Dave Potter, Senior Director for ISD Service and Infrastructure, Asda

By Dave Potter, Senior Director for ISD Service and Infrastructure, Asda

 

My tech career all happened by accident. It came about by chance, by luck and being given the opportunity to get involved in some interesting things.

When I was growing up I wanted to be an accountant as my dad was a financial director. I read economics at Manchester University, but by my second year I realised a career in finance would be boring and turned to sales and marketing instead.

My career ventured into retailing with Magnet, until I got disillusioned after six years and saw an advert for warehouse manager at a company called Bonzai. They were the third largest PC dealership in the country and supplied equipment to large corporate companies.

My interest in technology grew and from shipping out PCs, I became operations manager responsible for a team of 20 people who built the computers and the returns team who repaired and fixed them.

When the recession hit in the 1980s, a friend introduced me to a start-up company called Business Superstore, which sold office supplies and PCs. The first store opened the week after PC World began trading and the business was eventually sold.

I decided to move back to Yorkshire and got a job in a store before moving into a head office role at Asda House in 1994. I ran an ISD project developing the first scheduling system to understand what we needed on the tills and in the warehouse at any given time.

I moved onto writing some simple technology for sales and stock ordering for our stores, so managers could understand what they need and when – it was the beginning of Asda’s supply chain system.

Opportunities to progress at Asda kept coming my way and I moved into managing retail systems. I then became Head of Infrastructure before moving onto my current role as Senior Director for ISD Service and Infrastructure. A large part of what I introduced is still there in stores and throughout the business even though we have introduced more sophisticated and expensive systems.

My advice to someone who is thinking about working in technology would be that it isn’t all about the money. Job satisfaction is important – you need to enjoy what you do because you spend a lot of your life at work. Money and rewards come to people who take responsibility, prove themselves and work hard –you need to push yourself to achieve, don’t expect anyone else to do it for you.

 

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