- Name: Geoff Parker
- Job title: Co-Founder of Scimcon
- Pets: A Chocolate Labrador, who eats enough for 10
- Favourite animal: Red squirrel
- Favourite food: Sushi
- Favourite film: Forbidden Planet
- Fun fact: I played Angel Gabriel in the school nativity.
What do you enjoy the most about working at Scimcon?
That’s an easy question, I love the constantly changing challenges that informatics consultancy throws up and helping customers and our own internal teams to creatively meet those challenges.
We help customers in pharma, biopharma, and clinical trials to identify and evaluate the goals and challenges ahead and use this to influence information system strategies. We assist with programme and project direction; vendor and product selection (of LIMS, SDMS, ELNs and ePRO solutions); and to drive successful software implementations.
The works is often equal parts frustrating, challenging, and exciting but as people who have been involved in this type of work will recognise, it is ultimately extremely rewarding.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am somewhat cursed by having multiple passions to fit into my spare time. Being a keen mountain biker, avid photographer and relentless traveller does present some time-management dilemmas.
Photography is something I have been fascinated by since I was at school, and is something that I have picked up and put down intermittently since then. However, three years ago I was lucky enough to spend a week riding bikes with a professional photographer and this really inspired me to develop my skills and style. You can view some of my results of my photography journey on my portfolio site.
My addiction to mountain biking started when I moved to Scotland ten years ago, as there is some of the best riding in the world, right here. The mixture of physical demands, technical riding skills and the pure pleasure of being surrounded by forest and mountains has proved irresistible. Not that the abundance of local riding has stopped me traveling with my bike. Ten years of truly amazing riding has taken me to some of the best trails in Morocco, Nepal, USA, New Zealand, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Chile! Like most people, I am looking forward to when travel once again becomes possible, then maybe I can put my planned trips to Kyrgyzstan and Bhutan into action.
What is your favourite travel destination?
I’m not sure I can pick a favourite, as it depends on the activity involved. For a chilled afternoon walk drinking coffee, I would have to say San Francisco. Relaxed attitude, wide open streets and great culture make it a hard place to beat.
For mountain biking, it could be any of those places I mentioned above. My trip spending a week on HMS Gassten, a converted World War Two minesweeper, with a group of good friends riding high above the fjords in Norway deserves special mention. Also, I think Nepal’s Mustang Valley was a special trip. Amazing culture, fantastic people, and as for those mountains – they build them big over there!
2020/21 has been an interesting year – how has it impacted you outside of work?
The biggest difference is that I have been at home for the longest period in about 22 years! In the last 12 months, I have only managed to travel down to our office in Newmarket twice (from my home in Scotland). I would normally travel 2 or 3 weeks out of 4, so it has been a big change.
Distancing from family and friends has also been difficult, as it has for most. I have stayed in touch as much as possible with family and friends the same way anyone else has; telephone calls, meeting in car parks and standing 4 metres apart, in addition to several Zoom quizzes!
Scimcon as a business is deeply rooted in technology – but how technology-oriented are you? What devices do you use?
I have had a long fascination with technology, which of course in part has led to my role at Scimcon. We have obviously come a long way since I first became involved in technology. I started programming on home computers during the explosion of affordable devices in the UK during the early 1980s.
Everything has continued to stem from there, to a point where I’m now the co-founder of a scientific technology consultancy, using technology to drive change and deliver scientific value.
In terms of devices, I use pretty much anything you can imagine. I have electronic shifting on a couple of my bikes, and I have some amazing camera equipment that even five years ago would have been inconceivable.
Does your use of technology differ outside of work?
I don’t think my use of technology in my everyday is too different to how I would use it at work. At Scimcon we try to use technology in a way that enhances people’s work lives, so that they can focus on what is important. If I look at technology in bikes and cameras, what excites me is the same thing – not the technology itself, but what it allows you to do.
For example, when I started photography at school, the process was incredibly different to how it is now. You tried different methods of taking photographs and would be left with a roll of film afterwards that if you were lucky, you’d get developed a week later. Of course, you could guarantee that you would get the photos back after all that time and wonder “what on earth was I trying to do?” Nowadays, we have digital cameras, so you take the photo, see the result, and if it does not work you can just try again instantly.
That’s exactly how we try to use technology at Scimcon. We don’t want technology to get in the way or slow down the result you want to achieve, we want it to enable you to do the work you are trying to do – whether that’s riding bikes, taking photographs, or integrating your LIMS to streamline your workflow.