Written by Josh Glover
14 May 2024

Sharpsmart Spotlight: Shaun Vause

Going to Hull University was never a part of his life plan, that is until they hosted a jelly wrestling competition. He didn’t see a pool filled with jelly, he saw an opportunity for honour and glory.

We want to take a moment to shine the spotlight on Sharpsmart’s resident jelly wrestling champion and our Stoke plant Operations Manager, Shaun Vause.


Who Is Sharpsmart’s Competitive Lightweight Strongman?


Shaun’s the type of person who buys two watch batteries when he needs one, just in case one doesn’t work – he’s a man with a backup plan.

He took a two-fold approach to raising the bar – as well as powerlifting eye-watering heavy weights, he also transformed our Stoke site from “needing attention” to our flagship plant.

Joining Sharpsmart in July 2022 as the Operations Manager for our Stoke plant, Shaun came from a background in retail warehousing with no prior knowledge or experience with clinical waste. But that never stopped him from getting stuck in, fuelled by his profound and deep-seated love of machinery.

His hands-on approach involved facing challenges head-on and tackling two major machinery breakdowns, updating machines, and overseeing the installation of a brand-new washline.

But Shaun isn’t just about fixing things – he’s about pushing boundaries and making a lasting impact. With a genuine love for all things operations, his enthusiastic drive to make a real difference is infectious.

But that’s enough from us – now that you have an idea of who Shaun Vause is, let’s hear from the man himself. We spent some (jelly-free) time with Shaun to better understand his Sharpsmart experience.


What were your first impressions of Sharpsmart?

Compared to the structure and culture of the corporate environment I’d been used to before, Sharpsmart felt very different.

Coming from a background in operations working for a global retail brand, the biggest thing that stood out to me quickly was the difference in culture. For instance in previous jobs, I wouldn’t have been able to get into the same room as the Managing Director, whereas within a few weeks at Sharpsmart, I’d met most of our leadership team.

Within my first month, we had the National Ops Summit which I was asked to speak at! I had a week or two of inductions and then there I was, off to the summit to speak about the current state of National Ops from an industry perspective and my vision for operations with the direction I intended to take our Stoke plant in.

Everyone I met at the summit was genuinely laid back and it was a great opportunity to get to know more people from the company and spend some face-to-face time with them – there’s not your typical top-to-bottom structure here, everyone is approachable.


What do you enjoy most about working for Sharpsmart?

Sharpsmart is a great fit for my skill set and personality. Working here allows me to strike a balance between analytical project planning and still getting my hands dirty on the shop floor.

I’m in love with machines and the fact I still get to spend my time playing with the machines, fixing them, breaking them, and fixing them again gives me a lot of joy.


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over your career?

When you’re at work you need to commit and make sure you work hard at every moment, but you also need to enjoy your downtime and time away.

And always have a backup plan.


What’s the most fulfilling thing you’ve done with Sharpsmart?

Executing my plan for our Stoke plant and seeing the improvements it had, not just on operations but on the development of the people working in the plant – the key pillars.

The plan was implemented over 12 months and seeing the positive impact it’s had is massively rewarding. Stoke has been on a journey of improvement with fixes and tweaks along the way to become our flagship plant.

It’s fulfilling to see the promise it holds for those who still have a few decades of their careers left – our next generation of ops leaders.


What does growth look like for you and your team?

Growth for me and my team hinges on self-awareness, knowing where you need to go and what you need to do, and laying out a clear pathway to achieve that – it’s multifaceted.

A growth mindset requires an open mind and an “I can and I will” attitude, without getting bogged down – being self-aware enough to understand both your expertise and areas that need improvement.


If you could dispel one myth about the healthcare waste industry, what would that be?

It doesn’t smell good, but it doesn’t smell as bad as you might imagine.


What advice would you give someone looking for a career with Sharpsmart?

Learn as much as you possibly can and talk to everybody. Be part of it, jump in and don’t be nervous. If you immerse yourself in the company and get stuck into the journey, you’ll enjoy it and you’ll go a long way.


Bonus Question: What’s the last thing you ‘Googled’?

On my work phone, it was the Mercedes EQB 350. On my personal phone, it was powerlifting hashtags.



Join Our Pride!


Are you currently considering an exciting new career with an innovative company that gives you a platform for growth and development?

If you are, and you’d also like to be a part of making healthcare safer and more sustainable, you’ll fit in nicely with the Sharpsmart pride.



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Josh Glover

Josh Glover

Content Specialist

As a natural storyteller driven by curiosity, Josh aims to educate and engage through informative and thought-provoking content; working towards a safer and more sustainable healthcare system.