People Profile: David Daniels
As part of our ongoing campaign to introduce some of the talented people in our team, we spent a few minutes talking to David Daniels, a MiX Project Director.
David has had a fascinating career that has spanned many years and a few countries! He joined MiX in January and hit the ground running by getting involved in one of MiX’s biggest projects for a financial sector client.
Tell us a bit about what your role entails at MiX?
My role as IT Project Director is to steer the project so the IT elements are all accounted for and included from design through to delivery. I work closely with the client, representing them to the construction team and design team ensuring that the result meets the original vision.
Tell us a bit about your career in the IT sector?
I started working in IT for a large multinational food packaging company. I worked my way up the ladder in technology roles for around 6 years where I found myself in the role of IT Manager in their office in Moscow. After three years of getting that setup, I decided to stay in Russia and began working on a new headquarters project as an employee for a Swiss investment bank.
When that project completed, it was back to the UK with a consultancy firm that specialised in tech relocations, which included many of the ‘dot com’ businesses. I headed up the tech team and responsible for the entire project process.
In a similar role, I joined a business that worked mostly in the Canary Wharf area and became more involved in designing data centres and infrastructure for projects with clients such as Morgan Stanley. This role took me to Hong Kong for two years to set up a new office for our consultancy and for the client in the 4th tallest building in the world at that time. I also instigated a Goldman Sachs DC migration. A fantastic couple of years in a very interesting place to live!
Back in the UK again to complete another data centre build project before taking a six-month sabbatical. This was followed was a 9-year role at the same global investment bank I worked for in Moscow but based in London.
The last 4 years of that role was spent heading up the biggest occupied refit project in Europe at the time – managing a phased refurbishment and reorganisation in Canary Wharf, across four occupied campus buildings! When this was ending and in its final phase, and having known the MiX team for several years, I felt ready for a new challenge so joined MiX in January of this year.
What appeals to you most in the industry?
Apart from working with people, I love building things and seeing something through from start to finish, be it construction projects or a technology solution. Early on in my career, I enjoyed working in the building industry that gave me a good foundation for what was to come. Adding to many years of IT experience, the ability to apply an understanding of project processes makes for what I find an interesting and exciting profession.
What do you think the biggest challenges in the industry are today?
Interesting question at an interesting time! The pandemics impact will bring up new challenges for everyone. From an AV point of view, meeting spaces will no doubt have to adapt. IT infrastructure will have to provide resilience and reliability to clients that need to be agile and, in some cases, mobile.
We will be tasked with finding manageable solutions that are open and able to integrate with rapidly evolving products. Keeping technology simple to the end-user will continue to be important, be that an interface or a technology-enabled workspace. Real estate will be modified for occupancy, and we will rise to utilise this in the safest and most efficient way.
What kind of skills do you need to have to succeed in a role like this?
You must have good people skills. Being able to listen and communicate with people driven by different motives is essential. IT often requires deciphering what people are really trying to get across and translating that to other members of the team. Having a good background in the IT/technology sector is incredibly useful as it gives you a good foundation.
And of course, experience which brings a calm attitude and knowledge to problems encountered along the way. I would also say being open to new ideas is fundamental and being organised is a must.
What do you like about working at MiX?
Having worked for very large corporate organisations which had several protracted processes made it difficult to get things done quickly, I am now enjoying the agile and fast-moving pace at MiX. The ability to work for different clients in different sectors is also a great plus – it keeps things interesting and I love that variation! I also think we have a great team of diverse individuals at MiX who share the same goals.
With such a busy day job, what do you do to unwind and relax?
Spending quality time with my partner and younger kids mostly! We live out in the countryside, so we spend quite a bit of time cycling, hiking, or cooking together as a family!