Non-executive director Maintel (former chief executive Proximity Communications, prior to its acquisition)
What was the worst job you have ever had?
My first sales job, working on a street market where I had to get up at 5am to load the stall and then at the end of the day stand in the street shouting “two for sixty pence the caulis” to passers-by. This has remained with me every since. My first taste of sales – if you think it’s hard to get corporations to part with cash, you ought to see how hard it is to get pensioners to part with 60p.
Which actor would you pick to play you in a movie of your life?
Funnily enough it would have to be Tom Hanks. The reason being, according to my wife, when I dance it looks like Forrest Gump in the leg restraints. What do you do as your party trick? Some would say pass out, which has been known before, but I would probably say a little bit of singing to finish the night off, or clear the bar depending on how intoxicated I am.
What is your favourite chocolate bar?
My favourite chocolate bar of all time is no longer made but it was a Texan Bar, which was very big in the 1980s. I can still remember the advert that had a cowboy surrounded by Indians while they waited for him to finish eating it. It was very chewy and you couldn’t rush it and the Indians eventually fell asleep. It was so tasty.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
In February of this year, against all odds, our incredible team was awarded the contract to help a major LSE business move its premises. This proved Proximity truly has some of the best people the industry has to offer, and my vision for what this company would one day be became a reality.
Has 2014 been a good, bad or ugly year?
There have been countless milestones since Proximity was brought to life, but I feel like we really stepped it up a level last year, and have continued to do so throughout 2014. We came out of last year debt free, with a 21 per cent rise in net profits and £3.8m in the bank, which many of our competitors were unable to achieve. 2014 has been even stronger and I’ve been amazed by the quality of people we have in the organisation who consistently deliver over and above their roles.
How would you explain the IT channel to a stranger without boring them to death?
As intelligent plumbing, where we provide water through pipes, to sinks from large storage tanks and use our skills to ensure it continues to function. Water being data, sinks being PCs or devices and storage tanks being servers; the rest is self-explanatory. You can take the boy out of the building industry but you can’t take the building industry out of the boy.
Aside from the channel, my dream career would be… I’ve been training to become the lead singer for a band, which has really opened my eyes to how amazing great vocalists are and how much we take them for granted. There’s a massive void between karaoke and professional singing. I hope to bridge at least some of the way but it’s very challenging.
What major issues will the channel face in 2015?
A major issue is the lack of new talented resource available. Ten years ago the market overflowed with very capable people who could make a great living in the IT sector. Now most of those guys are either retired, running their own business or have taken some of the industry’s most prestigious roles. We’ve failed in bringing on new talent from the next generation to fill up the positions that have become vacant. We could learn a lot from the Premier League where many of the most successful football teams have a youth academy that develops and nurtures the stars of tomorrow.
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