How and why did you start in business?
Industrial software and digital technologies have been constant threads throughout my career, starting in the semiconductor industry in Gourock as a software engineer.
Looking for a new challenge, I returned to Banchory and joined our family business to focus on the condition monitoring market in the oil and gas industry, taking on customer-facing and product commercialisation roles. A brief spell living and working in Switzerland as a result of the company being acquired was followed by a global sales and marketing role in the control and automation market, involving travel to parts of the world that you’d want to visit again and others you wouldn’t.
With a young family, it was time to spend more time at home near Banchory, so I joined and led a local software and RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology business focused on risk-based inspection and asset tracking solutions for the oil and gas and whisky industries.
An urge to broaden my horizons and understand more about the wider problems that industrial software could solve led me to a global consulting and business development director role with a manufacturer of Atex smartphones. Their recent takeover opened the door to start 2VS, and the rest is history.
How did you get to where you are today?
Determination, hard work and teamwork have played their part on this journey, as has a desire to think differently and challenge the status quo.
Industrial digital technologies represent a tremendous opportunity to improve the competitiveness of our local businesses, but there are also pitfalls to avoid and new ways of working to consider.
Sometimes, just knowing where to start and what the journey looks like can be daunting.
2VS was created to help both the end users and providers of these technologies to think differently from the start, to accelerate the time to achieve value for their respective businesses.
Who helped you?
My family have always been an inspiration, providing ideas and support without me having to ask for it.
Joining the Federation of Small Businesses has helped us to use our time more efficiently, giving us the guidance we need when we need it and allowed us to focus on what matters.
Business Gateway has also helped us to make better-informed decisions.
Wanting to give something back, I recently had the opportunity to mentor several start-up companies – an interesting and rewarding experience. Hopefully, this has helped them too.
What has been your biggest mistake?
Not starting our business earlier.
What is your greatest achievement?
Turning around a failing software business several years ago and making it a success, thanks to the amazing team we had, ranks as a high point.
If you were in power in government, what would you change?
Business rates and how they are calculated.
What do you still hope to achieve?
To have a profitable business which makes a difference and contributes to a digitally transformed enterprise ecosystem in the north-east, working in collaboration with like-minded individuals and companies to make this happen.
What do you do to relax?
Walking our dogs and tackling the next DIY challenge.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on TV?
Shetland – the scenery makes you realise what a great part of the world this is to live in.
What do you waste your money on?
DIY power tools – money wasted according to my wife, but money invested in my view.
How would your friends describe you?
I’d like to think they’d say “there for them when needed”.
What would your enemies say about you?
Hopefully I have no enemies, but everyone’s entitled to an opinion.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
My trusty Audi A3 still gets me from A to B. The ethical next choice should be an electric car but an Audi Quattro still appeals.