A former Royal Navy Petty Officer who helped to turn a Newcastle University spin-out into a successful commercial business is now steering firms around the region on the right course.
George King spent 18 years in the Navy as a weapons engineer, working around the world with the service. Scottish-born George, who hails from the famous MacGregor clan, arrived on Tyneside in 1994 to work on the Navy’s behalf on Swan Hunter-built HMS Richmond, the last warship to be constructed on the Tyne.
Now based in Gateshead, George is using the problem-solving skills he learned at sea to help and support new and established small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the North East. His business development firm Glengyle specialises in unpicking issues that are holding businesses back and helping entrepreneurs to access grants and finance to put their ideas into operation.
On taking redundancy from the Navy, George developed his commercial nous initially working for Joyce-Loebl in Gateshead and then working within the contracts organisation at Newcastle University. He became involved with INEX Micro technology, an innovative firm specialising in the producing micro technology, sensors and miniaturised systems for business.
As the firm’s commercial manager, he helped to spin it out from an academic concern to a private sector business that is now collaborating with other companies to create specialist equipment across a range of industries.
George said: “I have always enjoyed a challenge, and my engineering background means I think in processes – the best way to solve problems is in stages.
“After helping to commercialise INEX, I decided to set up Glengyle to help develop other businesses and solve issues that are holding them back.
“So much of what I do goes back to the lessons I learned in the Navy – keep it simple, don’t over-complicate matters and often the first answer is the best one. I use this knowledge to give people the tools and education to help get their business where they want it to be.”
Teamwork is another crucial approach he learned at sea that is applicable to many business problems, along with disciplined thinking and realising when it is time to give something up as a bad job.
“Saying ‘this isn’t working’, walking away and approaching the challenge from a different angle isn’t a sign of failure,” said George.
“But so many businesses don’t understand that can make all the difference when they are faced with a problem. I particularly enjoy getting my teeth into a challenge and helping to turn around a business.”
George’s unflappable nature means he can provide a great port in a storm for seemingly rudderless businesses and his advice can help bail out companies that are at risk of sinking.
He said: “As an engineer with extensive damage control knowledge in the Navy, I was responsible for helping to repair ships and I take the same approach with businesses.”
“However, Glengyle isn’t just about fixing things when they go wrong – we also give businesses the right steer when they are setting up, providing advice on contracts, terms and conditions and the kind of grants that are available to help them.”