Waterstons, a Durham based business and IT consultancy has recruited Steve Williams Newcastle University’s former director of IT to come on board to lead on the education sector at the fast growing company.
Waterstons has had a record breaking 12 months, experiencing a six fold profit increase and recruiting over 30 staff taking the total to 110, with sustainable growth set to continue in all sectors the business serves including education.
In his new role Steve will be responsible for looking after the company’s growing portfolio of Higher Education (HE) clients and developing new relationships with other HE institutions throughout the UK.
He is the first IT professional ever to be recognised with a Principal Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) the national body that champions teaching quality throughout the HE system. It places him in an elite group of about 600 individuals out of 60,000 HEA Fellows throughout the UK; highlighting the pivotal role he played in his eight years at Newcastle University.
Steve said: “I’m in the unique position of having had direct experience of managing IT at the highest level in a HE environment so I understand first-hand the challenges that brings. There is an ever increasing amount of pressure on HE IT departments to ensure that, not only is the student experience the best it can be, but that technology is aligned to support the excellent teaching that our universities are renowned for worldwide.
“Obviously good teaching, learning and innovative research is at the heart of HE best practice but the role of technology is just as crucial for its effective delivery. I am incredibly proud that the work undertaken at Newcastle University was recognised in this context.”
Steve’s appointment as executive transformation consultant at Waterstons Limited reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to the education sector not just in the North East, where it has worked at one time or another with all the HE establishments, but throughout the UK.
Susan Bell chief executive of Waterstons Limited said: “We are delighted and flattered that someone who is held in such high esteem in the education sector has chosen our business after such a successful eight years at one of the region’s most prestigious educational establishments.
“Steve’s appointment highlights our total commitment to the continued development of our business in education and given Steve’s vast experience in both the public and private sectors both at home and across the world, his skills and knowledge will be greatly appreciated in all the other markets we serve as well.”
Steve said: “I see Waterstons as a way of being able to continue developing the technology and systems which worked so well at Newcastle Uni for the wider education sector. I also see my appointment as an opportunity to apply my skills beyond education to many other industries.
“Newcastle University has a strong strategic focus for teaching and learning and implementing technologies is absolutely fundamental too this. As a result we were able to introduce effective lecture capture technology, a student written app to best meet their needs, and all-important pervasive Wi-Fi enhancing both the teaching and student experience.
“I can say with confidence that technology helped the university in vital areas such as its ability to attract funding, enhance and facilitate research, speed up clearing information for students at results time and improve security whilst promoting essential collaboration both internally and externally.”
Steve said: “I’ve been a client of Waterstons and friend of the business for over ten years and their ethos of ensuring a clear business case is made before any recommendations of investment in new technologies with a clear mission to foster genuine partnerships with their clients to achieve this, is part of the business DNA I share with them.”
Steve is a former head of IT at Sunderland City Council and prior to that enjoyed a long and distinguished career working throughout the world in businesses such as Viasystems Corporation, iconic ICI where he spent ten formative years, and Mercedes Benz to name a few.