Chat with a techie
You’ve heard us talk about the technology solutions we create and the managed services we provide. Now’s your chance to get to know some of the people behind these creative and innovative ideas.
This week we sat down with Darren Ashcroft, Gyrocom’s Technical Account Manager to learn more about his role in Gyrocom and what he gets up to when he’s not solving all our technical problems.
Darren At Gyrocom
Darren has been at Gyrocom for 8 years and in his words is ‘mainly a techie’. His role started as a technical consultant focusing on networking and security. Primarily working as part of an architects team to build new eCommerce platforms and designing cloud-based solutions that would not just solve clients’ immediate problems but also enable them to meet future challenges. More recently he has moved into a more customer-facing role as a Technical Account Manager.
It was partly the fascination of how overarching solutions, combining multiple technologies, could impact businesses and their customers became more interesting than the intricacies of detailed design – the more human side of technology that drew him to a change in role.
I think now more than ever, having people who enjoy the challenge of solving complex technical problems, whilst also making sure that it works operationally, and with the optimal business outcomes is incredibly important – difficult to find – and why we are grateful to have him as part of the Gyrocom team.
Where It All Began
Darren has always been interested in science having studied physics at Durham University (one of the 10 toughest universities to get accepted into in the UK). Jokingly, the maths was getting too hard and that pushed Darren to start focusing more on his real interests – electronic engineering and the computer networking aspects. He went on to do a second degree at Nottingham at around the same time that the internet was taking off and this seemed like the right place for him to be.
From there Darren spent 10 years at Nortel, and his life in networking technology was set. This is where he met Gyrocom’s managing director Graham Brown and technical director, Ryan Coombes. Darren said that together they worked on some incredible projects like designing and implementing the networking infrastructure for a very well-known bank’s new HQ. After 6 years of ‘nagging’, both Graham and Ryan persuaded Darren to move to their new venture, Gyrocom.
The Gyrocom Years
According to Darren, one of the best things about Gyrocom is the people, a family ethos that is in every fiber of the company. This culture means everyone can talk to anyone about anything, there is no judgment, all opinions and ideas are welcomed but more importantly, egos are left behind.
Darren has been encouraged to follow his ideas and creative solutions that come from speaking and listening to clients and industry specialists. Recently, he has been allowed to trial new technologies such as digital user experience monitoring that have stemmed from a deep understanding of customer requirements, awareness of the latest solutions available, and applying these to meet the requirements. Throughout this exploration, Darren has been actively supported, empowered, and told not to be kept in his box but rip it up, and challenge the status quo.
If it isn’t already clear Darren is exceptionally innovative and enjoys challenging the norm. Throughout his career, there have had to be a few funny moments along the way. The moment that immediately sprang to mind was the time he was asked to prove to a potential client that their network was not secure by getting into it. Darren of course made it through their poor security protocols, logged into their switch, and locked their entire office out of the network – including himself. He then had to manually go into the back room and make the appropriate changes to get everyone back online – top tip: always remember your passwords and think before pressing the button!
The Impact of Covid
Like everyone, work the way we work, has firmly been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. When speaking with Darren, he has been impacted both professionally and personally, and says that the novelty of video chat has seriously worn off now. There is no longer that pre-meeting chat where everyone can relax a little before the ‘techie’ talk begins. Darren said that everything now has a formality and you can’t connect with people the way did previously – we have lost human interaction. However, through all of this golf has been a saving grace-giving. This has given a relaxed open forum to catch-up with people both in and out of work so, if you want to talk shop on the course we can get something arranged.
Uncertainty is something we are all dealing with and Darren is working with clients to design solutions to make this uncertainty easier for the business. However, knowing the exact right thing feels a little out of reach at the moment so moving forward is a bigger challenge than ever before. That being said Darren and Gyrocom are working with businesses to help move through these challenges, problem-solving on mass with all outcomes considered, this doesn’t just give the clients security but everyone a sense that these lockdowns will soon be over and planning for the future will be more certain.
Outside Of Work
Darren is an avid tennis player (thankfully this has been allowed in lockdown) and is the first team captain at his local club. This has given him a sense of normality throughout these uncertain times and puts us all to shame for those like me who are already eating Christmas selection boxes. When the world opens back up again Darren is excited to meet people face to face; family, friends, and clients (old and new).
Travelling is also something that he takes passion in, so Darren has some big plans for the next few years like taking the family on Safari in Africa or even going to Thailand – we look forward to seeing the pictures of him at a full moon party, drinks bucket in hand with glow in the dark face paint.
If you have any questions for Darren or can relate to some of his thinking please get in touch. Make sure you look out for our next Chat with a Techie where we get to know someone else in the Gyrocom team.
Gyrocom is a network and security company. We support your digital transformation with secure, automated and simple to manage solutions for the data centre, branch office and cloud.