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DIGIT Movers and Shakers: September 2020

Ross Kelly



The September edition of DIGIT’s Movers and Shakers column features appointments and awards news from Intelligent Growth Solutions, The Data Lab, TechForce and SBRC.

Recruitment News


After four years at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, Paddy Tomkins QPM announced he will step down as chair to focus on other commitments.

In a statement published last month, SBRC said it had “reluctantly accepted” Tomkins’ resignation and is grateful for the significant contribution he has made to the centre since he joined.

Douglas Barnett from AXA and current Vice-Chair is leading the board in an interim capacity until a new Chair is appointed.

Commenting on his work with SBRC, Tomkins said: “My time with SBRC will always be a source of many happy memories, but my business activities are increasingly taking me overseas. Now is the time for a new Chairperson to make a fresh contribution that will help deliver the exciting new strategies being developed under Jude McCorry’s leadership. I wish my successor every success in the role.”

Jude McCorry, CEO of the SBRC added: “Paddy’s vast experience and the focus which he brought to the SBRC during his tenure as Chair has undeniably shaped our future direction and we wish him all the very best for the future.

“Given the impact which the SBRC’s work has in terms of supporting business both online and offline, as well as challenging economic environment which will naturally impact business resilience, we are looking for an experienced Chair who can support myself and the Board in making sure that we remain a leader in our sector not only nationally, but also across Europe.

“Scotland is home to a passionate and dedicated business community, and we want to guarantee that SBRC is there to work alongside them and guide them towards being truly resilient.”

The Data Lab

The Data Lab has appointed a new Head of Business Development as it continues its mission to help the country maximise value from data and lead the world to a data-powered future.

With over 25 years’ experience in senior data and analytic roles within a number of global businesses, Mark Wilkinson joins The Data Lab from Teradata, where he led a multi-disciplinary team to deliver high impact business outcomes for customers through the use of data intelligence.

Prior to joining Teradata, Mark worked with Experian in multiple leadership roles, heading up teams dedicated to supporting clients in achieving their overall strategic business objectives.

Wilkinson commands a wealth of experience in business development and client relationship management. In his new role, he will be responsible for all aspects of business development, leading a team of executives located across The Data Lab’s key hubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Commenting on his new role, Wilkinson said: “As we all start to plan for life beyond Covid-19, I look forward to joining The Data Lab team, helping tackle the challenges and opportunities that the ‘next normal’ brings to Scotland and our global partners.

“Data innovation will be key to how we transform, compete and create better lives for our citizens in the new world and Scotland is ideally positioned to be a global leader in this area.

“The chance to join such a talented team and help build on their successes to date by embracing and driving their overriding mission to help Scotland maximise value from data is an opportunity that I’m incredibly excited about.”

Gillian Docherty, CEO, The Data Lab, added: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to The Data Lab team. Mark’s extensive experience within the world of data and analytics, his wealth of knowledge and drive for collaboration within industry will prove extremely valuable for our plans in the months and years to come.

“As we continue to ensure the data science community is well served by delivering more value, skills and expertise as well as identifying key areas of growth to unlock Scotland’s potential as a global leader in data innovation, Mark will play a vital role in supporting our ongoing growth plans, investing in our clients with time and consideration.”

NHS Scotland NSS

Scott Barnett has joined NHS Scotland National Shared Services (NSS) as Head of Information and Cyber Security.

Joining Deryck Mitchelson’s Digital and Security Team, Barnett will be responsible for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our national healthcare systems and data, maturing NSS incident management capabilities, providing clarity on the cyber threat landscape and NHS Scotland’s ability to respond.

Commenting on the appointment, Barnett said: “I’m really excited to join NHS Scotland NSS at a time when our public, and particularly healthcare, sectors are being tested perhaps like never before.

“I’m part of a great team who are passionate about delivering quality critical services to over 160,000 users. My initial focus will be on cyber hygiene and resilience and standing up an effective security operations capability that’s fit for a cloud-first strategy of digital delivery.”


Stirling-based tech company thinkWhere has appointed Louise Barnes to the position of Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).

She brings a proven track record of growth, leadership and client engagement to the thinkWhere management team, having held commercial roles with organisations including Scottish Water and Wood Mackenzie.

Barnes joins thinkWhere from NCTech, a leading 360-degree imaging company where she held the interim position of CCO. During her fixed-term contract, Barnes devised and implemented a commercial strategy that expanded offerings and prioritised opportunities while repositioning the company as a tech-enabled data company with growth potential across new vertical markets.

Commenting on the appointment, thinkWhere Chief Executive Alan Moore, said: “It is our vision to transform the way people view, share and understand location.

“Appointing Louise to head up our commercial division will focus our activities, inform our development strategies and drive our business growth as we transition the company to realise our potential and achieve our goals, and we are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Barnes added: “With over 7,500 users and a client retention rate of eight years, thinkWhere is at an exciting phase of its growth journey. I am delighted to join the team to build new relationships, develop thinkWhere’s digital brand and impact its product offerings in order to satisfy our growing client base.”

Intelligent Growth Solutions

Senior HR leader, Donald Mackenzie, has joined Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), the Scottish-based agritech and smart spaces business, as Head of HR.

His appointment is the latest in a series undertaken to grow the company’s management team as it continues to expand to supply a growing customer base across the world.

Inverness-born Mackenzie joins IGS following more than 23 years working with Michelin in Dundee, where he started out as a Trainee Industrial Engineer before moving through various people management positions.

He brings with him a wealth of experience in HR, as well as skills across learning and development, community engagement and communications in a technical environment.

Most recently, Mackenzie was responsible for the social plan that supported 850 employees impacted by the Michelin Dundee site closure, including developing programmes to re-train, relocate and find alternative employment opportunities for all those individuals.

In his new role, Mackenzie will support a rapidly growing team as the company moves onto a global stage while maintaining its ethos of continuous innovation and investment into research and development.

He commented: “IGS seems like a natural fit for me. The people, the organisation and the outlook all appeal to me: it feels like a positive environment with loads of exciting opportunities. The whole company is about learning and growth and expansion, ultimately driven by products that the team is fully behind and that really works.

“Obviously in a field like HR, the people side of a business is always the most important, and for me there’s a real human opportunity which has been created at IGS by the development of products that could fundamentally change the way that society and whole populations live. The possibility of developing solutions able to tackle the whole food security issue is really enticing.”

IGS CEO David Farquhar added: “Being able to attract an HR professional with Donald’s perspective is a major win for IGS, as we look to employ new people and offer the best possible support to the immensely skilled crew we already have.

“We are at a very exciting point in our company history right now, and it has never been more important that we are best placed to attract, nurture and develop highly talented people.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome someone of Donald’s calibre to join us, and strongly believe that his wealth of experience – particularly with organisational development – is just what we need as we look to the future of the business.”


Alan Wood has been appointed to lead Salesforce’s digital engagement business in Scotland, having worked with the company’s largest customers for three and a half years.

In his new position, Wood will be charged will helping Scottish customers understand and unlock the significant commercial benefits of working with Salesforce.

Salesforce is the market leader for digital customer engagement and marketing automation, helping businesses to know, personalise and engage with their customers at scale and with intelligence.

Scottish Financial Enterprise

Sandy Begbie CBE was appointed Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE) in September, replacing Graeme Jones who intends to retire following five years in the role.

With a successful track record in financial services globally from a human resource and transformation perspective, Begbie brings a range of experience from third sector roles and working with government.

Most recently, he helped develop the Young Person Guarantee implementation plan for the Scottish Government in response to rising youth unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Until August this year, Begbie served as Chief Transformation Officer at Tesco Bank where he led the strategic change programme for the previous 18 months. Prior to this, he was responsible for the Global People, Organisation and Culture Integration at Standard Life Aberdeen. Before the merger with Aberdeen Asset Management, Sandy was Chief People Officer and Lead Executive for China and Hong Kong for Standard Life. He also held similar positions with Aegon, Scottish Power and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Philip Grant, Chair of Scottish Financial Enterprise, commented: “I am delighted that Sandy will be leading the SFE team as CEO. He is taking over from Graeme with the organisation on a strong footing, having experienced a 25% increase in membership over the last five years and delivered an ambitious strategy to strengthen Scottish financial services.

“Sandy is an outstanding leader with the right balance of experience to lead SFE. I’m confident he will continue the momentum in developing SFE and its contribution to shaping the sector and the recovery of the economy in Scotland with the support of our active membership and through collaboration with partners.”

Commenting on his appointment, Begbie said: “I’m a big believer that the private sector is a force for good and makes a positive contribution to the fabric of society. I’m passionate about the difference financial services can make to people’s lives and joining Scottish Financial Enterprise provides an opportunity to help the industry make a greater impact here in Scotland.

“I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with SFE members and building on the good work Graeme and the Board have done. Given the current environment, it’s important that SFE has the right voice and influence to respond to the world we find ourselves in.”

Digital Technologies Skills Group

The Digital Technologies Skills Group (DTSG) has announced the appointment of a new chair to help focus Scotland’s entrepreneur skills.

Startup specialist Ross Tuffee, the founder and CEO of, was named the new chair of the technology and public sector partnership which supports Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) digital skills activity.

Commenting on his new role, Ross said: “I wholeheartedly support Mark Logan’s recent recommendations. I believe enhancing the entrepreneurial and leadership skills of our technologists, along with improving diversity and inclusivity within the sector, will lead to a 21st-century version of our world-famous and iconic enlightenment. That period put Scotland on the global stage thanks to an outpouring of intellectual and scientific advancement, but this time it will be a digital enlightenment!

“It’s a real honour for me to be chosen to lead this amazing and passionate group of people at this critical time. Donald McLaughlin has been an excellent chair, and he leaves very big shoes to fill, but I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge and opportunity the role provides.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Network ROI

Network ROI announced two new additions to the team in September, with Keith Bevan joining as Chief Executive Officer and Neil Douglas securing the role of Chief Information Officer.

The experienced duo to take up the newly-created roles as Network ROI further develops its growth and development strategy.

Sean Elliot, Chairman at Network ROI, said the appointments were made to ensure the firm had the right team in place to lead the employee-owned business into the future, growing its services and client base further.

He said: “We have reached a point in our growth where we need a new mix of experiences and capabilities to take Network ROI to the next stage. Keith and Neil’s skill sets are complementary; Keith is a results-orientated business leader and Neil’s extensive technical knowledge is second to none.”

“Keith possesses a wealth of experience in the development and growth of SME businesses.  He has taken previous companies from UK based businesses to global operations.”

Elliot added: “Although Neil has over fifteen years’ experience in information technology, he has never stopped learning and having recently been awarded the ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor, a worldwide standard of achievement, he can impart his high-level knowledge to both our employees and clients in equal measure.”

Network ROI provides IT managed services to clients throughout the UK. As an Employee-Owned business, employees are co-owners and recognise the importance of service and value above all else, and work hard to deliver this to every one of their clients.

Commenting on the announcement, Bevan said: “I am excited to take up the position at Network ROI. As an employee-owned business I feel I am a custodian of the values Sean created and relish the challenge of growing the business further in the UK.

“While many industries continue to be challenged by the pandemic, there is an opportunity for Network ROI to help empower customers on their digital transformation journeys as well as by giving timely strategic advice in their cost-based decisions, such as downsizing their office space.”

Douglas added: “I feel energised and thrilled to take up this newly created role, we have a great dedicated team at Network ROI and I feel now more than ever clients need our down to earth advice and support in order for them to come out of the pandemic stronger than before.”


Colin Jamieson joined the Capito sales team in September, taking the position of Managed Service Specialist.

Jamieson boasts more than 12 years of experience in IT sales, having worked across the full spectrum of managed services. He also commands additional expertise in communications, security, office 365 and hardware.

Commenting on the appointment, Jamieson said he looks forward to “increasing awareness” of the managed services side of Capito’s operations, as well as expanding on what he already regards as a “strong proposition”.

His new focus will be placed on helping clients to build key strategic partnerships and to provide market-leading service with “unmatched levels of resource”, Capito confirmed.

When not helping clients to simplify and stabilise their IT management, Jamieson is a keen motorcyclist who also serves as Company Commander with Lothian & Borders Army Cadet Force, responsible for 8 units, 170 cadets (aged between 12 and 18) and 20 adult instructors.

Awards and Recognition


North-East cybersecurity specialists, TechForce, have achieved a prestigious national status that will allow it to protect more businesses and their customers from rising online threats.

TechForce was formally recognised as an accredited certification body for the UK Government-backed, industry-supported scheme Cyber Essentials, Cyber Essentials Plus and IASME Governance.

As an independent testing organisation, TechForce can audit the relevant security controls that businesses have in place, verify these, and then benchmark them against Cyber Essentials – or the more advanced Plus version.

Throughout this process, the Aberdeen-based company will identify any gaps in existing processes or systems and recommend appropriate solutions to enhance security and, ultimately, help the organisation towards certification.

The formal certificate, which lasts a year, is available to businesses of all sizes and guards against most common internet-based threats.

Jai Aenugu, Managing Director at the firm, said: “We’re extremely pleased to have reached this important milestone. It’s a massive step forward for the company which will allow us to protect and empower more businesses through Cyber Essentials certification.

“Businesses are increasingly aware of the need to demonstrate their cybersecurity credentials, given it is often a requirement for many tender applications. For larger companies, the security of their supply chain is paramount to the safety of the entire organisation.”

Having introduced proven cybersecurity and information assurance controls that help protect against cyber threats, TechForce was able to demonstrate the business’ commitment to information security governance, risk and compliance.

It was subsequently awarded certification body status through the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Essentials Partner, the IASME Consortium, whose CEO, Dr Emma Philpott, commented: “I congratulate TechForce for recognising the key role cybersecurity plays in any organisation. This accreditation is a true demonstration to its clients that the company has considered the importance of customers’ security as much as its own.”

In addition, TechForce announced that cybersecurity specialist, Harsh Panchal, is now a certified EC-Council Security Analyst; further underlining TechForce’s commitment to investing in its people, helping them achieve the relevant industry qualifications, and protecting its customers’ businesses.

Aenugu added: “The hard work and dedication shown by our team over the past few months have paid off and prove that the steps we have taken to further enhance the security of our clients’ businesses and critical data continue to make a positive and lasting difference.”

The company previously secured Approved Cyber Essentials Practitioner (Advanced) status to support clients achieve Cyber Essentials Plus. In 2019, it was awarded a place on the highly competitive G-Cloud 11 framework, the Government’s cloud and IT services procurement platform.

Bellrock Technology

A Deputy Associate Principal at the University of Strathclyde has received a prestigious international award for his work in smart energy systems.

Professor Stephen McArthur, Strathclyde’s Deputy Associate Principal for Research, Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 IEEE Richard Harold Kaufmann Award.

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization advancing technology for humanity.

The $10,000 award recognises outstanding contributions in industrial systems engineering. Professor McArthur has been granted the award for “innovative contributions to the advancement of intelligent systems for power engineering applications”.

The Kaufmann Award is one of IEEE’s annual Technical Field Awards and is sponsored by the IEEE Industry Applications Society.

Commenting on the award, Professor McArthur said: “I am very honoured to have received this award. I share it with a large team of world-leading researchers and innovative industry partners who are focused on delivering solutions to major power engineering challenges through advances in Artificial Intelligence.

“I will use the prize to support and encourage further advances in this important field.”


A technology startup is reflecting on a successful first year in business which has seen strong demand for its strategy-first approach to IT from across the north-east.

Established in July 2019, io is a managed IT solutions specialist that simplifies businesses’ technology requirements by helping empower people to increase their productivity and performance levels.

With 40 years’ combined experience, io is led by experienced directors David McCready and Nick Pickering and provides IT support, consultancy, and strategy to small-and-medium-sized businesses throughout the UK and internationally.

While the business remains predominantly focused on the north-east of Scotland, it has existing clients operating globally as well as strategic relationships with other Microsoft partners around the world.

In addition, io plans to diversify into new sectors – such as food & drink, tourism, clean energy, and renewables – and expects to relocate to larger office space within its present location of Balmoral Hub, Wellington Circle to accommodate its growing team.

Commenting on the one-year milestone, David McCready said: “It’s been an extremely positive first year in business for io and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers and partners who have supported us as a new start-up.

“There is never an easy time to start a business but, having faced a global pandemic and resulting downturn within our first 12 months, it has taught us a great deal both about ourselves and running a business. These experiences have helped improve how we do things so that we can remain sustainable for years to come.”

McCready added: “Despite these challenges, we have managed to achieve our ambitious targets for year-one which has given us the confidence to invest back into the company. We are now seeing certain projects that had been delayed due to Covid-19 moving forward again at pace, which will allow us to hit the ground running in our second year.”


Four engineering students from Scottish universities have picked up awards at the Young Software Engineer of The Year Awards 2020.

The students hail from St Andrews University, the University of Glasgow, Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen University, and their work was recognised as the best undergraduate software projects on offer.

Each university submitted the best final year undergraduate software engineering project from amongst their students. Prizes this year were sponsored by Sopra Steria, Edge Testing, BCS and Leidos.

The winners were drawn from across all students studying computing science and software engineering in Scotland and were presented at the ScotlandIS CmdR ScotSoft 2020 conference.

Jane Morrison-Ross, CEO of ScotlandIS said: “This year’s Young Software Engineer entries have been a showcase for Scotland’s digital talent.

“All of this year’s Young Software Engineer winners and runners up have demonstrated not only great ability to develop novel ideas, but they are also applicable in the real world, bringing tangible benefits to many industries in the future.”

Want to find out more? Check out the original article here.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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