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Director: Mike Alderton

Name

Mike Alderton, Director, AMI Software (UK).

Career profile

“Generally I’ve found that the only thing you get looking back is a stiff neck”

Mike’s career spans 30 years, with five years based at Strangeways Research Laboratories, Cambridge from 1983 to 1988.  

“I started life as an apprentice with Marshall’s Aerospace in Cambridge moving to Strangeways Research Laboratories in 1983 to take up a post of Technician Engineer. Through MRC funding the Laboratory sponsored me to do an HNC in Electronic Engineering. In 1988 I opened a computer shop in Cambridge which I ran for six years before progressing in a variety of technology sales and management roles, initially with a small Cambridge company called Geofox that designed and manufactured an innovative palmtop computer through to the role of European General Manager with Intraware a large American software company. I moved to my current position at AMI in 2005”.

Mike currently spends his days managing the sales, tech support functions and overall development of AMI’s business in Northern Europe, Asia and the USA.

“My career highlights include working with Dr Dame Honor Fell, DBE, Ph.D, D.Sc, FRS, a founding Director of Strangeways and developer of  the “organ culture method' to provide engineering support to her projects including the design of a device to give a greater range of shutter speeds to her photo electron microscope; starting my own business and generally being in Cambridge at a time when companies like Sinclair, ARM and Acorn were making the headlines; Playing a part in starting and growing a successful business at AMI against a prolonged backdrop of economic uncertainty”. 

Mike feels that investment provides some of the biggest challenges and obstacles.  “It is vitally important that investment in research, training and innovation continues and grows, that young people are encouraged to study subjects that create real value and that we recognise and support home grown talent”. 

“I wish I’d had the nerve to progress a career in engineering but in the late 80’s, in the commercial world, it was an area of severe underinvestment and cutbacks right across the country. My father-in-law used to say in Germany you’d be regarded as a professional but in the UK people’s perception was that you were there to fix the washing machine”.

“I am inspired by anyone capable of original thought that advances our understanding of who we are or the way we live. Newton, Darwin and Babbage would be obvious guests if there was only the opportunity for one dinner meeting but there are 100’s more less well known that, because of their original thought, created something that helps us all today and I’m always thoughtful of them”.

“My next step is to continue evolving the business at AMI in line with objectives that allow growth and investment. I would never rule out being self-employed again, I feel I’ve definitely got another “start-up” in me somewhere”.  

“My current role requires me to have a good level of commercial and technical knowledge along with effective people management and communication skills but if I had to pick one skill that is very prevalent on a daily basis it would have to be “organisation”, the role requires extremely good organisational skills”.

Correct as of: March 2015