I work as a consultant and non-executive director specialising in a number of fields, including marketing of all flavours, export development, staff development, mentoring, HR and contract formulation and vetting.
My current appointments include consulting for the du Pré Group and working as a non-executive director for du Pré Marine, which sells FLIR thermal imaging cameras and Hatteland Display monitors and Kahlenberg UK, the European distributor for Kahlenberg marine air and electric horns and Kahlenberg industrial air horns.
I also work on a number of theatrical and dance productions as a lighting designer each year.
These are a few of my favourite things
I have broad experience and interest in all aspects of business, including brand development, the evolution of new markets and generally – getting more sales! My view on these things errs on pragmatic rather than the puritanical – the business perspective always has to be considered.
I also firmly believe any business completely lives or dies by the people it employs. Over the years I’ve become particularly focused on management, people skills, coaching and mentoring. In this role I’ve been both a provider of training and the recipient of it; recently delivered courses include an internally formulated staff management coaching course and qualifications gained include ITIL Foundation v3, Prince 2 Practitioner and Change Management Practitioner.
I’ve also recently rolled out an HR system and completely overhauled company HR policies, while juggling marketing plans and the legislative implications of establishing and expanding overseas offices. So not unhappy with wide remits and multiple, concurrent tasks. Investigative jobs are always really interesting, but also happy to trawl through 50 pages of closely spaced legal language to look out for the gotchas.
I’m also pleased to work for British Marine and edit its member magazine, the first issue of which was published in September 2012.
Outside of work I am active with volunteering and other interests. Hence this site is a complete jumble and not always well maintained, the antithesis of a focused web presence with serious search engine pretensions. It’s not the way I would run a commercial operation; this place is self-indulgent and a bit shambolic in places, without apology.
A little history
Between September 2008 and May 2015 I worked in a number of management, marketing, online development, overseas development, secretariat, HR and staff development roles on the boards of the du Pré Group, du Pré plc, Double First Ltd and Accounting Office Software Ltd.
I was part of the team that saw Double First move from being fully reliant on UK sales to generating 60 per cent of its turnover overseas. We also acquired Accounting Office Software Limited, with successful retention of its skilled staff, and put du Pré plc on the path to transform from its telecoms focus to broader IT-based products.
Prior to joining Double First in September 2008 I was Digital Development Director for IPC Media, building a 70-strong end-to-end team that creates, hosts, develops and supports websites for the company’s Inspire, Southbank, Connect, Tx and corporate divisions.
Rewinding to 2006 I was Group Editor in charge of IPC Marine Media’s business and Internet media including International Boat Industry magazine and the ybw.com network. This profile in New Media Age gives a flavour of what was happening at the time.
Among many parallel adventures I was invited to give a lecture and run a workshop for post graduate students at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (Jomec).
Further back again I was Editor of Motor Boats Monthly magazine for 11 years from 1989-2000 which took me on a journey from a one magazine start-up company, through United Newspapers and Link House magazines (via two management buyouts) to IPC.
Working on Motor Boats Monthly, International Boat Industry and ybw.com introduced me to many different people, adventures and experiences, not all of them boat related. I worked in a consultative capacity for several notable companies including Capgemini and Microsoft. I was chairman of the DAME marine equipment awards and a regular speaker and event facilitator at a number of different venues, from private clubs to business conferences and exhibitions.
IT and the Internet
An unhealthy interest in technology has included an involuntary love affair with everything Apple Mac since I saw a IIfx appear on my desk in 1992, along with an instruction to start using it to create magazines. By 1999 I was actually working fully remotely for five months in all corners of Britain by hooking up a laptop to a mobile phone, a rarity in those days.
I’ve been working on the Internet since 1997 when sites were delightfully optional. I rode the first Internet bubble, its spectacular burst and then its irrevocable re-appearance while at IPC. Since then I seem to have grown a portfolio of websites that I look after on behalf of various businesses and organisations, in various capacities.
This blog will mostly get updated on my own MacBook Pro although I also use a PC laptop for work, an iPhone to keep my life together and an iPad to test site and watch the odd bit of catch-up TV.
Sailing and motorboating
I’ve been boating since my early teens, in sailing dinghies, cruising yachts and motorboats. Michelle and I have owned four motor cruisers – three steel displacement cruisers and latterly a 45ft semi-displacement 1974-built motor yacht called Formanda. In all I have logged tens of thousands of miles in powered and sailing craft of all types, in UK, North European, Mediterranean, Asian and North American waters.
Pleasure became work for me when I joined the boating magazine world in the mid 1980s. I headed Motor Boats Monthly‘s cruise in company programme for 15 years, was a co-organiser of the British Marine‘s Try A Boat and Start Boating campaigns in the 1990s and undertook a round Britain cruise ‘Grand Tour’ on a flybridge 36-footer in 1999 that spanned 147 days and 109 coastal and inland havens. I posted daily news reports during that time that I guess you would call a blog now…one of my aims is to restore those posts on here at some point. You can view my Grand Tour boat UK circumnavigation here.
I started collecting various bits and pieces to create a touring sound and lighting rig in my teens. At its height this sound and light system occupied the whole of a stripped out caravan that (fortunately) followed dutifully my old Vauxhall Cavalier all over the country. My long-suffering wife and brother formed the stage crew and Ian doubled as DJ when need arose. While I don’t think anything we did was intrinsically unsafe (as proof I offer up the fact we never killed or injured anyone), Health and Safety would probably have a field day if we attempted the same now.
After a long break I’m enjoying growing my experience in lighting design, mostly concentrating on dance, drama and amateur theatre. View more information on my theatre lighting design page.
Life has been good. I’ve spoken at the Royal Albert Hall and Earls Court, recorded at Abbey Road, jumped into a liferaft with Jeremy Beadle and presented (a few bits) on BBC TV and BBC local radio. I’ve hosted a seasick singing chef on my boat, thrown myself into the water (numerous times) and got rescued (on purpose) by an HM Coastguard Sea King helicopter in front of a Southampton Boat Show crowd.
…and other interests
I enjoy cooking, mostly self-taught but much improved by taking a five-day foundation course and two-day Thai course at Ashburton Cookery School. I enjoy travelling, sport (F1, football, just about anything else as well really). I enjoy warm water recreational diving, qualified to PADI Advanced.
And I take great pleasure from being married to Michelle and having so many of our family close to home; my uncle skills are always permanently behind the curve when measured against our very lively, super intelligent and rapidly-growing-up nieces.