Lawrence Jones MBE

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Chief executive and founder, UKFast

What achievement are you most proud of?

Building such an amazing team at UKFast and being part of something so incredible. Of course my three girls make me proud every day too.

What has been the biggest change in the channel since you started working in it?

When we started we were focused on dedicated servers - that was our bread and butter. The shift toward cloud since then has been astonishing. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, back in 2010 only 48 per cent of UK organisations had consciously adopted a cloud computing product, compared with 84 per cent by early 2015. Our eCloud range has only been on the market for just over two years and already equates to almost 30 per cent of our revenue, that's about £10m.

What three things could you not live without?

I am a firm believer in scheduling as much of my day as possible. My routine always starts with a game of squash, often playing one of the world's best players, which gets my mind focused for the day ahead and keeps me fit and active. Another is my piano. I dipped my toe into the business world almost 26 years ago playing the piano in Manchester's old cinema and the Midland Hotel; that grew into my first business and enabled me to start UKFast. I still play as much as I can; if there is a piano around I am likely to be playing at some point! Finally, my little black notebook. It's an essential part of my business and personal life.

What has been your most embarrassing moment so far?

I don't embarrass easily. Embarrassing moments are either something to learn from or something to laugh at!

What do your family think you do all day?

Gail, my wife, is co-founder of UKFast and plays an essential role in the everyday running of the company. We have three girls and they are, and always have been, closely linked with the business. They're always in the office asking what people are up to, learning how UKFast runs and having fun with the team.

Who is your ultimate celeb crush?

I honestly can't think of one.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Chess. It drives my wife mad. I play around 4,000 games a year, so it's probably more of a guilty obsession!

What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?

There should be tax breaks on employee engagement and wellbeing initiatives. It would encourage more companies to invest in the health and happiness of their people.

Has 2015 been a good, bad or ugly year?

It's been a good year - both business and pleasure. We've had some amazing events at UKFast with the team, we're growing well and there are so many exciting things in the pipeline.

If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would you do?

I'd probably be a musician or a squash player, two of my big passions.

What major issues will the channel face in 2016?

We hear so much about the skills gap, but channel players are taking really positive steps to counteract it. The challenge will be standing out in the market - there are some huge, dominant global players that smaller firms need to work out how to compete with.

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