travels the world overseeing energy for PCC, who is a worldwide manufacturer of complex metal components and products. Enjoy Nick’s entertaining responses on energy management, global challenges, and neutered pets:   

1) What is your current role at PCC, and what brought you to it?  

Corporate Energy Manager; a developing passion for energy topics, starting with efficiency and conservation and now into markets and global impacts brought me to it.  

2) How many different products do PCC produce, and what percentage of them could you name by sight?  

Literally thousands upon thousands of products ship out of PCC plants every year destined for satisfied customers. I can name a good few hundred by sight.  

3) I understand you oversee a good many sites, both in the US and internationally. Is there a huge difference in the problems you face, or are energy issues similar the world over?

Energy issues, as Summit Energy knows well, are similar the world over, but the closer you get to the issues, the more markets differ and you have to rely on a strategy that is holistic for decision making. 

4) What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? 

Gelatinous crab, on Daishon Island off the coast of Shanghai.  

5) Is there any energy market or commodity which you really dislike or find most challenging?  

I’m still picking up the dynamics of the markets and commodities, so they’re all still a bit challenging. I’m surrounded by great people that make the process of learning much easier.  

6) Who is your favorite superhero and why?  

Spiderman, because he is land-based. I’ve never been wowed by superhero flight.  

Part of Nick's positive German experience

7) Which is your favorite site / country to visit and why? 

Munich, Germany. I spent a year there when I was in school and found it an incredible location: traditions, scenery, ease of access throughout the city, and of course, some of the finest beverages the world over.  

8) Congrats on your latest addition to your family, Jack. Do you feel less outnumbered now you have a boy?   

Yes; I thought I was going to lean on the technicality of having a male dog (albeit it neutered) to manage the male-female ratio in the family. Including Bilbo (dog – black lab), we’re now even-steven.  

9) What do you see as the biggest challenge to your business over the coming years?  

Maintaining and growing the workforce to help manage the explosive growth we’ve experienced is the biggest challenge in my opinion.  

10) Who is your favorite cartoon character and why?  

Winnie the Pooh. He makes me feel at ease and reminds me of the innocence of childhood. Alas, my kids like Barney (ugh)…  

11) What is the most surprising thing you have learnt about the energy world?  

How connected the energy world is to parts of all of our lives. In the world that I’m familiar with and have been exposed to, energy is central. It is to everyone else around me as well, though most people I find fail to recognize the point.  

12) I hear you are a Cheesehead. What’s your favorite cheese?  

I’m a sucker for a good sharp cheddar. Wisconsin sharp cheddar of course; all others are imposters.  

13) You lived in Edinburgh for a while; what was the best / worst part about of living there?  

Best = access to all of the EU at very cheap rates. Worst = winter is from September until June, and the moist, cold air for most of that period is punishing.  

14) If Spiderman and Winnie the Pooh had a fight, who would win?  

Neither; Spidey is an altruist and Pooh a pacifist. That’s a boring mix for a fight, but why fight when there’s honey to snack on?  

Glorious stuff, Nick. Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer some questions; rock on!  

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