ENGINEER & ENTREPRENEUR. AGE 26.
How did you get where you are today?
I fell into this career. My first business started from my GCSE Resistant Materials project at the age of 16. I designed a product called the Stairsteady, which was designed because my teacher’s father had had a stroke and couldn’t use the stairs. So I designed the Stairsteady that is a specialist handrail that enables users to walk up and down the stairs safely. And from creating the Stairsteady and selling it I created a business and then found that I really enjoyed running businesses and haven’t looked back since.
Was there a turning point in your journey?
I was very honoured to win Young Engineer For Britain in 2006 for the Stairsteady, which was a defining moment. Up until that point I’d had a very different idea of what my life might be and afterwards I was able to do so many fantastic things and that opportunity opened doors to so many other things
What had been your ambitions growing up?
My whole career was planned out – I had this idea from the age of 12 that I wanted to be a barrister. I’d pretty much picked out my university course and then I got this engineering award and designed the Stairsteady and I really wasn’t sure what to do. So I thought I’d give myself three years to see how the product and the business went and then if it all went horribly wrong I’d go back to uni. But by the time those three years were up I’d already started other companies and I never got round to going to university. So I took a completely different route to one that my teachers and career advisers were telling me to do.
Looking back, with hindsight, this was probably the perfect job for me, but I just didn’t know that it existed. I always had ideas and wanted to make them happen so this was the perfect career for me.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Someone once told me that you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. For me that really resonated. So if you look around the people that you work with, or your family, what are they like? Do they challenge you? Do they support you? And you also have to remember the effect you have on people around you. I try to remember that if I’m being negative or I’m being pessimistic then that’s going to reflect on those around me and I can do a lot by just being optimistic and upbeat and challenging.