This month we talked to Ryan Siddall, Innovation Manager, who heads up our Manufacturing Innovation Cluster delivered by NEPIC.
Ryan celebrated his two year work anniversary in January and having achieved so much in his role already, we found out more about his love of science, his new-found event management skills as well as his 3-year-old Goldendoodle called Ted!
What do you love about your job?
As someone who has been passionate about science their whole life, I’m in a privileged position to work with so many talented and innovative companies on a daily basis. Working with the Innovation SuperNetwork and NEPIC I get to experience the full breadth of activity within the North East manufacturing sector and help connect small start-ups with established powerhouses. The role feeds my natural curiosity (or nosiness!) as I’m able to see, first hand, the nascent technologies and cutting edge projects that are being developed in the region. NEPIC exists to promote collaboration within the region through networking and best practice sharing, and there is nothing more rewarding seeing an SME grasp this opportunity to be a part of the cluster and grow from strength to strength.
What is your biggest achievement to date in your current role?
Last year I organised NEPIC’s Digitalisation and Cyber Security conference which was held at Hardwick Hall in December. It was my first foray into events organisation and it was a baptism of fire to say the least! Thankfully the event was a resounding success and brought together companies of all sizes to share best practice and solve problems collaboratively. The event showcased the region’s digitalisation expertise and highlighted the role that digital technologies will play in manufacturing of the future. It was a great opportunity for large established organisations to learn about the innovative work of SMEs, which is exactly why the Innovation SuperNetwork – NEPIC partnership exists.
How has Covid affected your job?
Covid has had a huge impact on my job and, like for so many people, back in March 2020 my approach had to change overnight. Working remotely has allowed me to interact with many more companies than I would’ve been able to in person. NEPIC and ISN hosted a number of webinars to support companies through the pandemic and forced us to think innovatively about how we could support SMEs. Many great initiatives and approaches have been born over the last 2 years, and it’s important that these successes are carried forward.
I enjoy the flexibility that comes with home working, but nowhere near as much as my 3-year-old Goldendoodle, Ted. He’s really enjoying both me and my partner being around much more often and especially likes the lunch-time walks to the beach. I think he’s also picked up some key phrases and sounds from my Teams calls, because as soon as a meeting is over, he comes running straight over to me for attention, as he knows it’s his time to be fussed over!
What are you looking forward to the most this year professionally? And personally?
I’m looking forward to getting back into face-to-face events and meeting more companies (sorry Ted!). I’ve worked at ISN and NEPIC for over two years now and just had the opportunity to attend Venturefest (which was epic!) I’m also looking forward to NEPIC’s Annual Awards Dinner, which I’ve heard great things about. I’ve built some great relationships with SMEs over the past two years and I’ve watched them develop their products, win new contracts and recruit new staff, so it’d be great to actually meet those people in person and chat over a coffee!
On a personal note, I’m also hoping to complete my PhD which has somewhat stalled as a result of Covid-19. My experiments were due to be completed in a lab in Belgium in summer 2020, but due to the pandemic and strict lockdowns progress has been slow. Fingers crossed 2022 is the year that it’s all tied up!
Thank you Ryan. We wish you every success this year and hope Ted doesn’t miss you too much when you’re out and about!
Please get in touch with Ryan if you would like to find out more about the North East’s thriving chemical, process and pharmaceutical sectors. Through NEPIC’s established networking and technical sessions, Ryan can help you to learn more about the sector, meet key contacts, and diversify to your offering to target new clients.