What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job in IT was working in a clean room, repairing computer disk drives, back in the day when we repaired disk drives instead of just throwing them away. I can remember changing the disk platters on an 8in drive that had a total capacity of 2.5MB!
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Automobiles. Anyone who knows me knows I am a petrol head. It comes from my late father who was fascinated by cars; together we built a number of kit cars. Sailing is my next big passion - just being by the water has a hugely calming effect on me.
What was the best business trip or junket you've ever been on?
Avaya was the official network supplier for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Unfortunately, I missed out on that one - so I'd say my best one was spending time with partners in Hawaii.
Are you going to the next CRN Channel Awards?
I don't know yet, but they are great awards, recognising excellence in the industry, and it is a great night out.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education (such as at a university)?
A mixture of both of these is important. But changing attitudes towards technology skills is also critical; teaching computer science in schools from a young age, as opposed to IT, along with young people's engagement with technology, will help alter perceptions and encourage more of them to enter the industry. IT is fast becoming the way to achieve business outcomes.
Do you or have you read Channelweb.co.uk on your mobile phone or other handheld device?
Yes, as I use my phone for many things including videoconferencing. The mobility in the workplace trend has made a job such as mine, which involves a lot of travel, much easier.
Is too much truth-telling bad for human relationships?
Truth should be the basis of every relationship, whether business or personal. And how you deliver that truth is important.
Your closest near-death experience?
I was involved in a car accident; I nearly hit two large, solid oak trees and rolled a BMW into a carrot field.
What are you reading?
I'm currently engrossed in The Dambusters 617 Squadron. When you remember the great dambusters and the hardship these men went through, you realise what true courage is and why we owe so much to so many.
What is more important: anger or passion?
Passion, of course. Anger can never achieve what passion can in terms of results.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
Sailing instructor, or at least a life near the sea. I find the sea calming; concentrating on something while being close to nature is great. Also, I don't think you would ever stop learning and being able to pass on your knowledge is always rewarding. So being a sailing instructor would suit me very well, I think.
Andy Litherland is vice president of European channels at Avaya
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