Founder and managing director, Academia
Career so far
I’m the managing director of IT reseller Academia. We historically focused on the UK education sector but recently expanded into wider public sector and B2B markets. Previously (1990 – 2003) I was the sales manager at Excitech. I’m pleased to say that my move to set up Academia has now seen us feature in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 list for the last four years running. We are very proud.
What was your first job and were you any good at it?
I worked in a bar in the French Alps for a season after university. My first proper job was driving a minibus for the council.
Who was your top teenage pin-up?
Debbie Harry. If there are no “rules” then it’s Jessica Rabbit! My colleagues won’t know this about me but… I used to play Dungeons and Dragons back in the day. And I fancy a cartoon rabbit.
What is your favourite snack?
I’m fairly healthy these days, but I’m still partial to a Krispy Kreme and they can regularly be seen circulating round our office. And a carrot.
What has been your career high point to date?
Investing in an IT reseller in Finland. They contacted us and wanted Academia to tell them “how to do it”. Also managing the growth of Academia from zero to £50m in 10 years (and resulting in being the Times Tech 100).
Has 2013 been good, bad or ugly?
Good – better than good. Excellent. Academia has achieved its largest turnover, biggest growth surge and has set us up to expand into new non-traditional markets for us securing our continued growth.
What do you say when asked at a party what you do for a living?
I help organisations develop their IT infrastructure, helping them achieve more efficiency and profit. If they hang around after that I tell them about my Dungeons and Dragons achievements.
If I wasn’t working in the channel I would probably be…
A property developer.
What will be the channel’s biggest challenge in 2014?
Technology these days is becoming increasingly simple for the end user but more complex for the employer. The channel has a challenge to not sell in solutions that consumers and businesses don’t need. Solutions should continue to add value to customers’ business objectives. Technology should be effortlessly helping them in the background while they get on with their core activity.
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