In Conversation with.....Joe GibsonFollow article
In this informal series our Grass Roots Intern, Meg Bray delves into each of our guest's backgrounds, explores what makes them 'tick' and poses a few questions about their future opportunities and aspirations.
So...why don't you grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee, kick back and relax as you read today's instalment of the BLT series interview by Meg as she talks to Joe, an electrical engineering student and member of our Fresh Advisors Board, also known as the Fab15.
Hi Joe, thanks for talking to me today. My first question is where did you go to university?
Joe: I went to the University of Strathclyde in Scotland where I studied electrical engineering for four years. It's great that there's an RS warehouse just around the corner so we could easily wander around and pick up a few bits!
What was one of your favourite parts of university?
Joe: It depends on the aspect. In terms of experience, it would be the people, societies and clubs but in terms of being at university, my startup wouldn't have been possible without going to university because of the experience linking back to societies.
You said how the societies were some of the best parts of the experience but were there any, in particular, you were part of?
Joe: I spent most of my time with the sailing club, that's my sport so I was a big part of that. Raced small boats and part of the British Championship. Peaked at the final, getting third or fourth place. The following year my friends and I all put in some money to rent a Yacht in Croatia for a week.
Going to Croatia must have been brilliant! Have you been anywhere else sailing?
Joe: We went to Greece where at one point we ended up meeting at connecting with some important people in business which was amazing for connections as they were some of the first people I got to give my business card to! So that experience really stood out. I also did some work with the IET on campus and some engineering societies.
You definitely had some very rich experiences. You have a lot of hobbies but what's one of your favourite ways to spend a day off?
Joe: Well if you ask my flatmate he would say I don't take days off! But in normal times I would want to be travelling, be out and about, sailing or swimming. I love water sports so anything I can get to be near or on the water. These days my version of fun is normally more productive like building artificial intelligence programmes, playing around with code or I built a beer pong table that was interactive and had a scoreboard on it.
That would be a great hit at parties and university societies!
Joe: Yeah! So a cup lights up when you get a ball in. It's pretty cool.
It sounds pretty cool! So, what is one thing that instantly makes your day better?
Joe: I like that question! Speaking to someone. Talking to someone about their experiences always makes my day better. I enjoy the positive vibes from other people, that might be why I enjoy networking so much as I get a buzz from other people. Lockdown was pretty difficult as I'm a driven individual but I enjoy talking and meeting and hearing about what drives them and find other people inspiring.
Virtual calls like 'Teams' have become so popular and are now the way to go as I think that's what keeping most people sane! How do you manage to keep yourself motivated?
Joe: I think it goes back to people. I know a lot of amazing engineers and it keeps me motivated to keep working. I remember back in October I was struggling with my startup and I had a call with amazing engineers from across the UK and most of them were doing start-ups or excelling in companies they joined and I was so inspired after that call I phoned the Ministry of Defence who I previously emailed for funding and the advice they gave, led to me gaining more traction and now waiting on feedback for that proposal. I find being part of the Fab15 helps motivate me as well as they are all incredible people and wanting to keep up with them really drives me. I also am quite an ambitious person, I have goals I want to achieve and I know this is the path to achieve them so wanting to reach the next goal drives me.
Hearing other peoples stories just helps realise that you can achieve the end goal. It just makes me think 'If someone else can do it, then why can't I?' And it just helps with the mindset. What do you think is your biggest career highlight so far?
Joe: I'm waiting to hear back if my patent has been granted which will hopefully be in the next few months - so that could be it. I would say getting a pre-seed investment for one of the hardest businesses to set up, hardware companies are the second hardest companies to start so it was a highlight as it gave me confidence, not just in my company but also in my experience and what led me to that moment. I won an award from the UK STEM award after pitching a UK aircraft carrier and that opened many doors so that's also a highlight.
Quite a few career highlights! Achieved a lot and you've definitely got a lot to be proud of. My final question is what do you want your Fab15 legacy to be?
Joe: I would like my legacy to be that I made a positive impact on Electrocomponents. A noticeable change, being able to know I helped the business. The Chariot Challenge the team and I are working on now could be an incredible thing to carry on and I would love for my company to possibly sponsor it in the future. I would also like to do what I can to help RS Components to help younger generations and make it more accessible for them giving them a great experience.