What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I joined Databarracks in 2006 and this is actually my first and only job in IT.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
I'm going to be cheeky and pick two: planes and trains. I hold a pilot's licence but for work I take the train from Preston to London every week, and when visiting our partners all over the UK.
In the office, my catchphrase is "let the train take the strain". When it comes to flying, long-haul isn't too bad - especially if I'm travelling business class!
What could prompt you to give it all up and join the revolution?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Should Prince William shave his head?
Certainly not! I expect greater things from members of the royal family. I am a true royalist; our monarchy is part of why the "great" is in Great Britain.
What was the best business trip or junket you've ever experienced?
The US Masters at Augusta in 2009. The only drawback is that when it rains, you can smell why it looks so green. What is not appreciated is the scale of the place - for instance, there are concession areas the size of a small Tesco.
When I went in 2009, everything was a dollar - sandwiches, beer, and soft drinks across 10 lines of tills serving non-stop until 4pm.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
Leadership, approachability, discipline, hard work and fairness, and it should apply to everyone.
What was the last film you saw and what did you think of it?
The Hobbit - a slow start to a promising trilogy.
Golf is a good walk wasted. Discuss!
This statement was made by Mark Twain. Although I have to point out he was neither good at golf or life. That said, he wrote possibly the two greatest commentaries on American life: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
I have played golf for more than 50 years and consider it to be the ultimate test of one's honesty and integrity. Let your sons and daughters play and you will find out more about them than in almost any other sport.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education such as at a university?
On-the-job training. I believe people tend to react better to situations when they've had the opportunity to experience things first-hand.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down? Does it work?
I take my dog for a walk. His antics are a sure cure for any sorrow. Man's best friend, he most certainly is.
Your closest near-death experience?
Piloting a small aeroplane into Blackpool in strong winds. During our ascent we encountered severe turbulence over some houses near the airfield's perimeter, during which the aircraft was "dumped" onto its side.
I had just enough altitude to pick up the wing and land. That was very close to being non-survivable.
What are you reading?
I've just finished Inferno by Dan Brown. I have read all his books and I particular like his chase scenarios. I have also read all Tom Clancy's novels, but I suppose my favourites are by Charles Dickens. I would like to read Cervantes' Don Quixote when I have the time.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
I have been fortunate to have done almost everything I have set out to do, and have achieved quite a lot in my lifetime, both in my private and professional life.
However, I do have a pilot's licence, and I would very much have liked to have flown professionally - whether in the armed forces or civil aviation.
Phil Gunning is channel manager at Databarracks
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