Since SMART was formed in 2012, we have built a team with a refreshing mix of experience, youth and innovation.
CEO & Founder
Not many people know this about me, and the “young uns” will laugh, but I was 'one' of the first in the country trained in Compact Disc repair (laser technology), satellite technology and digital techniques. I initially wanted to be a mechanical engineer until college, when I came across Electronic Engineering – and the rest is history.
In 2007 I had the opportunity to study and gain my Chartered Directorship qualification and have been fortunate enough to have been selected as a fellow of the Institute of Directors in the UK.
My biggest career achievement is also the biggest challenge: I formed a team that built the largest AV integration company in the yacht industry, both in revenue and project size. I also met the late HRH to receive not one but two Queen’s Awards. But my proudest achievement has to be my present company, Smart, being appointed as technical advisers to one of (if not the) greatest technologists in the modern world.
There have been challenges along the way, of course, and if I ignore the technical challenges (which is our job) then the financial crash of 2008 must be the biggest one. 126 staff looked at me for comfort when €10M of orders got cancelled in the space of a month, each one with families and mortgages to pay. When that happens, that's when you know you have a hell of a team behind you. Ian joined me on that “journey” and to be honest, looking back neither of us knows how we did it – but we did! That was an eye-opener but I am proud to say that I can look any employee, supplier (and even the tax man) in the eye and not one of them lost a penny, they all got paid.
I’m a life long “petrolhead” and just love machines. I gained my helicopter pilot's licence and love flying (currently going for a fixed wing as I want to fly a jet), no clue why and baffles my long-suffering wife of 33 years. Cars and motorbikes are also my weaknesses, especially classic rally cars so any opportunity to get on my bikes or get out in the 90’s cars I take it. I also have two Labradors and there’s nothing better than a two-hour walk listening to music with my dogs to wind down.
I live in a village in the north of England and something is always going on and I will get involved (if at home). For charity, I once dressed up as a mouse to raise money for children in need. Through Smart, we regularly support various charities both in the industry and localised. As Ian (the company FD) gets paid by the company and then gives some of that money to his Rugby team, then I guess that could be classed as Smart indirectly contributing to charity, as they need all the help they can get!
Like most other people in this industry, we travel crazy distances in short periods to get the job done. I once visited two European countries in one day for separate meetings, flew to the Middle East, then onto Seychelles, did a survey, got back on the same plane coming back, travelled back through the Middle East visited a client and headed back to the UK - all in 3 days, but to be fair I did manage to squeeze in a 26 hour day that journey!
My favourite place must be NYC – such an amazing place, especially at Christmas.
Work, Hull Kingston Rovers (Rugby) and travel take up most of my time – real ale and cooking fill in the rest. Can you beat a stein of red ale and a serving of poutine looking over the awe-inspiring Jasper Mountains; or exploring the thriving city of Saigon; or 40 years worth of success and heartache with Hull Kingston Rovers; or the buzz and wind-down of evenings in a kitchen?
The trials and tribulations of my career, rival that of Hull Kingston Rovers! Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in 1993 was a landmark occasion and provided the foundation to build my business career. It was also topped off with the award for the Region’s highest overall score in the final exams. Another career landmark was when I was promoted to European Financial Controller for Jotun, responsible for a large portion of northern Europe. And then, of course, in 2012, starting SMART with Steve and seeing it become what it is today is another major milestone.
Challenges – there have been many along the way. But none that can compete with the difficulties of navigating ANT through the financial turmoil of the global financial crisis of 2008-9. I joined ANT in 2008 when the markets were in freefall and the signing of new build contracts for yachts had momentarily stopped. Despite these challenges, we delivered all of our outstanding projects, paid our supplies, retained 95% of our workforce AND signed the largest contract to date. We sold the business in 2010, and to call it rewarding would be an understatement.
I’m also a volunteer member of an investment panel for the local enterprise partnership (LEP), which has issued grants and loans of several million pounds over the past decade to support local business investment and job creation. It’s been incredibly satisfying to see so many local, Humber-based businesses grow and thrive from our support.
My biggest hobby is BBQing. Either it’s summer or winter, one of my three BBQs is on fire during the weekend. To make it as challenging as possible, I sometimes prepare a piece of meat above an open fire, using the right wood combined with some fine herbs. The wood I use determines for a big part the taste of the meat. It’s always a fantastic surprise to taste the result after hours of patience.
Next to this, I am an Ajax fan. For 7 years me and my son have season tickets. We not only visit the regular competition games, but also the European matches like Champions or Conference League. Like BBQ, purely focussing on a passion. For 90 minutes it’s all about football and nothing more.
Thanks to my career I met a lot of great people, visited countries all over the world and, maybe most important, I grew as a person. 28 years ago, I started my first company and learned a lot in a short period of time. And I am still learning.
Senior Technology Consultant
Taking my first flight at 20 was a catalyst moment for me. A family holiday to Florida turned into a life-long pursuit of exploration and a career where foreign travel was a large part of the workload. Since that first flight I’ve experienced many different regions and cultures of the world; however, most of my travel is for business, so most of my exploring is reserved for the evenings. Given the amount of travelling I do for business, I enjoy spending time closer to home in my free time, visiting National Trust properties around the UK, and marvelling at the country's diverse architecture and rich history.
I am proud to say I have achieved the status of Chartered Engineer, but my journey was rather irregular. I started my adult life working in the education sector, with aspirations of becoming a science teacher. This plan was quickly abandoned when I experienced the sector and I moved into the medical arena. I studied Paramedic Science at university in London which led to my first real career as a Paramedic in London. This taught me many valuable life lessons that I carry with me to this day; it goes without saying, that I saw many things and like to think I made a positive difference to the population of London during my time there.
Following my career in the NHS, I pivoted and moved into the construction sector in a site management/co-ordination role; this is when I met Steve. I had a particular interest in electrical system design at this point and originally planned to become an electrician. But, despite being self-taught in areas of AV and IT, Steve recognised that I had particular skills in IT and offered me a job at SMART on a trial basis in 2015 – and I’m still here many years later. It sounds clichéd, but IT and AV are my hobbies as well as my job.
It wasn’t long after joining SMART that I joined the British Computer Society as a Professional Member; in 2019 I joined the Institution of Engineering and Technology as a Professional Member, and in 2022 I was awarded Chartered Engineer status by the Engineering Council. Becoming a Chartered Engineer without formal qualifications in the engineering sector was a huge achievement for me, which took almost two years to achieve – demonstrating competence and providing a huge portfolio of work.
Outside of work, when I’m not travelling or snowboarding, I enjoy listening to music – whether that’s 50s Rockabilly/Rock ‘n’ Roll to modern pop, Hip-Hop and Electronic genres of music. I also regularly undertake professional talks to encourage others into the engineering profession, and regularly advise local businesses and organisations on how they can implement cost-effective IT solutions and lending a helping hand with small-scale installations if needed.
Senior Technology Consultant
I've always loved problem-solving, which bodes well for the role and industry I've found myself in where technical challenges present themselves on a daily basis.
Abandoning a six-year career in IT and taking a chance at university to study electronic engineering was my hardest and most rewarding career achievement. Little did I know I’d end up being an IT Manager at a digital marketing company during my studies (by coincidence more than wanting), whilst also having a small business in website development. But, alas, I abandoned that too, despite being told ‘it’s a risk’, ‘you’re stupid for leaving a solid job'... I took a leap of faith and followed curiosity over logic. Plus, I didn't accumulate a large university debt for no reason.
Five years after following curiosity, and successfully achieving my BEng, I found myself working at Smart with a great team of diverse colleagues, collaborating with experts within the superyachts sector, and advising visionary clients about the cutting-edge technologies they should include in their projects. IT is still a core part of my work, however, working at Smart has allowed me to broaden my reach to span across multiple technology disciplines.
I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with clients and teams across various continents and industry sectors throughout my career, enabling me to adapt to various cultural and business environments. This industry has also given me the pleasure of working across multiple projects, with a diverse set of incredible people, all over Europe, the Middle East, and America. These professional and personal experiences have helped bring a unique global perspective to my work, which I try to utilise in every new project.
I'm currently a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (since 2016), the British Society of Computers (since 2019) and more recently the Institute of Directors, where I try to keep on top of my professional and technical development.
I was a keen athlete in my youth playing football, rugby league, cricket, and tennis. Nowadays pool and snooker are my go-to hobbies during time away from yachts. I've represented East Yorkshire, and the University England pool team on multiple occasions, winning the MVP award at the home nations tournament in Northern Ireland a few years ago.
I’m also a lifelong fan of F1 (even before the Drive to Survive series), with my first memories being Damon Hill fending off a famous German Ferrari driver for the World Championship. I enjoy the sport more than being a diehard fan, but I've always rooted for McLaren throughout the highs and lows. At this point, I'd be happy for anyone but Red Bull to win a championship.
Senior Technology Consultant
At 11 years old, my family and I visited India for 2 months. I recall the chaos and heat as we exited Bombay Airport and was in awe of the vastness of the city. We flew all over the country, visiting the Taj Mahal, the mountains in Kashmir and the tranquillity of Goa, amongst many other places. I love to travel and experience not only places and architecture but to learn about the people and how they live. I’m not one to sit on a beach!
I also spent a summer working at a children’s camp in the USA; two years later I was in Salt Lake City and then in San Francisco, where my love for popular science began, finding obscure books in dusty old bookshops. Many years later, my wife and I honeymooned in Kenya, ballooning over the Maasai Mara. Now spending time travelling the UK, visiting the sunny(ish) beaches, forest walks and picnicking in the park with the children are some of my favourite days.
My most recent project was one of the most complex ones I’ve undertaken: a two-year renovation, automating my home into a home automation paradise. How things work has always fascinated me. I used to buy bicycle parts from auctions and was constantly tinkering with my bike. I would take apart my home stereo and condense it to make it portable and help my father service cars. I tend to research and repair anything from PCs, robot vacuum cleaners, amplifiers and even the odd cassette deck! This hobby of mine turned into a small business. I had a real love of HI-FI and began designing HI-FI equipment and cables. I had several prototype amplifiers, pre-amplifiers, speakers, DAC and cables which subjectively sounded very good. A small number of production-ready items were sold and received well around the world, some of which I still use now.
At 20, I worked with my father converting our 38-bedroom hotel into 16 apartments. We re-designed the entire building and worked hands-on for almost 2 years. I learnt so much! Everything from fitting kitchens, electrical wiring, general building and even some painting and decorating. It was a great experience working with trades and my family and then seeing people living inside something we had built.
I spent the following 15 years working with technology at a residential home automation company. I began as a junior installer and worked my way to technical manager. The company was small when I began and I was instrumental in their development. As our knowledge of products and design grew, I created standardised installation and configuration processes, documentation, training programs, and supported colleagues in their development. During this time, I also became a Crestron Certified Programmer.
But the highlight of my career is definitely my current role at Smart!
I didn’t take a flight or leave the UK until I was 17 – and I’ve been lucky enough to have now visited numerous places around Europe and to have travelled as far as the Middle East and the Caribbean. This industry opens up many travel opportunities, and I make it a mission to explore the places I visit when the opportunity arises. Last time I visited Croatia, for example, instead of sitting in my hotel room in the evening sorting through my emails, a colleague and I took time to visit all the sites where Game of Thrones was filmed – it was very rewarding and gave me time to relax and reflect on the day’s work.
I joined ANT as an apprentice CAD Engineer at 16 and by 22 had assumed a senior position, working frequently away on-site for the installation and commissioning phases of many projects. When ANT Portsmouth opened, I was given the opportunity to relocate and draw up a new department in the new office. It was an enjoyable challenge: moving city and making a new office run smoothly while liaising with the drawing offices in Hull, Germany and Finland to ensure all projects were completed on time and to standard.
After 1 year in Portsmouth, I moved back to Hull and put a pause on working full-time in the industry. With a marriage and a new baby pending, I wanted to spend more time at home so I began work as a freelance Engineer & CAD draughtsman. During this time I was also supporting a local charity, installing health monitors (Telehealth) that gave patients the flexibility to leave the hospital. This turned into a full-time job, where I ran teams of engineers, across numerous sites including three of the biggest telehealth sites in Europe. I found my way back into the yachting industry full-time in 2017 and joined SMART 12 months later. As of 2023, it is my 18th year of working with Steve and I’m looking forward to many more to come.
In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors with my wife and two young children. We love being in nature, be it, camping, walking or mountain biking. Sports and music are two staples of my life: I love watching live music and I support the greatest football team in the world, Hull City!
My partner and I travel extensively. We’ve spent weeks on road trips around the Scottish Highlands and island hopping in Greece, yet some of my fondest memories are in Punjab, where I stayed on my grandparents’ farm and visited amazing places like the Golden Temple.
I’m a big Manchester United fan. When I’m not travelling you can often find me at Old Trafford enjoying the exhilarating ups and downs of matchday. Since childhood, I have always been interested in learning about the universe. In more recent years, I eagerly waited for images and data from the Event Horizon Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope to be released.
One of my biggest achievements was my first class masters degree in chemical engineering, and being amongst the top scorers in my course. Through my research and work in renewables energies, I won awards from INEOS.
My biggest challenge was changing careers from renewable energy to technology. A decision I do not regret in the slightest, as it has allowed me to be involved in some amazing projects, delivering cutting edge technology. Whilst there was a lot of learning involved to make the change, my background in engineering allowed me to transition as I always questioned why things work, and more importantly, why things don’t work. I particularly had an interest in marine navigation due to the intricacies involved in getting a vessel safely to its destination whilst abiding by regulations. I haven’t had the pleasure of being a Captain on a vessel to make the journey yet, but part of my training involved going to a simulation centre where I was able to beat Steve in a race as we both operated cargo ships!
Whilst I have done a lot of charity work over the years, one of the most challenging things I did was crossing the Humber Bridge, on my hands and feet in a bear crawl, in the dead of winter! It was extremely difficult, but I was able to raise money for a local charity so it was worth it. I also donate to my local Gurdwara to help with food supplies for the local community.