Simon Walker | Interview

by | Apr 28, 2022

Simon Walker featured

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.

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