Alan was born, educated and served a toolmaking apprenticeship in Dundee. He went on to become an engineer in the merchant navy, traveling the world as a deep-sea tourist predominantly to Australia and New Zealand. On returning to Dundee, Alan joined Timex Corporation as a toolmaker, and progressed through a number of business development and production management roles within their factories in the UK, Far East and Europe. Alan moved to factory management positions in a number of international telecoms and computer manufacturing companies In 2007, Alan retired from his role as Operations Manager for Jabil Circuit in Ayr including supporting the start-up of a new factory in Ukraine. Alan joined GalGael in 2008 as a volunteer bringing with him 50 years of experience in sailing.