In Profile – Luc Smets

In the August edition of Fuel Oil News magazine, we chatted with Luc Smets, general manager at Prax Lindsey oil refinery, to discover more about the man behind the industry success – from his clear pride in his family, through his recent achievements, to his love of chocolate.

Give your career history in 50 words or fewer?
I began my career working for ExxonMobil in different roles and in various locations. I later joined the Gunvor Group as general manager in Antwerp and Ingolstadt, and recently joined the Prax Group, as general manager at Prax Lindsey Oil Refinery.

Tell us more about yourself using 3 words.
Challenge. Endurance. Value.

What were your childhood / early ambitions?
I wanted to become a carpenter, like my father and grandfather.

Tell us your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is a serious injury on site. Safety is always our number one priority, and we do everything in our power to mitigate risks, but you can never be too careful.

Describe your dream job (if different from your current job).
Making a difference in an economic activity that is needed by society.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing is impossible, but resources are limited.

Share your top tips for business success.
Always look for value creation
Think outside the box
Manage all risks

What’s your most recent business achievement of note?
Being part of the successful acquisition of Lindsey Oil Refinery.

Which is most important – ambition or talent?
Both, actually – you need them equally to achieve important goals in life.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Leading a team of motivated and skilled employees.

Is there a quality that you most admire?
Honesty and integrity.

What are you most likely to say?
“Thank you!”

What are you least likely to say?
“It is your fault this happened.”

Describe your perfect day?
A day without surprises!

Do you have a favourite sports team?
The New England Patriots American football team.

What’s the biggest challenge of our time?
Time management.

Cheese or chocolate?
I like cheese, but I love chocolate.

Share your greatest personal achievement?
Offering our three sons a good start in life.

What’s your pet hate or biggest irritant?
Someone who doesn’t respect others.

If you were elected to government, what would be the first law you’d press for?
Animal rights.

If your 20-year-old self saw you now, what would they think?
Why does he not spend more time with his family?

What is number 1 on your bucket list?
I don’t have a bucket list.

What 3 things would you take to a desert island?
My wife, water and food.

Tell us something about you that people would be very surprised by?
I am colour-blind.

Who would you most like to ask these questions of?
Till Lindemann, the German singer/songwriter and poet best known as the lead vocalist in Neue Deutsche Härte band, Rammstein.