Adaptavate are proud to introduce the newest member of the growing team and in-between material testing, report writing and nappy changing (at home!) we got to catch up with Jeff and learn a little more about his background and what makes him tick! Welcome to the team Jeff…..
Jeff, you are the new Adaptavator…..welcome! What was it that initially drew you to the technical lead role at Adaptavate?
Thanks for the warm welcome, I’m happy to be part of the team. I have been following Adaptavate for a while now. The concept for the product is exciting and some of my academic colleagues were making a bit of noise about this compelling new start up. When I saw Tom’s video online looking for a technical lead it sounded like a near perfect fit. I knew almost immediately that I would be able to contribute to the organisation.
We are taking on a pretty big challenge in a conservative construction market – but with a massive market potential. It certainly isn’t a ‘ glamorous’ industry! What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for a company like Adaptavate at the moment?
I don’t consider the construction industry be too conservative. Having worked with aerospace companies and Transport for London on light-weighting, in an aim to be more sustainable, I have experience of industries with a far greater aversion to technical or commercial risk. The simple fact remains that the largest, most simple energy saving within a UK context is to better insulate our homes. This is recognised at home by the consumer, commercially by the building profession and legally, with the code for sustainable homes legislation being implemented last year. The challenge for a company like Adaptavate is to push this mindset further, to make sure people are thinking about the way in which they make their homes more energy efficient, to make them healthier places to live, but very importantly for me, to make the planet a healthier place to live for us all.
What previous experiences or roles have you had that makes you the top person for this role?
I have been fortunate in my working life to have a range of really compelling roles, however the most recent and relevant is the work I carried out with the National Composite Center. The NCC is an industrial research center, established by the government and owned by the University of Bristol. The aim of the centre is to bridge the gap between the blue sky thinking of academia to the commercial realities of industry. Adaptavate finds itself in this niche, with a concept proven in academia and developing to wards mass manufacturing of bio-composites. In my time at the NCC I lead a capability team of engineers and technicians and implemented program of capability enhancement through the procurement of equipment and improved facilities. I was technical lead of numerous concurrent projects within multiple industries. This experience has given me the mindset required to identify, research and mitigate the technical risks associated with scaling up production within composite manufacturing.
The really compelling part for me is that I wanted to further my work towards a sustainable future, and I enrolled on a Masters at the Center of Alternative Technology. This is where Tom, our founder and managing Director studied, so we are thinking about sustainability in the same manner.
We hear you have made a boat or 2 in the past? Tell us more…. how is this going to help with the Technical Lead role at Adaptavate?
Yeah, I am a Naval Architect originally. I was lucky enough to work predominately on round the world race yachts for the early part of my career. Building these bespoke high performance machines taught me a great deal about project planning and attention to detail. These projects also had a great deal of room for innovation and creative problem solving. I was lucky to work in some phenomenal teams with some truly outstanding individuals in some pretty high pressure situations. When a good idea came along we all had to react, critiquing it to make it work and then getting behind it and making it happen. This is what makes me tick.
Ok, now for some more personal questions: If you could only take 3 things to a desert island – what 3 things is it going to be?
- My Family (yes I am including my wife and daughter as one “thing”)
- An Axe
- Table Football Table
Is that a really boring answer?
Best book/podcast you have read/listened to in the last year?
Small is Beautiful by E.F.Schumacher is getting another outing at the moment. I put on a festival by the same name in the summer, watch this space of for next years installment. I really love the way he speaks about chaos and order, about how the world needs both of these and the correct balance between the two. And of course about solving problems and using appropriate scale solutions. I also really enjoy a bit of the radio 4 series 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
My old man told me not to trust anyone with two first names. Which is poor advice. My Dad also told me a compromise is where nobody is satisfied, I’m not sure how much I agree with that. I’m sure my Dad gave me lots of great advice otherwise I wouldn’t be here now. But I think it was someone elses Dad who gave me the best advice. My best friend lost his father recently and he used to say that the important bits of life are those magic moments, and we all make those happen ourselves. I think that is quality advice.