10 March 2023
Who was your hero growing up?
My Dad was my hero. I carry with me invaluable memories and life lessons: he taught me that success comes with hard work and instilled in me a work ethic that means I will not stop until the job gets done.
At the same time, he taught me to be caring and thoughtful: always encouraging me to try things out and push myself, he never criticised and was always present. He taught me that nothing comes before family and that throughout my life, at work or outside, I must treat people as I expect to be treated myself.
Without knowing, he also passed on his passion for sport: although he was an ardent football lover he encouraged my love for other sports like rugby, always attending fixtures and making jokes about the funny shaped ball. That’s why, apart from my Dad, when growing up my hero was whoever was the striker for Liverpool FC.
What was your big career break?
I was working for a small managed services business in the early days of my career, when we won a large outsourcing opportunity bidding against IBM. The IBM manager who lost the deal approached me and offered me a job. I’ve never forgotten his line: “come and work for IBM. It is much better than that outfit you are currently employed by.” I laughed and I replied: “do you mean that outfit which just won a huge deal out from under your nose?”
He accepted my point and we went on to have an in-depth discussion which ended with me accepting the job. That started a 12-year career in IBM, the best IT business in the world. It has given me fantastic career opportunities and deep domain knowledge in managed services for large complex network infrastructure and I have seen first-hand the challenges mobile operators have in achieving network infrastructure efficiencies and improving uptime resilience in a sustainable way. It is this incredible experience that led me to found PowerX and bring new technology in this space.
If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would you choose?
I studied physics for my degree and I still love the subject inside out. I would probably pick someone who has had a great effect on the world based on physics.
“In IBM in the early 1990s there was one green screen between about ten people and if anyone received an email the rest of the people would rush to see it as it was such a novelty. In the following years the progress has been immense to the point that mobile internet today is delivering huge benefits on a global basis.”
So I choose the Italian inventor and physicist Guglielmo Marconi for turning radio waves into wireless communications – how did he do that in the 1890s? He was credited as the inventor of the radio and in 1909, he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun for their ‘contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy.’
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Always believe in yourself. If you are confident something is right, don’t be put off by doubters. Have the courage of your convictions but don’t be afraid to apologise if you are wrong. Apologies show strength in recognising a mistake, not weakness.
If you had to work in a different industry, which would you choose?
I am passionate about technology and telecommunications and the impact that both have on improving the quality of life for people across the world.
That’s why I love what I do. If I had to choose a different industry, I would build on my degree in physics and work in medical physics. The advances in this space in recent years have been amazing and truly life-changing: without medical physics there would be no MRI or CT scans, X-rays would be very dangerous, cancer treatments may not exist and many life changing therapies would remain undiscovered.
I think that there are a huge number of advances still to come with research in medical physics and whoever contributes to them is a hero for saving or improving people’s lives.
The Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
As a lover of music this is a very tricky question. I would pick The Rolling Stones by a whisker. Both bands are immortal but the Stones just pip the Beatles.
What would you do with £1 million?
I have learned that nothing comes before family – that goes for winnings too. In all honesty, I would give a quarter to my son, a quarter to my daughter, to help set them up and give them a boost in their early start in life. I would keep a quarter for my wife to thank her for the incredible support she has given me over the years.
I would use the final quarter to invest in a start-up run by a young person or persons. I would offer them my advice along with the money, to help them make a success of their business. Having been the founder of a start-up myself I know how difficult it is to get both money and good solid advice.
What’s the greatest technological advancement in your lifetime?
Without doubt the invention of the internet. When I started work in 1989 there was no email, no internet, no social media and no continuous connectivity. In IBM in the early 1990s there was one green screen between about ten people and if anyone received an email the rest of the people would rush to see it as it was such a novelty.
It is almost impossible to envisage this situation bearing in mind how reliant the world is today on electronic communications.
In the following years the progress has been immense to the point that mobile internet today is delivering huge benefits on a global basis.
I am proud to see PowerX leveraging further technological advancements such as AI and machine learning and play a key role enabling resilient mobile connections and coverage to be delivered by efficient and sustainable infrastructure.
We need to continue to bring the internet to everyone on the planet so they can all benefit from the technology and grow economically, education wise, reap the health benefits and embrace the technology.