Q and A: Marty Reid – Centre Director
In November, we welcomed our new centre director here at Future Space. Marty joined us from a background in engineering, having worked at Rolls-Royce for over ten years in roles spanning corporate business strategy, global account management and customer service.
Now he’s had a couple of months to settle in, we thought we’d catch up with Marty and find out what he’s going to bring to the centre.
Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m from Paisley, just outside of Glasgow and I studied engineering at the University of Strathclyde. I joined Rolls-Royce as a graduate in 2008 and, although I quickly realised that I didn’t have my heart in engineering, I had some amazing opportunities in different roles during the ten years I worked there.
I’ve been lucky enough to live all over the world as part of my academic and professional career; I participated in academic exchanges in engineering at the University of Toronto and in robotics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and for Rolls-Royce I spent a number of months working in Norway and Finland in the marine sector and then over two years working in Munich in an international joint venture company.
Bristol has been my home for five years now and, although there were always different opportunities arising at Rolls-Royce, I decided it was time to look for some exciting new challenges in my work life.
Why Future Space?
Despite not pursuing engineering, I am passionate about science and technology. I believe they can have a hugely positive impact on society and economic development, not only through solving problems, but also in creating wealth and employment both regionally and nationally.
Future Space is an amazing hub where small-scale science and tech businesses are brought together with university research and can go on to produce incredible things. The role of centre director offered me the opportunity to contribute from my experience in business strategy but also to learn about the different business environment of growing SMEs.
How are you settling in so far?
I have been here for a couple of months now and, although my brain is jam-packed with new information and there have been different challenges to face every day, I’m enjoying it a lot.
There is a huge network of people that I have been getting to know, across Oxford Innovation, our businesses based here at the centre, the Bristol tech and entrepreneurship scene at large as well as the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) community too.
I have been really struck by how positive, engaging and friendly the network is – it’s an ecosystem (already picking up the lingo!) and it feels like everyone is genuinely in it to develop the region.
What do you hope to bring to Future Space as the new centre director?
In just two and a half years, something amazing has been created at Future Space but there’s a lot of potential for further collaboration and growth with the broader ecosystem in the South West.
Looking ahead, I’m excited about planning the next phase of development for Future Space and building relationships with businesses and decision-makers so we can work together for the benefit of the region. I’m passionate about developing and driving the strategies to provide support and generate investment in the sector.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
There are two that I am equally proud of. The first is a work project in Munich that I led, as part of which I set up a large service centre that brought together four international partners across France, Spain, Germany and the UK. Forming an international team from different companies and helping them work together to not only operate efficiently and deliver on contracts, but also to eventually become a tight group of colleagues and friends was a brilliant journey.
The second is my involvement in coaching and mentoring, both for teams that I have worked with at Rolls-Royce and for university students. Witnessing the development of these incredibly intelligent young people and knowing that I have been a part of their growth is something I am very proud of.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
My interests are another reason I love Bristol so much. I’m very in to the art scene and the diversity of it in the city is fantastic; the street art, the festivals, pop-ups, the general creative vibe. It’s great to be somewhere with such opportunity to take you out of day-to-day life and see something new almost every weekend.
What is the best piece advice you could give or have been given?
I think ‘never take life too seriously’ fits in with my philosophy on life. Another piece of advice that has helped me in recent years when making life or career choices is to take time to think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing, but also what you value. I think this comes a bit more naturally as you get older, but really it’s a great way of approaching things at any stage. For example, I am passionate about science and technology, but what I value is the social impact that it can have.
Who or what inspires you?
I have a very close group of friends from Paisley who have ended up all over the place in different careers and are all doing very well, as lawyers, teachers, COOs, etc. However, we always make time to get together back home and do what we used to love doing when we were younger (going to the football or an old favourite pub!). For that reason, these friends always inspire me; that we have done well, live separate lives, have started our own families but we always continue to be supportive of each other, keep each other grounded and remember where we came from.
What does the future hold for Future Space?
I think a great way to think about what’s in store for Future Space is ‘what do we want to be when we grow up?’ because there is so much more potential for growth and collaboration.
Being part of the University Enterprise Zone and being co-located with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Health Tech Hub, Future Space is in a position to develop as an anchor for business growth and innovation activities in the science and technology sectors.
With our tangible links to both academia and a growing number of case studies of the commercial success of our SMEs, we can play a serious part in attracting regional and national investment to the area while hopefully inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.