Meet the Team

SVGC Consulting Directors:

Dr Andrew Nixon
Dr Andrew Dixon

Focussed on continuously transforming the business to respond to the market, driving and delivering great outcomes to our clients, benefit to employees, value to shareholders and opportunities to partners and associates. 

Passionate about working collaboratively between small businesses, small with large and collaborative technology pull-through from academia into delivery.

Managing Director

Q

Dr Andrew Dixon

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know Dr Andrew Dixon, our Managing Director, who is passionate about working collaboratively between small and large businesses and utilising technology pull-through from academia into delivery. Our “national platform” includes Andrew’s roles chairing the Small Business Forum for the Institute for Collaborative Working and vice-chair of the TechUK Defence & Security SME forum. Andrew is also an external examiner for the Cranfield University Battlespace Technology course.

Andrew’s focus is on continuously transforming the business to respond to the market, driving and delivering great outcomes for our clients, partners and associates.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

My day always starts with a few cups of tea and breakfast is definitely my most important meal of the day. Before the day gets going, I usually catch up with the latest events with Starship development in Boca Chica, Texas via the YouTube daily update. It's amazing to watch the evolution of the largest launch vehicle and orbital rocket ever made … and Elon Musk’s approach to keeping it simple; learn by doing is something I really relate to.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

That’s a tough one. I’m fortunate to have had a few. Helping to fundamentally shift the land platforms market through some policy changes whilst working in the MOD to create a more level playing field; delivering market engagement to improve procurement success through Niteworks across a range of projects; management of chunks of Skynet – future military satellite programmes both 20 years ago and now; working on the Nuclear Deterrent; and working with the Institute for Collaborative Working to promote small business collaborative engagements.

But I think my proudest work achievement is happening now with FCDO Services at Hanslope Park, where we are working in an innovation collaboration to enable the transfer of large volumes of digital public records to the National Archives – supporting democracy through transparency. Amazing!

What do you love most about what you do?

People have said to me in the past, that as a small consultancy we surely can’t make much difference. That couldn’t be more wrong. I love that we help the public sector to make the best decisions with the limited funds that it has available. They get better capability, and achieve more because of our intervention and support. The public sector making better decisions, more effectively and more efficiently leads to lives saved, taxpayer money protected and better services to the public. It’s a huge privilege to be providing the service that makes such a difference.

What does your typical working day look like?

Blimey. They can be long days. Running a small business like SVGC can be challenging, with many balls to juggle and such rapid turnaround on bids and proposals. I am fortunate to have an amazing team around me who make it happen.

I still deliver some of the fee-paying work myself, which is important to me to stay in touch with the ground truth of delivery, and maintain close working relationships with key clients.

My working days usually start quite early with a mixture of company business, client work, lots and lots of calls. We talk a lot with partner companies and clients to ensure we keep in touch with both delivery and opportunities.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Change the subject and do something else for a while. If that doesn’t work, and it's late, I will often go to sleep and somehow have the answer in the morning. The odd round of golf helps too. I’m also a keen sailor and time-permitting, it's surprising how problems seem to get resolved when you’re sailing past the Needles!

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell

Julia has 20 years of experience of commercial and managerial roles across the defence and security sector. Her role within SVGC is wide ranging involving: contract management; personnel development; recruitment; insurance and financial governance. She has previously held senior commercial roles in both Thales and QinetiQ.

Head of Commercial

Q

Julia Campbell

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform.

Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know Julia, our Chief of Staff and Head of Commercial.

Julia has 20 years of experience of commercial and managerial roles across the defence and security sector including senior commercial roles in both Thales and QinetiQ. Her role within SVGC is wide ranging and here she describes more about her day-to-day with SVGC.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Earl Grey Tea. If there is no EG tea the day is doomed! I’ve recently started doing Wordle – which is now right up there with the Earl Grey. And, although I have yet to completely fail to get the daily Wordle, it’s a great example of a there always being a new learning experience just waiting for you!

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Being part of the development and evolution of the business is a real privilege, to share in the SVGC success story so far – especially as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. Within this, a common challenge for some evolving businesses can be the introduction of huge amounts of process – and we’ve managed to retain our efficient and pragmatic use of them, and not ‘process ourselves out of business’. It’s also really wonderful to see the current recruitment drive that reflects how hard the team have worked to deliver on current projects whilst also being named on a number of significant new frameworks in the last two years.

Oh, and of course, another source of pride is retaining my very serious job title of ‘Director of Fun’!

What do you love most about what you do?

That every day really is different – I’m not ‘just’ a project manager, or responsible for business development, there is so much that my role entails – as described below.

What does your typical working day look like?

My role is so large and varied that ‘typical’ isn’t the best word. I am one of the directors of the company and the commercial manager for the business; and, I also look after HR, training, recruitment and insurance. Sometimes I’ll be working on contract management and negotiation, another hour and I’ll be considering personnel development and recruitment, and then perhaps grappling with some insurance issue or dealing with financial governance.

In a nutshell, I ensure all the bills are paid, the staff are happy, our customers are delighted and the chickens are fed.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

I go and make tea (can you see a theme here?!) If it is really bad, I might go for a little shuffle - my code for going for a run - around the village that I live in, as that can help enormously.

Chris Parry
Chris Parry

Non-Executive Director

SVGC Associates Directors:

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell

Julia has 20 years of experience of commercial and managerial roles across the defence and security sector. Her role within SVGC is wide ranging involving: contract management; personnel development; recruitment; insurance and financial governance. She has previously held senior commercial roles in both Thales and QinetiQ.

Head of Commercial

Q

Julia Campbell

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform.

Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know Julia, our Chief of Staff and Head of Commercial.

Julia has 20 years of experience of commercial and managerial roles across the defence and security sector including senior commercial roles in both Thales and QinetiQ. Her role within SVGC is wide ranging and here she describes more about her day-to-day with SVGC.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Earl Grey Tea. If there is no EG tea the day is doomed! I’ve recently started doing Wordle – which is now right up there with the Earl Grey. And, although I have yet to completely fail to get the daily Wordle, it’s a great example of a there always being a new learning experience just waiting for you!

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Being part of the development and evolution of the business is a real privilege, to share in the SVGC success story so far – especially as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. Within this, a common challenge for some evolving businesses can be the introduction of huge amounts of process – and we’ve managed to retain our efficient and pragmatic use of them, and not ‘process ourselves out of business’. It’s also really wonderful to see the current recruitment drive that reflects how hard the team have worked to deliver on current projects whilst also being named on a number of significant new frameworks in the last two years.

Oh, and of course, another source of pride is retaining my very serious job title of ‘Director of Fun’!

What do you love most about what you do?

That every day really is different – I’m not ‘just’ a project manager, or responsible for business development, there is so much that my role entails – as described below.

What does your typical working day look like?

My role is so large and varied that ‘typical’ isn’t the best word. I am one of the directors of the company and the commercial manager for the business; and, I also look after HR, training, recruitment and insurance. Sometimes I’ll be working on contract management and negotiation, another hour and I’ll be considering personnel development and recruitment, and then perhaps grappling with some insurance issue or dealing with financial governance.

In a nutshell, I ensure all the bills are paid, the staff are happy, our customers are delighted and the chickens are fed.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

I go and make tea (can you see a theme here?!) If it is really bad, I might go for a little shuffle - my code for going for a run - around the village that I live in, as that can help enormously.

Victoria Hatwell
Victoria Hatwell

Systems Engineering. Victoria is experienced in working across the Defence industry focusing predominantly on through-life Requirements and Capability Management & acceptance. Victoria is actively involved in academic outreach programmes, building approachable, unique and innovative working relationships between industry and education.

Senior Consultant, Systems Engineering

Q

Victoria Hatwell

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform.

Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know Victoria, who is a Senior Consultant in Systems Engineering and also one of our Directors of SVGC Associates.

Victoria is experienced in working across the Defence industry focusing predominantly on through-life Requirements and Capability Management & acceptance. Victoria is actively involved in academic outreach programmes; building approachable, unique and innovative working relationships between industry and education.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

I always walk my twelve-year old dog, Crumble – we used to run together when he was younger, but now we both just wander! After the dog walk, with a flask of tea, I’m ready to get down to work.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Getting to this point in my career and knowing that I contribute on a level that makes a real difference to the customers is very satisfying, but what I think I’m most proud of is the STEM work. I spend half a day a month working with schools as part of STEM outreach - encouraging children to learn about science through getting their hands dirty – literally! – making a mess and learning more about the subjects through doing fun activities. I’m really proud of this contribution, in giving back to education and I think I get more of it than any of the students do!

Also, I think that there can be a tendency to constantly focus on what we didn’t tick off the list each day, but sometimes, what we can be most proud of in a day is perhaps something that seems small – like just getting through a day of back to back meetings. I always feel better helping others to get up to speed (for example, helping a new starter). There is so much variation in the work that we do, working on different programmes, and often, someone new may just need a couple of hours to get up to speed and then we can both get on with the project work.

What do you love most about what you do?

I get to work with and speak to some incredible people – particularly our military based clients – they have amazing stories. When working with them, I feel that we’re forced to come out of the bubble where we sit writing the requirements - and into the world in which these are used, and appreciate the vital work that so many of them do.

The people that I get to work with and the level at which they operate really helps put the importance of the work we do into perspective and reminds me why what we do matters. And I love knowing that I can help these people keep doing these essential jobs.

What does your typical working day look like?

It’s that old – but true – cliché, that every day is different, and that’s especially true as I work on different programmes. In my two roles as a Systems Engineer and Director of SVGC Associates this allows me to develop a better understanding of the business side, and then in the following hour I can be digging down into the technical elements of Capability Management. I love this variety and feel as if my mind is happily buzzing on most days.

When you hit a wall, what do you do to help overcome it?

If I’ve just written some notes and I’m trying to take them in, I rewrite my notes in a fun coloured pen. Colour helps me organise my brain a little bit – because my brain reads it differently when it’s in a different colour (bright green or pink as my brain thinks it's fun stuff to do!) – I’d really recommend this trick if you get stuck!

If that doesn’t work, and I don’t have meetings, then I go for a walk with Crumble (the dog!) and if I’m still stuck, I’m lucky to have friendly colleagues that I can ring to get another perspective.

SVGC Digital Directors:

Dr Andrew Nixon
Dr Andrew Dixon

Focussed on continuously transforming the business to respond to the market, driving and delivering great outcomes to our clients, benefit to employees, value to shareholders and opportunities to partners and associates. 

Passionate about working collaboratively between small businesses, small with large and collaborative technology pull-through from academia into delivery.

Managing Director

Q

Dr Andrew Dixon

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know Dr Andrew Dixon, our Managing Director, who is passionate about working collaboratively between small and large businesses and utilising technology pull-through from academia into delivery. Our “national platform” includes Andrew’s roles chairing the Small Business Forum for the Institute for Collaborative Working and vice-chair of the TechUK Defence & Security SME forum. Andrew is also an external examiner for the Cranfield University Battlespace Technology course.

Andrew’s focus is on continuously transforming the business to respond to the market, driving and delivering great outcomes for our clients, partners and associates.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

My day always starts with a few cups of tea and breakfast is definitely my most important meal of the day. Before the day gets going, I usually catch up with the latest events with Starship development in Boca Chica, Texas via the YouTube daily update. It's amazing to watch the evolution of the largest launch vehicle and orbital rocket ever made … and Elon Musk’s approach to keeping it simple; learn by doing is something I really relate to.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

That’s a tough one. I’m fortunate to have had a few. Helping to fundamentally shift the land platforms market through some policy changes whilst working in the MOD to create a more level playing field; delivering market engagement to improve procurement success through Niteworks across a range of projects; management of chunks of Skynet – future military satellite programmes both 20 years ago and now; working on the Nuclear Deterrent; and working with the Institute for Collaborative Working to promote small business collaborative engagements.

But I think my proudest work achievement is happening now with FCDO Services at Hanslope Park, where we are working in an innovation collaboration to enable the transfer of large volumes of digital public records to the National Archives – supporting democracy through transparency. Amazing!

What do you love most about what you do?

People have said to me in the past, that as a small consultancy we surely can’t make much difference. That couldn’t be more wrong. I love that we help the public sector to make the best decisions with the limited funds that it has available. They get better capability, and achieve more because of our intervention and support. The public sector making better decisions, more effectively and more efficiently leads to lives saved, taxpayer money protected and better services to the public. It’s a huge privilege to be providing the service that makes such a difference.

What does your typical working day look like?

Blimey. They can be long days. Running a small business like SVGC can be challenging, with many balls to juggle and such rapid turnaround on bids and proposals. I am fortunate to have an amazing team around me who make it happen.

I still deliver some of the fee-paying work myself, which is important to me to stay in touch with the ground truth of delivery, and maintain close working relationships with key clients.

My working days usually start quite early with a mixture of company business, client work, lots and lots of calls. We talk a lot with partner companies and clients to ensure we keep in touch with both delivery and opportunities.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Change the subject and do something else for a while. If that doesn’t work, and it's late, I will often go to sleep and somehow have the answer in the morning. The odd round of golf helps too. I’m also a keen sailor and time-permitting, it's surprising how problems seem to get resolved when you’re sailing past the Needles!

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell

Julia has 20 years of experience of commercial and managerial roles across the defence and security sector. Her role within SVGC is wide ranging involving: contract management; personnel development; recruitment; insurance and financial governance. She has previously held senior commercial roles in both Thales and QinetiQ.

Head of Commercial

Q

Julia Campbell

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform.

Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know Julia, our Chief of Staff and Head of Commercial.

Julia has 20 years of experience of commercial and managerial roles across the defence and security sector including senior commercial roles in both Thales and QinetiQ. Her role within SVGC is wide ranging and here she describes more about her day-to-day with SVGC.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Earl Grey Tea. If there is no EG tea the day is doomed! I’ve recently started doing Wordle – which is now right up there with the Earl Grey. And, although I have yet to completely fail to get the daily Wordle, it’s a great example of a there always being a new learning experience just waiting for you!

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Being part of the development and evolution of the business is a real privilege, to share in the SVGC success story so far – especially as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. Within this, a common challenge for some evolving businesses can be the introduction of huge amounts of process – and we’ve managed to retain our efficient and pragmatic use of them, and not ‘process ourselves out of business’. It’s also really wonderful to see the current recruitment drive that reflects how hard the team have worked to deliver on current projects whilst also being named on a number of significant new frameworks in the last two years.

Oh, and of course, another source of pride is retaining my very serious job title of ‘Director of Fun’!

What do you love most about what you do?

That every day really is different – I’m not ‘just’ a project manager, or responsible for business development, there is so much that my role entails – as described below.

What does your typical working day look like?

My role is so large and varied that ‘typical’ isn’t the best word. I am one of the directors of the company and the commercial manager for the business; and, I also look after HR, training, recruitment and insurance. Sometimes I’ll be working on contract management and negotiation, another hour and I’ll be considering personnel development and recruitment, and then perhaps grappling with some insurance issue or dealing with financial governance.

In a nutshell, I ensure all the bills are paid, the staff are happy, our customers are delighted and the chickens are fed.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

I go and make tea (can you see a theme here?!) If it is really bad, I might go for a little shuffle - my code for going for a run - around the village that I live in, as that can help enormously.

Tony Klein
Tony Klein

Tony’s career has covered many aspects of delivering solutions and consulting services into defence, security and intelligence. His highlights include establishing Quintec which became a leading supplier of systems engineering and integration skills to MoD and leading defence contractors. After its acquisition, he was appointed VP for Consulting and Engineering within Thales. He lead Detica (BAeSystems Digital Intelligence) defence business and expanded its propositions into Defence Intelligence, CIO and Special Forces communities. He has also worked in leadership roles in QinetiQ and Olive Group in Dubai; and has a PhD from Bristol; an MBA from London Business School; is a Chartered Engineer; a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Chair of Trustees at Rodborough Academy Trust.

Non-Executive Director

Q

Tony Klein

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know Tony Klein, our SVGC Digital Non-Executive Director. Tony’s career has covered many aspects of delivering solutions and consulting services into defence, security and intelligence. After a short spell developing simulation software, he established Quintec which became a leading supplier of systems engineering and integration skills to MoD and leading defence contractors. After its acquisition, he was appointed VP for Consulting and Engineering within Thales. In 2006, he joined Detica (now BAeSystems Digital Intelligence) to lead its defence business and expanded its propositions into Defence Intelligence, CIO and Special Forces communities. A spell leading QinetiQ’s technology solutions BD and sales preceded a move to lead the solutions delivery business of the Olive Group in Dubai where he oversaw the delivery of major safety and security solutions to protect critical national and industrial infrastructures for clients across EMEA. Tony has a PhD from Bristol and MBA from London Business School, is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Chair of Trustees at Rodborough Academy Trust.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Coffee and completing the Times crosswords!

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

With my wife, Sally creating two wonderful children (now adults) who are achieving things way beyond whatever I could dream of doing.

What do you love most about what you do?

Variety, and working with amazing people in delivering effective, robust solutions to demanding customers.

What does your typical working day look like?

Oh boy, how about: fixing some fencing that has blown down after a storm; chain sawing a tree that’s fallen down over the lane; meeting with the Headteacher of the school where I am Chair of Governors to allow him to test ideas (which he already knows the answers to) and being a sounding board for him; leading a project assurance review of a major government project on behalf of the Cabinet Office; having a chat with Julia Campbell or colleague at ISS Aerospace; taking a walk on the South Downs; planning a long walk to follow in the footsteps of my Father.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Step back; write an email - but don’t send it for 24 hours; phone a friend!

Core Team:

Paul Stanley
Paul Stanley

Paul is involved in most of SVGC’s activities from business development to drafting bids, delivering tasks and ensuring that SVGC complies with the requirements of its ISO certifications.

Head of Analysis and Quality

Q

Paul Stanley

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know our Head of Analysis and Quality, Paul Stanley. Paul is involved in most of SVGC’s activities from business development to drafting bids, delivering tasks and ensuring that SVGC complies with the requirements of its ISO certifications.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

A coffee, a bowl of cereal and the World Service on the radio. I keep it simple, but it seems to work.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Too many to choose from but, in principle, helping customers more accurately define what they need and then delivering it is foremost.

What do you love most about what you do?

The variety of work. Nothing we do at SVGC is ever the same, our customers' needs and requirements are so diverse it’s always changing. Being able to contribute at all stages from prospect to delivery is very satisfying.

What does your typical working day look like?

Mondays is largely admin and research (for prospects, projects or changes which would benefit SVGC) with the remainder of the week on client sites or ensuring compliance with our quality standards (9001, 2700 and 44001).

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Stare out of the window and think of other things or get out in the fresh air. The solution will usually sneak up on me when least expected!

Paige Bunker
Paige Bunker

As our Data Scientist, Paige is passionate about data science and how powerfully it can be used to solved intricate problems. She also has a real love for coding; “I could create new scripts and debug them all day!”

Data Scientist

Q

Paige Bunker

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform.

Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know our newest recruit Paige Bunker, Junior Data Scientist.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Definitely a cup of tea and something toasted with marmite & butter. I also like to read the news & twitter to wake myself up and catch up with the world.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

A data science algorithm I built for my previous employer was officially published internally. The algorithm was used to determine representative customer use types for more realistic product analytics and testing. It had a big impact and was used for multiple programmes, saving millions of $ in testing.

I also presented at the SWE Europe International Conference. This required me to really push myself out of my comfort zone and present to a large audience from multiple companies.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love seeing the effect data science has on real world problems and how powerful and useful it can be in so many applications.

I also found a love for coding over the last few years, I could create new scripts and debug them all day. The combination of continually learning new functions & libraries and trying to make them work with the data science algorithms and analysis is a great challenge.

Overall I love problem solving, data science provides the method but coding is also part of creating the solution.

What does your typical working day look like?

I start the day by going through any unread emails, then I’ll either go straight into picking up a critical task I was working on the previous day or I’ll check my ‘to do’ list. I generally like to pick tasks depending on how many continuous hours of free time I have (without meetings/calls) as once I get stuck into a more complicated task I like to keep focus on it until I complete it or reach a good stopping point.

When you hit a wall, what do you do to help overcome it?

It always depends on the type of problem. If it’s a code that I can’t debug, sometimes it’s best to leave it and come back with fresh eyes the next day. When it’s a problem that is project direction specific I’ll always reach out to others for their thoughts. Sometimes the issue can be solved through research, so I’ll spend some time scouring the internet for alternative options and people with similar problems to my own.

Richard Bryson
Richard Bryson

As Head of New Business, Richard enjoys the challenge of key account planning and business development. Richard believes that winning bids and delivering value – alone and in partnership –  is all the better when you’ve shaped the opportunity from the outset.

Head of New Business

Q

Richard Bryson

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know our Head of New Business, Richard Bryson. As Head of New Business, Richard enjoys the challenge of key account planning and business development. Richard believes that winning bids and delivering value – alone and in partnership – is all the better when you’ve shaped the opportunity from the outset.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Nothing beats a strong black coffee for me.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

I’m proud of lots of things as a company, but more personally, the push to get onto TS3 and subsequent success with our first bid (FCDO Seamless Journey Delivery Partner) are achievements that contribute for all of us.

What do you love most about what you do?

I like to feel that we’re having an impact for our customers and, through them, on programmes that are important for the safety of our country as a whole. There’s a real sense of achievement in the work we do at SVGC and it makes me very proud.

What does your typical working day look like?

I like to use Mondays as admin, catch ups and opportunity qualifications. Tuesday – Thursday is typically in AWE. Friday is more new business focus (qualifications and bids), webinars and admin.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

I can do a quick watercolour at my desk, or do a few minutes of research for my book on the 5 battles of Ypres. I’m between dogs at present, otherwise a walk is always a good option

Ian McLellan
Ian McLellan

With over 23 years of experience in software development, Ian brings with him a breadth of knowledge in architecting and implementing proprietary software products and solutions. As well as experience in Java and Spring Boot, cloud platforms and the latest Open Source technologies.

Full Stack Software Engineer

Q

Ian McLellan

Stack Software Engineer

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

I like to keep it pretty simple. Coffee from a De’Longhi coffee machine, view of the Thames from my kitchen window.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Proudest, I’m not sure. It’s always a great feeling when you know your work has made a difference. I was gratified that when I left my last role, and the team members were very appreciative of the help and guidance I’d given them over the years.

What do you love most about what you do?

Learning new things and finding elegant solutions to difficult problems. Things develop so fast in the tech industry that there is always something new to learn, it keeps the brain active.

What does your typical working day look like?

Pre-pandemic, I don’t think there was a typical working day. Now, there’s a lot more structure. I’m a firm believer that you should start every day with a problem that you want to solve, or a task that you want to finish, and make that your goal for the day.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Go for a run along the Thames, Taplow to Cookham and back. Idyllic, with Cliveden on the other bank.

Duncan Harrison
Duncan Harrison

Business & Security Manager for SVGC looking after the day-to-day running of the business. With a breadth and depth of knowledge across all aspects of his role – including some financial aspects – utilising his skills from his 25 years in the Army, prior to joining SVGC in October 2012.

Business Manager

Q

Duncan Harrison

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know our Business & Security Manager, Duncan Harrison. Duncan is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the business. With a breadth and depth of knowledge across all aspects of his role – including some financial aspects – utilising his skills from his 25 years in the Army, prior to joining SVGC in October 2012.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Being ex-Army, I always rise early and my first job on the list is breakfast, this enables me to start work raring to go with my flask of orange squash, which I seem to live on and of course listening to Greatest Hits 70/80/90s radio (80s music is the best let's face it).

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

There are so many to choose from and it is a hard one to call, but I guess I can give you a top 5 and please note your work/job helps you put food on the table and puts a roof over your head, but there is no point having that if you don’t have your family with you to share that, so here goes:

  • Wedding day to my wife Maureen of 31 years.
  • Birth of my 2 boys Chris and Andy, both doing well in life.
  • Being promoted to Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) in the Army of which only 4% of those that join make it to WO1.
  • Joining SVGC in 2012 after leaving the Army of 25 years and being part of the SVGC team in its 25th birthday year.
  • Remembering which hat to wear when I get up, read on to the next question?

What do you love most about what you do?

A phrase I brought from my Army days is “Jack of All Trades and Master of None” and it speaks volumes for my role within SVGC as the Business & Security Manager. I wear so many hats, doing so many different jobs. Variety is the Spice of Life - The idea behind this expression is that life would be boring if everything were the same all the time.

What does your typical working day look like?

Lots of work from the time I log on till the time I shut down for the day, remembering to have the correct work/home life balance is key to good happiness. As Edgar Bergen said “Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” only kidding another saying from my Army days “Work Hard, Play Hard”.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Depending on the scenario, throw the teddy in the corner, count to ten and remember to breathe. No seriously, evaluate what the problem/issue is, work out what the problem is remembering there is no “I” in “Team” so don’t fester and share the hurdle with the team to work out, how to get over it, if that doesn’t work, grab the teddy and start again.

Ian Stephenson
Ian Stephenson

Ian is a highly experienced software and solutions architect with over 20 years working in the defence industry He has a diverse set of skills and experience taken from commercial product development and military research. Ian is leading our technical approach to developing and delivering digital transformation solutions.

CTO and Software and Solution Architect

Kate Miller
Kate Miller

Kate has over 15 years’ experience in project control; including project life cycle, commercial and financial aspects of the project. Kate joined SVGC from Thales where she held the post of Project Controller mainly focusing on internal business within the Thales group. Kate is enjoying the new challenge of working for an independent company again and looking forward to getting stuck in; especially as SVCG is approaching its 25th Anniversary.

Deputy Business Manager

Q

Kate Miller

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know Kate Miller, our new Deputy Business Manager who has over 15 years’ experience in project control; including project life cycle, commercial and financial aspects of the project. Kate joined SVGC from Thales where she held the post of Project Controller mainly focusing on internal business within the Thales group. Kate is enjoying the new challenge of working for an independent company again and looking forward to getting stuck in; especially as SVGC is approaching its 25th Anniversary.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day? (tea, coffee, your dog, background music, podcast, favourite pen/notebook etc etc)

The ideal must have is a good night’s sleep! Usually, I try to start the day with a run if I can, and as I’m an early bird, I like to start work early. If I’m not in the office I enjoy the background radio or a podcast during the day and my favourite is the Sound of the 90’s, with Fearne Cotton, which is great for feeling nostalgic.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

In a previous role being involved with the streamlining of the invoicing system was a huge win, because it made such a big difference to the team in time-saving and accuracy. Previously it was a manual process which took at least two weeks and also had a higher chance of error. We procured a new fit-for-purpose system; carried out the user acceptance testing; introduced it into the business and bedded it in – and it reduced the processing time to half a day. I was definitely proud to be a part of that.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love getting stuff done, and also ensuring that everything is correct. It’s good to help things run smoothly and know that I’m making a difference in the background. And I like being busy, which is perfect for a business manager!

What does your typical working day look like?

There is such a lot of variety in this role, and, whilst I am new to SVGC and can’t predict a typical day as yet, I’m sure that it will include plenty of variety from the monthly invoicing to assisting with the frameworks and other essential commercial support.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Definitely getting out in the fresh air for a walk helps me to put it to one side come back to it the next day. Or, (like many of us I expect), I make a cup of tea. Most things look more manageable after a cup of tea!

Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan

Mark is the ringmaster to achieve assured delivery based on sound and efficient use of P3M. He is motivated by helping to make complex transformations achievable. 

Head of Delivery

Q

Mark Milligan

Head of Delivery

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know our Head of Delivery, Mark Milligan.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

After making tea for Lou and I, and letting out the dogs, it is time to check the horses and muck them out. The summer months are a breeze when the horses are turned out.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Leading an outstanding team of civil servants, military, and contractors in DE&S where they sustained the operational capability of 20 equipment fleets in Iraq and Afghanistan, while accelerating acquisition with UORs and achieving main gate approval for the Army’s major programmes (AJAX and WCSP).

What do you love most about what you do?

Working with great colleagues to make difficult things happen, such as developing the Digital Sensitivity Review process with FCDO Services or refining ways to accelerate defence acquisition.

What does your typical working day look like?

Switching between 3 different laptops for different departments and the company, whether at a customer’s site or working from home. I chat with each of the teams, supporting them in delivering their outputs, and working to remove obstacles and misunderstandings.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

After looking at all aspects, I will sleep on it to let my subconscious try to work it out. That often gives me a different insight and helps me work out an approach that might work.
Simon Walker
Simon Walker
Simon is greatly experienced in digital programme management and consulting across systems and software engineering, with over 30 years of experience working across digital security, mobile and e-commerce technology in both private and public sectors.

Technology Programme Manager

Q

Simon Walker

SVGC Staff Profiles

Simon is greatly experienced in digital programme management and consulting across systems and software engineering, with over 30 years of experience working across digital security, mobile and e-commerce technology in both private and public sectors. Beginning his career at BAe Systems writing software for aircraft, Simon has since worked for both large and small companies including Fujitsu, Thales and Quintec as well as leading major projects and programmes for the MoD and Transport for London.

Simon has a formal background in IT software and hardware systems and has also been the Technical Director of an Innovation Centre; a successful Bid Programme Manager; and is a highly accomplished technical programme team leader and strategy lead with experience in delivering business transformation through change management.

It goes without saying that we are thrilled to have Simon join the SVGC team. Welcome, Simon!

Get to know him better here:

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

I like to start my day the way I suspect many do – a cup of strong English Breakfast tea, and a run with the dog – she’s a black Labrador called India. Then, I’m mostly all set.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

I feel fortunate to say that it’s hard to choose - I’ve worked on such a variety of exciting and innovative projects in the last 30 years: from writing software for the RAF’s Tornado jets and delivering their first Link 16 training package, to running a Technology Innovation Centre, managing a strategic paper project for the Army Board, to project managing the design and build of rugged computers to be used in harsh conditions – which are the places computers do not like to go!

But, if I have to choose the one that makes me smile the most, it would be when I ran a portfolio of Oyster card projects for my client, Transport for London. Being responsible for successfully putting the Oyster system onto the ‘Boris Buses’ (the new Routemaster bus) is my small claim to fame!

I’m also incredibly proud to have served as an Army Reservist in the Royal Signals for over 25 years. Right from being a cadet at university, to have taken command of both a reserve squadron and a regiment in my ‘spare time’. The rewards over the years have been immeasurable.

What do you love most about what you do?

I absolutely love running projects and programmes because I enjoy delivering something that works and see it in service. It is very satisfying to be able to see the tangible results, especially when – for example, on projects like Oyster card - so much is involved in making a project like that a success, there are so many moving parts and different aspects that all need to come together, and so many people benefit from the outcome. It is immensely rewarding to see the result.

What does your typical working day look like?

I’m really excited to be working for SVGC as it combines so much of what I have enjoyed throughout my career to date and when I’ve been happiest at work. Having variety in the role is important for me in a typical day: managing and monitoring a variety of technical projects from proposal through delivery and into service – which combines being client facing as well as liaising with many stakeholders, internal colleagues, contractors and suppliers. Supporting the business development and even delivering training, workshops and so forth. With less of the technical hands-on delivery that I once did perhaps, but still understanding the technology and coordinating and managing the experts who are undertaking that delivery.

When you hit a wall, what do you do to help overcome it?

Yes; and as we like to say in the Army – ‘no plan survives the first contact’. Not even the best laid plans work out perfectly. So, it’s fair to say that usually I go out for a run and a think – often with the dog. Although, as a rider of both motorbikes and horses (not at the same time!), those hobbies also can provide a different diversion that helps solutions mentally materialise. Something else I enjoy for getting out of ‘work-mode’ is drumming – for a start, it’s a legitimate way of making a lot of noise and releasing stress! It also suits my personality of the guy at the back driving the team forward; the drummer sets the tempo for the band and that suits me well.

Mark Tamba
Mark Tamba

As our Junior Business Consultant, Mark is passionate about finding new and improved ways of working that helps both our customers and team meet specific business targets and goals. Mark has over 6 years’ experience of being involved in the day to day running of a SME as well involved at a strategic level and working within the public and private sector to help companies improve business processes.

Junior Business Consultant

Q

Mark Tamba

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Since becoming a new dad my routines have changed. But, my ideal way to start the day is to wake up around 5/6am and get in a good workout, usually involving some cardio and weight training, followed by a good breakfast.

I find starting the day like this sets me up well for work, with a clear head and makes me more productive. If I can start the day off challenging my body, I feel I’ve got the first win of the day and ready to take on any task ahead.

Obviously, the little one now dictates how the morning starts, sometimes it’s a slow start to catch up on elusive sleep and that’s ok too.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

When I finished uni I went straight into working for a start up care agency. As the company was small I was able to put the knowledge I learned from my Business Information and Technology degree into practice straight away.

The startup was very successful and grew in an area that helped people within the community, which makes me really proud. It was great to be able to see the end product of my work right away, providing nurses and career assistants to care homes. This is something that I also feel proud of with my work at SVGC, the work we do helps important public sector funded industries.

What do you love most about what you do?

The variety of the work and the opportunity for growth. In just 6 months of working for SVGC I’ve learnt so much. We have a brilliant team of experts who have worked within the industry for years which means I get to work closely with, and learn from, hugely knowledgeable people. It's very inspiring.

I’ve developed so many new skills and learnt about new technologies which has enabled me to gain a great understanding of different processes from beginning to end.

What does your typical working day look like?

I try to always set aside 30 minutes of ‘prep time’ at the very beginning of each working day. This enables me to plan priorities, schedule meetings and attend to anything urgent that has come in overnight. From there I’ll go straight into the most pressing task as I’m at my best in the mornings, so dedicate this time to work that requires the most brain power.

My days generally consist of a lot of communication between clients and project teams, so inevitably I’m often in a meeting, especially when a project is close to the go live stage.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Leave it and move on. I find that if something isn’t working, or is particularly challenging it’s always best to take a breather and revisit it the next day with fresh eyes. I’m at my best in the morning so I’lll often use the mornings to revisit tasks that got stuck the day before. Talking to colleagues also helps too, because someone might just have the perspective you need to solve a problem.

Anthony Wynne
Anthony Wynne

Great at taking data science projects from concept to production, Anthony loves a challenge, getting in the deep end and innovating under pressure to build new products and systems that generate value and ROI.

Senior Data Scientist

Q

Anthony Wynne

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Coffee, bacon, and eggs. Either walking the dog or reading some technical books/ papers before work in the morning.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

My Patents that made it into production, it’s wonderful to see an idea come to life. My contributions to scientific publications and knowledge. Commercial systems that I have built, I recently found out that the last automated Business Intelligence/ Machine Learning system I helped create was named ANT after I left, which makes me smile to think of them still working with ANT and maybe blaming ANT when things are not working!

On a personal level, persisting for many years to overcome a career gap and gain funding to return to a STEM career after a period of childcare and running small businesses. It took many years of persistence to get the funding, I was lucky enough to discover the Daphne Jackson Trust and I met some incredible scientific mentors.

What do you love most about what you do?

Creating new systems, or making discoveries. Many of my previous inventions came from observing anomalies in the data and pursuing them, so I enjoy coming across these edge cases and asking why? I enjoy the process of turning ideas into new products or systems. Participating in the evolution of technology and working in high-performance teams.

What does your typical working day look like?

Right now, due to the stage of my main project, there are often back-to-back meetings. I enjoy leading a team to build something new. But, I look forward to getting back into blocks of focused coding that will distil into a new system or product. I enjoy in-person events and conferences and I am looking forward to more of these in the future. I normally do some work on my own data science projects from around 10 pm to Midnight which are my most productive/ creative hours when the house is quiet and there are no interruptions. I would happily work until the early hours if I didn’t have to go to work the next day.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Go for a walk and remember the advice from a good book I read several years ago called ‘The obstacle is the way’. The book points out that most obstacles are in fact opportunities for a discovery that most other people have been avoiding.

Mahin Ali
Mahin Ali

As an applied maths graduate, Mahin enjoys translating real world problems into mathematics, statistics and machine learning problems. He also loves how data science can help businesses to better understand their needs and steer the direction of better decision making.

 

Applied Data Scientist

Q

Mahin Ali

Applied Data Scientist

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating
on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector
decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know our Data Scientist, Mahin Ali.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Nothing gets me in the right mindset to start the day like a 10-minute meditation session followed by a bowl of oats with peanut butter, a kiwi and a cup of coffee! I also have a work/focus playlist on Spotify that I use to help me build momentum for productivity in the morning.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

A couple months after university I was hired by a large waste management company, as their first data scientist as somewhat of a “data science guinea pig”. I pitched a predictive modelling solution to my boss and the CTO which was approved and made into a top objective regarding digital transformation for the business. It took hours of research and I developed a war chest of proof-of-concept machine learning models. I like to think that whilst they have changed how I think about waste and sustainability, I have changed how they think about data.

What do you love most about what you do?

The thing that draws me to data science is the complexity behind developing predictive modelling solutions.

The technical side appeals to me primarily since I am an applied mathematics graduate and I enjoy translating real world problems into mathematics, statistics and machine learning problems. As for the non-technical side, I enjoy the challenge that comes with communicating with a less-technical audience to better understand business needs and letting it steer the direction of my predictive modelling, piecing together the final solution over time.

What does your typical working day look like?

What I like about being a data scientist is that my day can vary depending on where I am with a project. I’ve found that some days I will be very social and find myself talking with stakeholders to figure out how I should approach a problem, whereas other days I will need to block out my schedule to hyperfocus on getting that technical work done.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

When it feels like my progress has been hampered, I see it as a sign to reframe my way of thinking and approach the task from a different angle.

For me this usually means taking a short walk followed by a journaling session regarding the work at hand and a common outcome of this is that I tend to define the task slightly differently after a break which opens up a new avenue for me to investigate and ultimately overcome any obstacles that are acting as a barrier to my productivity.

Navrose Singh
Navrose Singh

As a Junior Project Manager, Navrose is passionate about solving different challenges and getting things done! She is a recent Economics Graduate, pursuing a MSc in Project Management to gain fundamental knowledge of PM practices.

Junior Project Manager

Q

Navrose Singh

Junior Project Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform. Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies.

Get to know our Junior Project Manager, Navrose Singh.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

My day starts with coming downstairs to see my dog wagging his tail so fast that he might fly off! Then I make myself a coffee or traditional Indian tea called ‘Chaa’ with either a slice of toast or a few biscuits and then I am all set.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

As I am at the very beginning of my career, I would say there is a lot of learning and accomplishments that I can do along the way. For the present, my proudest moment would be to secure a graduate role before graduating. I have also started my MSc in Project Management while working and gaining valuable experience.

What do you love most about what you do?

Project management requires a lot of coordination between teams to ensure the projects move along as they should. I love being the ‘Captain of the Boat’ as it gives a feeling of satisfaction and achievement, especially when you see all the project planning come to life during the execution phase.

In addition, I love that my role requires skills and capabilities which are similar to my values and my personality allowing me to be my true self and helping clients achieve their goals and objectives through delivery of projects.

What does your typical working day look like?

So far, I have not experienced a typical day, every day is different with a challenge/reward and a new lesson to learn. It is very exciting to come to work and learn different things every day.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

I work with great people who support me and my learning, which is always motivating to overcome challenges and barriers. When I feel stuck, I seek help from my highly experienced colleagues who always help me to understand different perspectives on overcoming difficult situations.

Amy Collins
Amy Collins

Amy brings a breadth of experience from roles within varied industries including financial services, retail, marketing software and working at Microsoft. She’s passionate about delivering results that enable companies to focus on their core function rather than process.

Technical Project Manager

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Amy Collins

Technical Project Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

I’m a big tea drinker, so that’s a must. I’m lucky to start the day with a walk through a local park to drop the children off at school which really helps set my brain up for the day.

I also love a good bit of stationery, especially a really good pen and notepad to write my daily to do list. I’m currently very much enjoying square notebooks.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

I’ve had a wonderfully varied work history in industries including financial services, retail, marketing software, working at Microsoft so there have been many good moments but there are two in particular that stand out where we turned the project around from almost a point of no return to the client saying “we absolutely love this!” – that’s an amazing feeling.

A client quote which sums up what I love about project management was “This is going to change the way we work with our partners”. Often what we do is about helping make others’ lives easier. Also, as nerdy as it sounds, I’m quite proud of the spreadsheets that I’ve created that enable others to have their easiest working life!

What do you love most about what you do?

I find the best part is when you get towards project handover, when I see the end users realise that this is going to work, this project is going to make their working life better. After all the politics and difficulties during the project, smoothly sailing in the end phase is a very good feeling.

Knowing that I’m a cog in the machine that results in other companies being able to focus on their core function rather than process issues is wonderful.

What does your typical working day look like?

After the school run, I make a cup of tea, then identify my top priorities for the day, look at planned meetings and make sure I’m prepped for them. If it’s a good day, I will have started the top priority list the day before so I can start my day with a burst of momentum!

My husband also works from home, so we aim to make coffee mid-morning depending on our meeting schedules, when we’re both so busy it’s nice to actually see each other for five minutes.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Before I was a project manager I was a developer so I have the mindset of, if something isn’t working, how can you look at it a different way? The trick is the change gear in your brain. I love a bit of Wordfall Daily or Wordle for getting through the hurdle! I enjoy learning and sometimes I’ll dip into Duolingo – I’m trying to keep German up, as I had a year working as a java developer in Germany when I was at uni.

Another trusty trick is having a Rubix cube in my hand to change gear. If I’m trying to absorb info I will crochet at the same time as the repetitive movements really help me focus and embed the information into my brain – it’s all about hacking my mind!

I’m quite good at practicing calm when a quick change of gear is needed. In my spare time I work backstage for our local amdram society which is a lot of fun but does train you in dealing with disasters calmly and quickly!

Ian Ballentyne
Ian Ballantyne

As an experienced Technical Programme Manager Ian loves helping people discover their own answers. “It can take longer, but it sticks so much better. Everyone loves a plan, everyone likes to contribute, they often just need a forum in which to speak – and be genuinely listened to. Consequently, I love meeting the people that genuinely make things happen.”

Technical Programme Manager

Q

Ian Ballantyne

Technical Programme Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

At SVGC we’re proud to be a small business formed of experienced, highly qualified people operating on a national platform.

Our team collectively has vast knowledge of strategic planning, public sector decisions, innovative technologies, data science and agile working methodologies. Get to know one of our newest recruits, Ian Ballantyne, Technical Programme Manager.

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

I like to start the day with a dog walk and then a cup of tea. It starts the day for life I live, not just the work I choose to do. There’s not much chat from the dogs and is a chance to reflect before the day begins in earnest.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

Building a team at AIRBUS to deliver a major security system overseas. It was a diverse team of multinational engineers who came together to help UK MOD deliver on time in difficult circumstances. We made it fun because we worked on the problem together from bid to delivery which gave a real sense of comradery and achievement.

What do you love most about what you do?

Helping people discover their own answers. It can take longer, but it sticks so much better. Everyone loves a plan, everyone likes to contribute, they often just need a forum in which to speak – and be genuinely listened to. Consequently, I love meeting the people that genuinely make things happen.

What does your typical working day look like?

It can vary depending on if I am visiting clients’ offices, or if I am back at base in SVGC. I try and focus on getting as much meeting time in the mornings, and focus on the work at hand in the afternoons. It is not a science but it means clients get the best of me and the lap top has to be second to that

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

Stop and check what a more experienced version of me would do, ask someone else if it is good – then do that.

Palminder
Palminder Sembhi

Palminder has been in the software testing world for over 20 years, and progressed his career to test manager. Having worked with household clients such as NHS, O2, MoJ, TfL, G4S and Network Rail Palminder brings a wealth of knowledge to the SVGC testing team.

Test Manager

Q

Palminder Sembhi

Test Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Black coffee! I skip breakfast and coffee blunts my appetite until lunch. Also, phones play such an integral part of our lives, I like to catch up with the news before the day begins. With these intact I am ready for the day ahead.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

When I worked for a major consultancy, I led a team of testers for a major project for our client DEFRA. We worked weekends and late nights to ensure testing was achieved at a high standard. Upon recognition of our hard work the company gave us all red-letter day packages.

What do you love most about what you do?

I started as a software tester, and I still love the buzz I get when an issue with software is found. Usually this makes the developers question their code. In my career I have come across many developers who always think their code is flawless.

Having an application go live with minimum issues, really makes me happy. You can never have software, which is all bug free, but testing ensures any major issues are found before the application goes live.

What does your typical working day look like?

Currently I always start the day with a meeting with my team ask how they are, what they are working on and what their plan is for the day. Then it is back-to-back meetings discussing the various projects I oversee, make sure everything is on track testing wise.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

I find things are not as bad, when you sleep on it. If it is still an issue in the morning, I will take a step back to assess the situation, see where the problem occurred.

Also having clear communication lines resolves a lot of issues. If I cannot resolve it myself, I will always arrange a meeting to get to the bottom of the issue, with the relevant people.

Jim Kennedy
Jim Kennedy

Project Manager Jim, brings a wealth of knowledge working within the Public Sector having delivered many key Public Sector projects. He loves nothing more than witnesses how the work he does makes a real impact on people’s everyday lives.

Technical Project Manager

Q

Jim Kennedy

Project Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day? (tea, coffee, your dog, background music, podcast, favourite pen/notebook etc etc)

Every day starts by grabbing some fresh air with my wife when we take our dog (Bella, a red fox Labrador) for a walk around the local fields. Then, once back at home, it’s time to put the kettle on for the first cup of Twinings STRONG English Breakfast tea.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

It would be hard to pick just one work achievement, but for several years now I’ve been lucky enough to work on many key Public Sector project deliveries. In my own opinion, I don’t think there are many areas you can work in where you see the results, and feel the impact, more than those which are public facing services.

What do you love most about what you do?

Working in a collaborative and supportive team structure, attacking tasks while troubleshooting any problems that come up along the way, with focus on delivering transformative digital/technological changes and solutions for the customer.

What does your typical working day look like?

For SVGC specifically this is a hard question to answer so early on. Generally, though - as a Project Manager – it’s usually a healthy mix of progress meetings, stakeholder management, spreadsheets/trackers, change management/scheduling, document creation & review, finance management and many slide decks, alongside the overarching governance and reporting.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

The answer to this would usually be based on two criteria: “how urgent is it?” and “how big is the task?”. Depending on those two criteria, the solution could be anything from “think-dreaming” (daydreaming with a purpose!) out of the office window, making a cup of tea and taking five minutes to think it through, taking the dog for a 10 minute walk to clear the mind, asking a colleague their thoughts on the matter, creating a RACI or, where priorities/deadlines allow, leaving it until the next day to attack it with fresh eyes.

Becky Davies
Becky Davies

Technology Project Manager Becky loves organisation and working across the whole company to meet the needs of clients. Never one to shy away from extra-curricular studies, Becky will dig deep to make sure she has the very best solutions at hand.

Technology Project Manager

Q

Becky Davies

Technology Project Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Although not a ‘must have’, more of a ‘must do’, most of my days start with feeding the array of animals we have, including walking the dog before the workday starts.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

When looking at the big picture, it would be my progression from a Psychology background and moving into a career in cyber and technology. I sometimes take for granted the amount of effort and dedication that was required from me to do this. Not knowing the difference between IT & cyber at the time meant so many evenings were filled with homework and CPD.

On a project level, developing a MDR’s onboarding process from scratch with no prior knowledge of EDR & SIEM technologies or engineering whilst ensuring clients were onboarded in a professional and timely manner was one of my proudest achievements. Being able to handover a step-by-step process after 10 months of hard graft was incredibly satisfying.

What do you love most about what you do?

I always say that I think Project Management found me, rather than me finding it. Being a slightly self-confessed control freak, Project Management was a good fit for my natural talents of organisation, planning and time management.

I really enjoy being able to work autonomously with some aspects of projects, but also within a team to deliver client’s requirements. Being a Project Manager in a small business means you interact with different departments such as sales, commercial, operations, finance, customer satisfaction (the list goes on). This results in an appreciation of all areas of business which in turn has made me a well-rounded Project Manager.

What does your typical working day look like?

I’m a big believer in planning in advance with the help of daily to-do lists, so I really try to plan my day, however sometimes that list gets thrown aside when a priority piece of work has been tasked.

Managing multiple projects of different sizes, complexities and deliverables mean that I could start my morning scoping out a new requirement, lunchtime could be a check in with internal teams (ops, finance etc) and the afternoon could be planning for next year’s continuation of the programme.

When you hit a wall workwise, what do you do to help overcome the hurdle?

If it’s a specific work problem then I’d typically lean on my colleagues for suggestions of resolution, they may have a different way of viewing the same problem. Its sometimes difficult to see the wood through the trees within Project Management, so getting a more high-level, big picture view can be helpful.

Carla Stanton
Carla Stanton
Carla has over a decade of experience delivering many successful projects and large-scale programmes within the Civil Service. She loves seeing tangible results that protect and improve public services.

Digital Sensitivity Review Programme Manager

Q

Carla Stanton

Digital Sensitivity Review Programme Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

Any day of mine must start with a morning cuppa, a strong tea with a splash of milk.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

I’m thankful to have had lots of proud moments in my career, particularly having worked in the civil service for over a decade.

I’ve delivered many successful projects and large-scale programmes over that time which were to protect and improve public services. Seeing tangible results in areas that not only align with my personal values but contribute to a greater cause has provided me with a huge sense of purpose and pride.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to deliver positive impact and to know what I’m doing is making a difference somewhere. That could be anything from supporting and mentoring colleagues through to delivering change.

Any role that enables me to continue to learn and grow professionally and challenges me to be creative and solve problems is what I love. I’m also fortunate to have met lots of interesting characters over the years so the ability to meet and connect with people of all backgrounds gives me enjoyment too.

What does your typical working day look like?

Well, I guess a typical day includes getting familiar with what meetings I have on my schedule first. That can tend to dictate what my day looks like and how much preparation I need to do. Then a quick glance over emails, look at my to-do list and prioritise what I spend my time on. It rarely works out as planned as there are always fires to put out along the way.

When you hit a wall, what do you do to help overcome it?

If I hit a wall I like to step away for a few minutes. That might include a walk in nature or chat with someone to take my mind off it. When I need to get in the zone I plug in my headphones and put on some music.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan has vast experience of IT systems and loves to improve processes, solve lingering problems and implement workflows that improve the day-to-day life of single users or a whole user group.

IT Service Manager

Q

Ryan Cronk

 IT Service Manager

SVGC Staff Profiles

What are your ‘must haves’ to start the working day?

​Coffee and a decent breakfast are a must. Then chasing the kids around for an hour before my eldest starts school.

The walk to my son’s school and back is a couple of miles. The journey there is filled with questions about Sonic the hedgehog, if he is faster than superman, or would he beat the Teenage mutant ninja turtles in a fight?

The way home is quiet, I tend to use this time to enjoy some fresh air and get my mind right for the working day.

What’s your proudest work achievement to date?

While I worked for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), I was extremely fortunate to be part of the team that rolled out and managed an upgraded call out service. This service linked into HM Coast guard and enables the public to get help along the coast or out at sea.

The RNLI is a charity that receives no government funding and is the primary lifesaving capability along the whole of the British Isles, so every penny must be accounted for. Seeing the difference the upgrade made to the efficiency of the service, and how it enabled volunteers to go out in the middle of the night in storms to save people's lives was fantastic, even if I was only a relatively small part of the huge upgrade.

What do you love most about what you do?

I have an extremely busy brain, so I need variety in my day-to-day work.Thankfully IT Service Management is such a varied world that what I do professionally allows me to channel this busy brain into something productive.

ITSM is primarily concerned with ensuring users are receiving the maximum value from their services and there are so many ways to approach this within that framework.

Ultimately when I know I have made improvements to a process, solved a lingering problem or implemented a workflow that improves the day to day for someone else or a whole user group, I can log off for the day knowing I’ve made someone’s work life a little easier.

What does your typical working day look like?

I tend to start the day with a coffee, and then hit shuffle on my Spotify library. I’ll take some time to look at yesterday’s to-do list and see what is left on the list from the previous day.
Then I look at my calendar and work out what calls I have and work out what is best to focus on as a priority for the day.

Obviously, no two days are the same and so that can go out the window after the first call of the day, but I like to approach everyday with the best intentions!

When something grabs me though I am relentless I will hammer away at something until it is finished.

When you hit a wall, what do you do to help overcome it?

When I’ve exhausted all options, I will usually put it to one side and ignore it until the following day. In my experience coming back to a problem with some time to reflect on it will usually enable me to come at the issue from another perspective or be a bit more creative.

I train, teach and compete in a martial art called Brazilian Jiujitsu. While training it is impossible to think about anything else. This is perfect for completely clearing my mind, I can then approach a problem the following day as if it is brand new.

Occasionally I will take a break and play guitar for 20-30 minutes and let my subconscious beaver away in the background while I run through a couple of songs I’m writing or learning. I’ve found this can help to reset my mind and I can attack the problem again.