UK Flour Millers' Senior Technical Advisor likes nothing better than arm-wrestling with government officials on behalf of the membership.
Joe Brennan’s first job in the food industry was, by his own admission, less than auspicious.
“I was working in a biological research plant,” he says. “Which sounds impressive, except my job was to scrape chicken excrement off the walls of an industrial pressure cooker.
“Still, it taught me a valuable lesson in life – that things can always get better.”
These days, in his role as UK Flour Millers’ Senior Technical Advisor, Joe finds the pressure cooker tends to be in the form of negotiations with government officials and policy makers.
But twisting arms on behalf of the UK Flour Millers membership is just one part of a wide-ranging brief which has evolved since he joined the organisation in 2016.
“I’m a bit of a jack-of-all-trades,” he admits. “My job involves everything from food safety and looking at health and safety within mills to providing reports on new wheat varieties and addressing members on the latest developments within the industry.
“But it’s a great job and I enjoy negotiating with the likes of farmers and stakeholders and trying to influence policy makers.”
Joe’s brief sojourn cleaning pressure cookers came after he had gained a degree in natural sciences and spent a year in Denmark, where his mother originally hails from.
“I saw the job advertised with nabim, as it then was, and I thought my degree might come in handy,” he says. “A few weeks later I got the position and I haven’t looked back since.”
Now 27, Joe is very much a vital cog in the UK Flour Millers machine, working closely with members as the flour milling industry deals with the fall-out from Brexit, the disruption from Covid, and the current situation in Ukraine.
His spare time is at something of a premium, but away from the office Joe is a keen rugby fan.
“I was brought up close to Harlequins’ ground, so I’ve always had a soft spot for them. In fact, I did my A-levels in the bar at their clubhouse. But my dad’s Welsh, so I also like to watch the Ospreys.”