This week we took the time to sit down with our CEO, Glen Griffin, to find out more about him and why he started Infrastar Limited.
What was your main motivation/mission for starting your own company?
I have been working in this industry for a long time but wanted to create my own company with a slightly different approach – one that focused on building partnerships with clients and with individuals in the company who could grow the values and ethos that would lead to success.
What has been the hardest part? What was your biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
As a new company, the hardest part is cash flow and making sure that you pay people and suppliers on time. We also need to keep up with all the regulations as the company grows, whilst maintaining a positive approach in everything we do.
What is most important to your organisation – mission, vision or values?
The most important part of Infrastar is the people – the team as well as the clients. I’ve tried hard to make sure that everyone feels included, that they can always speak up and should not be afraid to make their voice heard.
What is your goal and when will you know you have reached it?
My goal is to create an ongoing sustainable business that looks forward to the future and innovates. I’m not sure I will ever reach my goal but the journey will be interesting and it is always good to have the ability to change direction and have new ideas.
Did you have to make any sacrifices?
Time, family, and effort. Putting in long hours/days comes with extra stress. However, it has all been worth it because I’m running my own business, with a great team, and building something for the future!
What is your stand out moment that made you want to go into this industry?
I don’t have an obvious ‘stand out moment’. It’s been more of an evolution of my working career from the Air Force, which I joined when I was 16. Infrastar has developed from the fact that I like to talk, build relationships and network and not only make myself happy but other people too. Infrastar is a very people-based business. At the moment, in this industry, there is more work out there than people and it is finding the right people in the right place at the right time.
How do you balance your work and personal life?
I struggled in the beginning whilst setting up the business but, as the company grows, I see new leaders coming in. As the business owner, I’ve had to learn to delegate work and responsibility and allow people to run part of the business but this has not been easy to do. Having the right people in the organisation, to help Infrastar grow and prosper, makes this easier.
What is your proudest moment for Infrastar to date?
Getting everyone’s feedback after they join the company. Hearing how much they enjoy working at Infrastar and working with such a great team, it puts a smile on my face every single time.
What is your favourite thing about the Infrastar office?
The office is a lovely environment – everyone has had input on the end result. The office needs to be a nice place for people to want to come in to work and I think we’ve done a great job in achieving that. The team regularly bring in their dogs, which can be mayhem sometimes, and we also have amazing hot chocolate!
What do you look for in an employee? How do you ensure that they will fit in with the company culture?
We look for someone with a can-do attitude with the ability to think and act independently. A smile, enthusiasm and drive, but also able to have a good laugh, always helps.
To what do you attribute your success?
Determination and never giving up. There are moments where it is has been really hard and I questioned myself as to why I was doing it. Sometimes you have to reflect on the positive and dig deep. You might need to reset your goals and remind yourself why you are doing this but you need to know your own limits. Never over-commit or grow too fast as that can come with its own risks.
What makes Infrastar unique?
What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
My main responsibilities are to continue to run Infrastar in a way that is sustainable for the future and to have happy staff and clients. I need to ensure that Infrastar is a company that people enjoy working at, to give us the ability to grow, not only the industry, but the Infrastar name. I’m always looking at trends in the industry from which we may be able to benefit.
Is there a particular technology or area of technology that interests you/excites you the most?
I love anything new and shiny. I like any technology, especially technology that helps people – everyday things, like the Ring doorbell. Years ago, my disabled mother-in-law was unable to get to the door when someone visited. With this simple technology, people can see who is at the door and talk to them, without leaving their chair or even whilst they are out and about, which is great for security. I think the most impressive invention for the 20th century is microprocessors which enable the progression of new technologies. I remember in 1998, I sat my AO Level and got an A* because I wrote about microprocessors changing the world. I stated how, one day, a disabled person will be sat watching TV and, with the use of microprocessors and cameras, will be able to see who is at the front door (hmm – sounds familiar!). I came up with 5 or 6 things in my paper that have now come to fruition.
What do you believe will be the ‘next big thing’ in tech?
I think we will develop the ability to interact in real time with people all across the world in a 3D zoom. Having the ability to feel and touch things, like virtual reality, in all locations, being able to see your own face and having an avatar that can interact, would be ground-breaking. Also, developing the ability to replicate anything anywhere, instantly, for example, food, technology, fashion, etc. that can be created on one side of the globe but also instantly recreated in a 3D environment on the other side of the globe would be interesting. Watch this space!
You have done a lot of work on the ‘No Child Left Behind” initiative. Why has this been so important to you?
There are a lot of children in this world still needing a good education and, sadly, in this day and age, don’t have access to IT. This should be a basic requirement for any child in the world. No Child Left Behind works with IT School Africa, who also do amazing work, fully supporting the fact that every child, wherever they are in the world, should be entitled to education.
Where do you see the business in 1/5/10 years’ time?
1 year – Now we have our office and are consolidating our work, we are looking to grow and take on more employees.
5 years – We would like to see ourselves double in size, with multiple locations, with Infrastar becoming a name that is well recognised in the industry.
10 years – GLOBAL DOMINATION (evil laugh)! In reality, Infrastar would continue to work with all the changes the future holds for tech and still be a company for which people want to work. We will have a new generation of staff with ambition, bringing in new ideas and keeping the vision of Infrastar alive. I have always believed that new generation and older generation are a great working team – the new generation provide new blood, lots of enthusiasm and energy and a vision to change the world and the older generation, with the same ambition and drive, are able to pass on their wisdom, experience and knowledge. Together, this makes for a really interesting future and I can’t wait to see what happens!