The man who swapped catching criminals for championing businesses says he is “sick fed up of Aberdeen playing second fiddle to the Central Belt”.
Adrian Watson took over as chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired one year ago, following a 30-year career in the police which saw him rise to the rank of Police Scotland’s divisional commander for Aberdeen.
Looking back on his two very different careers, Adrian says he can see similarities.
He said: “The last year has been very exciting but a lot of hard work.
“The two jobs are different in titles but especially on a strategic level they are quite similar.
“When I was working at Police Scotland I tried to build up partnerships between organisations in order to try and make the city safer. Working with different partnerships is what I have tried to do at Aberdeen Inspired as well.”
Adrian said both jobs are about working with the people of the city and wanting the best for it.
“I am sick fed up of Aberdeen playing second fiddle to the Central Belt and I always had this in mind when I was a police commander,” said Adrian.
He said the transition from Grampian Police to Police Scotland helped greatly in moving to Aberdeen Inspired, which helps to improve the city centre by holding several events.
Adrian added: “Moving to Aberdeen Inspired has seen my priorities shift slightly over the last year.
“It is nice not getting woken up at 3am because there is a critical situation in Aberdeen, however this jobs brings up different challenges in that we as an organisation are looking to think of innovative ideas.
“There is no room for complacency here as we have a very ambitious board.”
Since the switch, Adrian has overseen the introduction of several high-profile events to the city, such as the Nuart festival, the comedy festival, the painted doors project and a new and improved Christmas village.
He has admitted he was quite sceptical about some of the projects.
“Aberdeen is seen as a bit conservative so I was a bit worried about some of the events we wanted to introduce,” added Adrian.
“Nuart was the most ambitious as it saw artists from across the world coming to Aberdeen.
“We were confident about young people enjoying it but unsure about older people so it was great to see so many people coming to Aberdeen from the North-east and across the country to see street art.
“Nuart was also about creating a legacy, however we want to do that with all our events and we are happy with the response so far.
“I feel Aberdeen is looked down on so it is important we at Aberdeen Inspired try to put the city on the map.
“The Nuart Festival especially was world renowned and probably the best street art festival in the world this year. Other events such as the comedy festival and the Christmas village have been great for Aberdeen and I hope this can-do attitude continues.”