Starting his journey with the company at a time when many preferred fax over email and e-commerce was still a novelty, Seth Finegan marks our 25th anniversary by looking back on how we’ve navigated a period of momentous change.
It’s over 20-years ago, but it almost seems like yesterday when I moved to Edinburgh to study for my Masters in geographic information science. I had already worked in industry for a few years and was keen to build on what I had learned, while contemplating my next career move.
I didn’t have to contemplate for too long as an introduction to Justin Hassall led to a meeting with Liz, John and the rest of the team and a social interview that lasted well into the early hours. I was quickly hooked on the idea of building my career at Informed. The people I met were great and the work was varied and exciting; what more could I want?
I started my journey 20-years ago on the 13th October, by coincidence the company’s fifth birthday. Looking back, so much was different then; there was little or no open source GIS, no cloud and the World Wide Web was still in its infancy. Internet business models such as Google and Amazon were yet to dominate our world and technologies like GIS were still very specialist tools.
What’s fascinating for me though is that despite all the change in technology and business models in the last 20-years, the essence of what Informed does and how it goes about its business remains very much the same; we are here to look after our clients, our associates and our people. Good to work with, good to work for.
We have held fast to those values to ensure the company continues to be a very special place to work. The Informed team have always been passionate about solving complex challenges, making the best use of data and putting the client first. Regardless of changes in technology, this still involves doing innovative, intelligent work to provide competitive advantage and/or cost efficiency to those we work with.
In my time I’ve experienced some incredible moments and worked with some amazing people. An early personal highlight was my first project lead role for GlobalOne telecommunications, implementing the full suite of GE Smallworld applications on Oracle, a global first. A few years later, one of my proudest moments was leading the team that delivered the Places Community Programme for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which went on to win a prestigious Civil Service Award in 2008.
Not all went to plan of course. I’m still not allowed to forget being given the task of finding our first London office in 2001. I managed to pick our office with an entrance leading out onto the wrong side of Oxford Street, putting our office entrance right next to a rather exotic business in Soho. Not my finest moment.
Looking back, the reason I have stayed at Informed Solutions for so many years is because we strive for the same things we did when I started in 1997. The company’s values have stayed the same and we still recruit the very best team members who are passionate about making a difference. The way we develop as a team hasn’t changed either. We have always nurtured new ideas, challenged staff to be the best they can be and rewarded our people for their achievements and loyalty. We also know how to have a good time – a lesson I learnt on my social interview that very first night.