Dancing in the rain with MTI UK

The UK business just had its half-yearly kick-off, which saw over 100 members of team MTI gather together. We started promptly at 1pm and I gave a “view from the bridge” presentation, where I told it like it is, as best as I could. I shared my perspective of our considerable successes, addressed some of the inevitable changes and aimed to provide everyone with the solid clarity, clear guidance and vision that I share with the senior management team for now and the foreseeable future.

MTI is and always has been a business that has succeeded because of its camaraderie. Success for us is built on integrity, honesty and collaboration. As a team we achieve great things, whilst building and evolving that team from time to time involves editing, curation and evolution. Of course changes can cause confusion. I addressed these points and explained that from my perspective “success is not about waiting for a storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Little did I know what a brilliant opportunity I was about to be handed to demonstrate this….

Running slightly behind schedule, I then handed the floor to Ian Parslow who gave an update on sales and talked about new markets that MTI was going after. Ian also shared details of the steps the sales team is undertaking to keep abreast of changing market conditions. Tony Conway then provided a strategic overview of the services side of MTI and the progress of the managed services business. Both Ian and Tony’s presentations were extremely well received and I would like to personally thank both of them for their contribution.

Spencer Misstear then took the challenge to end all challenges by conducting a live role play exercise which saw him as the sales person. Ian Parslow pretended to be the customer. Spencer demonstrated the role of strategic, benefit-lead salesmanship, making the case for secure, software defined data centres. The example was so strong I think Ian probably bought two SSDDC’s. Well done Spence! We then had a mini awards ceremony where we called out excellent performance, and whilst it is always a team effort, this is an opportunity to acknowledge those individuals who have gone the extra mile and who have exceeded targets and expectations.

The party then decamped to Milford Golf Club where we engaged in a Rounders tournament with 4 teams. During the prevailing 60 minutes there was only marginal cheating by all parties.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

Ultimately it was Alan Ryan and his security team who were victorious. Unfortunately the trophy that was to be presented to Alan Ryan was left in the office. This gave rise to all sorts of “panic” at which point I grabbed an ashtray and used this as a substitute for the trophy. A wonderful and fun way to demonstrate the little ways in which we can “learn to dance in the rain”. So to whoever actually did forget the trophy, thank you! Please don’t feel bad about it, it created a special moment and you can see from Alan’s face in the picture, his smile is as broad as it could be.

Dancing in the rain!

Dancing in the rain!


Ian Parslow keeps it up!


Phil, myself and Craig, watching Ian

Another highlight of the day was when Philip Brown challenged Ian Parslow to round two of Giant Jenga. Ian had been thoroughly thrashed last year and so this was a big deal for both Brown and Parslow. Perhaps Ian was exhilarated by the sales masterclass he had just witnessed courtesy of Spencer. Or, perhaps he had been practicing. We know he really hates it every time he loses. On the other hand, perhaps nerves overcame Phil. What ever the reason, after much concentration, and wiggling of bits of wood, Phil pulled the brick which made Ian victor. Definitely it will be best of three for both gentlemen next year.

Chinwag time

Chinwag time

We then had a BBQ and generally chinwagged until about 9 pm. It was great to be able to see the teams from all the UK offices get together, with folks coming from Livingston, Manchester, Worthing and the HQ in Godalming all present.


A smile to end on!

I am looking forward to catching up with our French and German colleagues later in the year. Thanks to everyone who participated in the day, either by presenting, asking questions or just getting stuck in. I really enjoyed seeing everyone and the feedback I am getting suggests that the day was appreciated all round.

New Pants Please

Regular readers of this blog will know that MTI loves celebrating the success of the team and marking our milestones. The previous post highlighted the celebrations that our very own Rainer Held hosted to acknowledge the tenure of Clarence Do Rego and Christine Renzaho with the finance team. As promised, the pictures from the event are now available and posted below. You will note that Clarence’s shirt is particularly fresh. This is because his luggage was lost and so MTI ensured that he had new “essentials”.

That shirt looks crisp Clarence!

That shirt looks crisp Clarence!

I wanted to also take this opportunity to congratulate Rainer on his leadership. A stable team is a happy one. To see his team thrive is a testimony to the loyalty he inspires and the mentorship that he provides.

(L-R) Clarence, Rainer and Christine

(L-R) Clarence, Rainer and Christine

Rainer and his team

Rainer and his team

Finance and Administration – Days Sales Outstanding – Ages nicely

Those of you familiar with MTI will know we pride ourselves on the longevity of our staff, with several of us well into our second decade here! Our finance and administration team is no exception and with some of the key players approaching milestones, it’s time to celebrate the careers of some of MTI’s finest.

Regular readers will be familiar with our in-house bakery enthusiast Rainer Held, MTI’s SVP Finance. He’s been looking after the money for 20 years now, joining the team in 1995 at the tender age of 30. We’ve also got another stalwart in Christine Renzaho, a financial controller fast approaching a decade at the company, while Clarence Do Rego joined at the age of 50 and is now at the ten-year mark as a financial controller.

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Rainer Held, SVP Finance

While this elite cadre have more than their share of grey hairs between them, their combined 40 years at MTI really demonstrates the loyalty we try to inspire as a company, among our staff and importantly, among our customers. In a world where many might need more than two hands to count their different jobs before they reach 30, we’re proud to say that MTI’s team is built for the long-term.

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Clarence Do Rego, Financial Controller

With this in mind, I’ll be rounding up Rainer, Christine and Clarence this week to celebrate in style. We’re all ageing nicely yet remain just as enthusiastic as ever, so watch this space – pictures of our exploits will be up in due course!

193 guests all out with MTI

Yesterday was MTI’s annual summer cricket event, which saw 193 MTI guests, including 153 customers join us at The Oval to watch Surrey play Gloucester. And what a match!

Not only was this the hottest day of the year on record, but the tension in the Oval was also at a fever pitch throughout. In the end, it was a blistering finish by Surrey’s own Azhar Mahmoud, who swung the last ball of the match for six. This stroke of genius took Surrey past their visitors 154-5 in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Below is a selection of pictures from the event.

MTI's Oval Scrapbook.001

What’s really nice about this event is the number of people who ask me if they can attend next year. (I will not name names to protect the innocent) We are constantly oversubscribed even though we have increased the number of tickets year on year by 20%. I would also like to thank the knowledgeable people who can name the skyline’s buildings too. Last night I had to find out for one customer that the giant glass tower behind the main stand is the new home  for the American embassy. Thank you, Laura, from our corporate lawyers’ office DAC Beachcroft for being so knowledgeable.

We’ve hosted events at the Oval like this for the last ten years, and for my money this was the most gripping match to date. It’s always good to be able to spend time with those that we work with, away from the business environment. 

 Thank you to all who joined us. I hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did. I look forward to seeing you next year.

Moving with the times

I had a very interesting day yesterday which highlighted the need we all have to be agile in business and in life.

In the morning, Ian Parslow and myself were invited to a breakfast with The Economist’s Adrian Wooldridge, management editor and Schumpeter columnist. Adrian has just written a book, The Great Disruption, in which he examines the impact of forces such as the internet, financial capital and globalisation on business. The event, hosted by our PR consultancy Champion Communications, covered a lot of topics, ranging from the changing role of content in our lives through to the new way in which businesses need to adapt to stay ahead of the game.


Adrian Wooldridge’s book on The Great Disruption

We then hot-footed it across the West End, through Soho to the Park Lane Hilton for a luncheon held for the Royal Warrant Holders Association. MTI (Security Practice) has the honour of having been granted a Royal Warrant for being a provider of data security services and products to Her Majesty The Queen. We are one of 700 companies to hold a Royal Warrant, and feel very proud of this. Ian Parslow, Alan Ryan, Sheila MacKinnon and I from MTI hosted a  table which included Pete Smith of The Royal Household, Ben Spencer, Beazley, Tim Raworth, KIO, Dave Exall, SafetyKleen, John Singh, DAC Beachcroft and Richard Cook, Champion Communications.

MTI (Security Practice) table and guests

MTI (Security Practice) table and guests


KC and Tim Raworth, KIO.


KC and Dave Exall, SafetyKleen


L-R: KC, Robin Wodehouse of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, Pete Smith of The Royal Household

Over a three-course dinner, we heard from Robin Wodehouse, of Walker and Wodehouse Wines, one of the few Wine Merchants to hold a Royal Warrant and Grantor of Royal Warrants, who explained the work of QEST, the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which raises funds to provide scholarships to support the education of talented crafts-people.

We also heard from Sir Charlie Mayfield of the John Lewis Partnership who made the point that holding the Royal Warrant is a mark of pride for everyone in an organisation, not just the business leaders. Upon reflection of the two parts of the day, the consistent theme for me was the need for agility.

On the one hand, we had a futuristic view of the world from a journalist who talked about the pace of change and shared his view that only those individuals and businesses that can adapt will service. On the other hand, we had lunch with one of the UK’s most traditional organisations, and here it is investing in the future and creating new opportunities by developing talent. In both environments, the benefits of being able to adapt whilst staying true to core principals seem to be the best way forward.

Robin Wodehouse at The Royal Warrant Holders Association dinner

Robin Wodehouse at The Royal Warrant Holders Association dinner

MTI in the fast lane at EMC World 2015

I write this blog from EMC World 2015, taking place at The Venetian in Las Vegas, which has once again proven itself to be a hugely inspiring event. The scale of the production and the quality of the speakers are literally amazing, with keynotes and celebrity performances throughout the agenda.

KC of MTI meets John McGuinness

KC of MTI meets John McGuinness

In addition to business leaders from within EMC and beyond are individuals who have literally redefined what is possible. The road racing giant John McGuinness, who can claim 22 TT wins in 25 years, was on hand earlier in the event to share his experience of breaking through the 130 barrier. John has a current lap record of 131.5 mph.

Ian Parslow of MTI meets road legend John McGuinnes

Ian Parslow of MTI meets road legend John McGuinnes

Another winner who has just given a presentation, but in this case because he doesn’t need wheels is John Maclean. John was hit by an eight-tonne truck. The accident left him an incomplete paraplegic in a wheelchair. 26 years later he completed the Nepean Triathlon as an able-bodied athlete. Defying the odds, John has gone on to establish a foundation which inspires and helps those who need surgery, wheelchairs, house modifications and other types of support.

John Maclean at EMC World 2015

John Maclean at EMC World 2015

After his story “to end all stories” John received a standing ovation from over 4000 people. Simply stunning.

Of course no EMC World would be complete without an awards ceremony and I am delighted to be able to report that for the second year running, MTI was awarded the EMC EMEA Award for Service. Our very own Nicolas Naulot collected the award on behalf of the company.

Nicolas Naulot of MTI receives  EMC's No. 1 EMEA Service Award, 2015

Nicolas Naulot of MTI receives EMC’s No. 1 EMEA Service Award, 2015

It was an honor for MTI to be on the same stage as these giants and to be acknowledged by EMC in this way.

MTI sets up German bakery


Those of you who are familiar with MTI will know that we have been managing data securely for over 25 years. Clients include Barlow Robbins, Christ’s College and Toyota. You can read all about them here. So you might be surprised to learn that MTI has indeed invested in a German Bakery.

This move was driven by one man’s passion for German bread. In Germany, bread is more than just a food – it is a part of the German culture. Germany produces more varieties of breads than any other country. Over 300 varieties of dark and white breads and over 1,200 varieties of rolls and mini-breads (Brötchen & Kleingebäck) are produced in Germany.

Rainer Held, MTI's SVP of Finance

Rainer Held, MTI’s SVP of Finance

The man behind this diversification from normal business is none other than MTI’s very own Rainer Held, our SVP of Finance. You may be asking yourselves: “Has MTI gone mad?”, “Is this a new form of Managed Service?” or even “Will MTI be able to make sandwiches?”

Let me explain….

This weekend, Rainer celebrated his 50th birthday with his closest family and friends. Mrs. KC and I travelled to Darmstadt in Germany and enjoyed the beautiful weather with a beer in the square before heading off to dinner to celebrate with Rainer and his wife Jutta.

Daarmstadt Square

Darmstadt Square

The dinner, at a local, organic eatery called Müller and Müller, was wonderful. Fresh, line caught cod was my main course. Delicious, fresh, warm, German bread was served, but it wasn’t the bread or beer which lead to MTI’s investment in a German Bakery.

In fact, Rainer has decided that he wants to build a clay bread oven in his garden,  MTI and the other guests at the party were delighted to be able to make a contribution towards this. Pictures of this feat in culinary engineering and project management will be shared in due course.

Rainer and Jutta Held, in celebration mode

Rainer and Jutta Held, in celebration mode


It was an honour for Mrs. KC and I to be able to celebrate with Rainer. As head of finance Rainer has been looking after MTI’s “dough” for over 18 years, and I know one thing: There is no way he would allow MTI to get into the bread business!