Lee Huck, Clive Owen Technology Services
Having wanted to be a potter when he grew up, IT director Lee Huck realised that pottery would make a better hobby than a career. Now he supports SMEs across the North East and Yorkshire with IT services. We caught up with him to find out more about his role.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
I am the IT director of Clive Owen Technology Services, a division of Clive Owen LLP. I am responsible for the IT systems of the firm at all 3 offices. As director of Clive Owen Technology Services, my role encompasses being a managed service provider for SMEs, alongside the provision of hardware, software, support, cloud services and software development. It is a wide-ranging remit which ranges from being the primary sales contact for the team to providing cutting edge technical consultancy. It’s busy and demanding but I’m very lucky in that I love what I do.
What is it the company does?
Clive Owen Technology is a division of the group employing a team of 4 experts who offer IT managed service provision for the SME market. We provide onsite and offsite support contracts, hardware & software, cloud services and software developments for our clients.
Clive Owen LLP provide business advice and accountancy services to a range of clients across the North East and Yorkshire. We have 3 offices in Darlington, Durham and York. Established for nearly 35 years the business has grown consistently and now has ten partners and nearly a hundred staff.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I worked in the manufacturing industry as IT director for 12 years but then the company moved to Bradford so I took the plunge and set up my own IT company. It was a learning curve but a very rewarding experience.
In 2008 my IT company became part of Clive Owen LLP and in 2012 we re-branded to Clive Owen Technology Services to strengthen our brand and reinforce our expertise in our field.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Never ask your team to do something you would be unwilling to do yourself and always lead by example. I value people and always try to involve my team in the decision-making process because I have learned that they can often offer a very different and valid perspective.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
My challenges will be the same as anyone else running a small business. There is always a conflict between taking the time out to drive new business whilst providing great service to existing clients. It’s a balancing act and a difficult one at that!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I am a keen musician who plays regular gigs and sessions all around the North. It’s rewarding, fun and provides great stress relief. I also enjoy beach walking in the Hebrides, a place I frequent as much as work permits and my hobby is pottery.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a potter but I realised as I grew up that it was a better hobby than a career! I do enjoy it as a pastime though – it’s absorbing and creative which is diverting from the day to day.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
I hate petty office politics. I think if you promote an open and productive environment, it reduces the risk of this issue. Oh and rubbish tea bags, Yorkshire tea every time.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We have worked hard to grow our business and set up a stable and solid infrastructure for our existing clients. The next stage is expansion in our customer base through the provision of support contracts and hosted cloud solutions. We have also developed some bespoke software for the vehicle transportation industry that I believe is a robust and powerful solution to some of their specific needs and could drive business for us. It is hoped it will form a significant part of future growth strategy.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
You will only get out what you are willing to put in. Hard work trumps talent all day long but you need to be smart, committed and willing to put in the work to succeed.
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