In Profile with Steve Little of Certas Energy UK

Our special monthly feature which gives you the opportunity to ‘meet’ an industry figure and, hopefully, to discover another side to them beyond the well-known facts.

In profile with Steve Little of Certas Energy UK – a farmer’s son who is scared of big, barky dogs

In November’s edition we chat with Steve Little, who was appointed to the role of managing director for Certas Energy UK in July this year.


Steve Little

Please give your career history in 25 words or fewer.

Qualified as an accountant with Arthur Andersen, then worked for GE and Houghton International. Joined Certas in 2017 and moved into MD role this year.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Enthusiastic. Energetic. Driven.

What were your childhood / early ambitions?

To be a fighter pilot. (I watched Top Gun, so it seemed like a good idea at the time!)

Describe your dream job (if you weren’t doing this?)

Postman (albeit I am scared of big, barky dogs) or building dry stone walls.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Get the right organisational structure in place to deliver on the company aspirations and fill that structure with great people.

Share your top tips for business success.

Set a clear expectation as to what success in the organisation could look like that taps into people’s inquisitive nature… they will do the rest.

What’s your most recent business achievement of note?

Moving into our new HQ in Warrington. Great to see the positive energy it has created within the team.

Tell us your greatest fear.

Failure and any negative impact on the team (and big barky dogs as per above.)

Which is most important – ambition or talent?


What’s the best thing about your job?

Seeing good people do well and progress, and the broad spectrum and challenges inherent in the role.

Which is the quality that you most admire?


What are you most likely to say?

‘It’s six and two threes’… It’s the Cumbrian equivalent of ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other.’

What are you least likely to say?

Don’t worry about committed deadlines and agreed deliverables. They are just a guide!

Describe your perfect day

Wake up (always a good thing), coffee, run or cycle, breakfast followed by various sports events with my three kids, a late afternoon walk with the dog to the pub for a few drinks with mates followed by a BBQ or takeaway with my wife Ellen, kids (Rosie, Daniel, and Molly) and friends or family.

Do you have a favourite sports team?

Carlisle United… there are no words!

What’s the biggest challenge of our time?

Climate change and net zero.

Cheese or chocolate?


Share your greatest personal achievement

Being happily married for nearly 20 years (I can’t talk for my wife!)

What’s your pet hate or biggest irritant?

Arrogance (it’s just misplaced confidence but it irritates me nonetheless)

If you were on ‘Mastermind’ what would your specialist subject be?

Being a farmer’s son from Cumbria I know a fair bit, and more than I should do, about different breeds of cows.

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

I would implement higher taxes on those in the top income brackets to really support levelling up (I don’t buy into trickledown economics) and invest properly in our education and health systems.

If your 20-year-old self saw you now what would they think?

Bald…very very bald and whilst I thought a fighter pilot might be stretching it…an accountant. Why??

What is number 1 on your bucket list?

Land’s End to John O’ Groats bike ride.

What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

  • My pet dog Buddy
  • A ball of some description
  • Fishing rod.

Tell us something about you that people would be very surprised by

I left my morning suit trousers in Manchester on my wedding day (unfortunately the wedding was in Liverpool!) and nearly got married in my boxer shorts. Yet my wife still married me…

Who would you most like to ask these questions of?

Alastair Campbell (my political man crush).