Richard Austin – New Business Director, KFA Connect
Richard Austin – Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Uncle, Friend, Confidant and KFA Director.
Richard never had any intentions of working in IT, it just happened!
Having failed my ‘A’ levels and taken a job at a local manufacturing company driving documents between manufacturing locations, because of my love of cars, I was encouraged by colleagues to apply for an internal opportunity as a trainee IBM S/38 developer.
I really wasn’t too sure it was for me, and besides, I was 18 and was loving driving the company brand new Astra GTE around for parts of the day! It was a big departure from driving my own 1964 Mini 850cc that rarely made it to my intended destination.
Have a Go!
Having been persuaded to at least ‘have a go’ and apply for the job, I passed the aptitude test and was offered the role. At this point, I think it’s safe to say, my life changed considerably for the better and my future became a lot brighter.
After a 10-week residential training course learning the S/38 from scratch and learning to program in RPG and CL, I returned to my employer and was immediately promoted from Trainee to Junior programmer. This was not through any skill on my part but through the necessity of trying to keep hold of staff in what was a very buoyant market.
Reaching the dizzy heights of Junior programmer wasn’t enough for me and when I was offered the role of programmer on the then-new AS/400, at a large American bank, I rewarded the company who had invested heavily in me by jumping at the opportunity. In this role, I grew my developer skills and gained significant operational experience particularly around IT security.
After 2 years I left the bank to go contracting at the age of 21.
The Next 20 Years…
Over a period of 20 years I worked predominantly in Finance for large multi-national banks and investment houses in the city of London. One year was spent living and working in Switzerland where my now wife and I caught the bug for skiing and snowboarding. Whenever I wanted to work nearer to home I took a break from Finance and worked in local Retail and Distribution contracts.
Always looking for new opportunities, I purchased one of the software houses I had been contracting at locally but was unable to make a success of the business and returned to contract in London where within 12 months I had set up a consultancy providing resources to the bank for support and development of their AS/400 application. This consultancy agreement remained in place for 10 years.
In 2011 I joined KFA as a contractor and was tasked with trying to re-vitalise the business with new ideas whilst helping to service the existing customer base. Within 2 years of joining, I became a 50% owner of the business through a Management Buyout with another colleague/friend at the company.
Throughout my 35 years in IT, the diversity of my roles in different organisations has led to a wealth of experience and a real understanding of how business works in both large and small organisations with exposure to many different areas of IT delivery, operations, and management.
I have always been someone who looks for a good balance between work and family. I love to travel and enjoyed playing golf regularly in my late 20s/early 30s before my wonderful children were born.
I have always lived along the South Coast from Portsmouth to Bournemouth and finally settled in the New Forest in 1996. The New Forest provides me and my family with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors walking, cycling and camper vanning.
My passion for a healthy life, both mentally and physically, is reflected in our ethos for the KFA team, encouraging hard work but plenty of time away from work to recharge, switch off and enjoy life.
Want to know more? Get in touch with our team today.