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Movers & shakers: Linda Smith joins LINZ; Adam Gower now head of digital operations at Watercare

Movers & shakers: Linda Smith joins LINZ; Adam Gower now head of digital operations at Watercare

Plus: New datacentre and offices of ACSData in Wellington; LearnCoach co-founder David Cameron; Phil Goldie of Microsoft; Gerard O’Connor of PDV

Linda Smith at a CIO roundtable discussion in Wellington

Linda Smith at a CIO roundtable discussion in Wellington

Linda Smith is now programme director - STEP Survey and Title Enhancement Programme, rebuilding Landonline at Land Information New Zealand. Prior to this, she was with Earthquake Commission for seven years, moving from chief information officer to the of head of business enablement.

Adam Gower has joined Watercare as their head of digital operations.

The role forms a core part of the wider, newly-formed digital function, which combines the legacy IT teams with several other new capabilities including Analytics and Insights and a new Innovations team.

Reporting into Watercare’s chief digital officer, Rebecca Chenery, Gower aims to create an operations team and culture that puts customers first, providing reliability and stability as Auckland’s lifeline utility provider of water and water services.

Adam Gower, left, with senior digital operations team member Richard Adams
Adam Gower, left, with senior digital operations team member Richard Adams

“Early days in Watercare reveal a company that’s committed to making changes that will benefit the people of Auckland” says Gower. “I’m thrilled to be leading and shaping a team central to Watercare’s ability to adapt to the changing expectations people increasingly have of utilities”.

He joins Watercare following technology leadership roles with Mercury, Foodstuffs North Island and Genesis Energy.

LearnCoach co-founder David Cameron (left) with brother and co-founder Mark Cameron
LearnCoach co-founder David Cameron (left) with brother and co-founder Mark Cameron

Wellington-based education social enterprise LearnCoach has closed a $1.5m seed round to help scale up its online education platform.

LearnCoach creates video tutorials to teach NCEA subjects for students who can’t be in a physical classroom, or for those who want to extend beyond their classroom learning.Around 150,000 students throughout New Zealand view the lessons more than a million times, every year.

“Right now, students are telling us they want lots more courses than LearnCoach has been able to make,” says co-founder and 2018 Young New Zealander of the Year David Cameron.

“It’s a good problem to have but we need to quickly ramp up the amount of online lessons we offer and that’s what our seed round money will allow us to do.

“We’ve just employed 30 full-time teachers and tutors to create video lessons over the summer, in time for the start of the 2019 school year.”

Investors in the seed round include: rich-lister Danny Chan who co-founded NZ’s largest education company, ACG; Andrew Preston, founder of Publons, the world’s largest academic peer review platform; and Eden Ventures, who led the round and wants to take the low-cost school system to Asia.

Cameron founded LearnCoach with wife, Deborah Lambie, and brother, Mark Cameron, in 2012.

He was a teacher at the time and initially wanted a way to be able to give more support to his students than the time and resource constraints of the job allowed him.

This year, the company began offering students the ability to gain NCEA credits online through LearnCoach, thanks to its partnership with NZQA-approved The Learning Place.

Cameron says this will allow for “digital schools” in underserved locations or communities, such as refugee camps.

“This seed money will help us scale faster and reach more students with more relevant tutorials to help them succeed.”

Mayor Ray Wallace and ACSData CEO Daniel Giddens during the launch last week
Mayor Ray Wallace and ACSData CEO Daniel Giddens during the launch last week

Ray Wallace, Lower Hutt City mayor, was guest of honour during the opening of the new datacentre and offices of ACSData.

As part of our continued growth, we have recently taken over the IBM datacentre at 25 Victoria Street, Petone, Wellington, which has now become the ‘ACSData Centre’, says Karen Vincent, director of sales and marketing.

“We now have the newest 2N Data Centre in Wellington and are looking forward to helping existing and new customers with their requirements,” says Vincent. 

She explains ACSData provides connectivity to corporate and government organisations, and not residential. “We specialise in working with mission critical customers who require reliability of supply such as airports, hospitals and financial institutions.

Phil Goldie, director of commercial and partner business at Microsoft New Zealand will be returning to Australia as Microsoft’s senior director, small, medium and corporate business based in Sydney. Microsoft is now seeking a replacement for Goldie before he takes up his new position on April 1, 2019.

Microsoft says it is a high-profile appointment that involves working with tech partners and educating Kiwi developers on the capabilities of Microsoft technology such as Azure, Office 365 and Windows 10.

Phil Goldie
Phil Goldie

“I always tell people this is the coolest gig in the New Zealand tech scene because Microsoft runs the biggest global partner ecosystem of any tech company, so if you’re looking for a channel role it’s the best one there is,” says Goldie.

Long-time engineering manager Gerard O’Connor has been named as the managing director of Hamilton-based global process and chemical engineering firm PDV Consultants.

PDV Consultants is a global expert in food processing technologies and systems design, headquartered in Hamilton, New Zealand, with an office in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Many of their projects for global food manufacturers involve spray dryer and evaporation technology.

As PDV’s former engineering manager for the Asia-Pacific region, O’Connor has designed and managed many large scale client projects in New Zealand, Indonesia, the USA, the UK, Australia and China over the past two decades.

PDV’s team of chemical, process and mechanical engineers have delivered projects for clients including Fonterra, Tatua, the Dairy Goat Cooperative, Danone, Glanbia (Ireland and USA), Dairiconcepts (USA), First Milk (UK), South West Cheese and more

The company was founded 28 years by David and Anne Platts, who have announced their retirement from the firm at the end of November.  

Since opening in 1990, PDV has grown from two to 25 staff – including 21 in the firm’s Alexandra Street headquarters and four international staff based in Ireland.

Gerard O’Connor
Gerard O’Connor

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