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Inside Track: Lightware Visual Engineering

This issue we talk to Craig Storey, CEO of Lightware Visual Engineering UK, about land and water-based sports activities, leaving the armed forces for AV, and the positives and negatives of Covid lockdowns

Whereabouts do you hail from and where are you based?
I was born in Surrey and grew up there until the age of 17 when I left to join the British Army. I currently reside on the south coast of the UK with my wife, two young children, my two dogs and cat. We live a busy life so need a quiet area to wind down!

How did you get started in the industry?
At the age of 20, I left very early in what I thought would be a long-term career in the British Army after studying Electronic Engineering and found myself looking for work that suited my interests and the skills I had been developing. I came across a job post in a local Connexions store advertising for an apprenticeship role within the AV sector. The job post went into some detail and the position looked like it suited my interests and the skills in electronic engineering I had been developing, so I applied and went for an interview not truly understanding what this industry represents! This led me to start working as an apprentice for an AV integrator called Focus 21. My first position was within their rack build facility, but I eventually ended up ‘trying my hand’ within any sides of the business that interested me.

What advice can you give someone starting out?
Diversity in your job is key, try as many different things as you can as early as you can. This will not only help you find the areas you are passionate about and excel in, but it will help you develop your weaknesses whilst giving you an understanding of other roles within the business and their challenges. I would also say that I have been extremely fortunate in finding two key mentors through my career path and without their guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today. I will admit though, that listening to their guidance and applying it has not always been easy but it has never been anything but worthwhile.

How did you fill your time during lockdown? Any new hobbies?
Cycling (indoors; static trainer) and running (indoors or a local loop) but my main time consumer was steering the business through that tough period, the exercise became a much-needed outlet for the hours spent on video calls at that time! 

What football/rugby/other sports teams do you support?
I have dabbled in a fair few sports taking some more seriously than others such as rock climbing, kayaking, surfing, SUP, triathlon, cycling, golf and racing motorbikes and cars. But I’ve never really gotten into supporting a team because I’d always rather be out there living it than watching it.

Tell us something about you that may surprise people
When I take something on, I do it with nothing less than everything I have. Whether this be training for triathlon or taking on a role for a company that was mostly unknown in the UK. I have applied this mentality into both my personal and professional life and only my close friends and family know how much I live and breathe this principle, giving nothing less than my all.

If you could change just one thing about your life, what would it be?
I would have liked to have served in the British Army a little longer. Personal reasons drove me to leave, and it was absolutely the right decision. But it’s always felt like a task I never completed, and this has never sat well with me. But this decision is likely the drive behind my ambition and desire to give things my all, which has led me to where I am today.

How did Lightware fare during the Covid-19 pandemic?
We have all found positives and negatives throughout the pandemic. Lockdown was a tough time for Lightware. I had joined the team a few months prior and projects went on hold almost overnight, with no understanding of when or (at worst) if they would come online again. The silver lining to lockdown was that people were easier to reach via video than they ever had been in person, and so lockdown for us became a time to spread our message and educate our customers. Once out of lockdown this became the springboard for Lightware, and we have been growing ever since. Our plans are really to invest in this success and further build on the quality team we have today, as well as release some more amazing products!