I’ve been incredibly lucky. I work in an industry I love, with people and subjects I care about. Not everyone can say that.
My life-long love of the internal combustion engine is tempered by the knowledge that the future doesn’t involve it and our destiny is probably full electric. I’m making the most of the sound of the Mezger flat six, while at the same time, fascinated by the new technologies rapidly spreading across our world.
Not just in automotive terms, the modern digital world we live in is inspirational and allows a level of democracy like never before. In theory, we have ways to communicate, feed, clothe and protect everyone. We have few excuses. We just need to grasp the opportunities that are right there before us.
I have a firm belief that the future is an exciting place to consider and that today is an exciting time to be writing, marketing and producing content.
It is a fascinating journey we all face, both technically and socially.
The Long Biography
Sometimes, people like to know how I arrived at this point, so here’s a timeline of how I’ve arrived where I am today.
Born in Middlesbrough, a town currently a pale shadow if it’s former self, probably my earliest recollection of influence was my grandfather who served in the Royal Air Force as an engineer in World War Two.
Probably my happiest memories are of sitting on his knee at Christmas time listening to stories of fixing Lancasters in winter time Europe, then American Douglas Boston bombers in the blazing heat of Africa. He gave me a life-long love of aviation and an interest in our history that has proved to be so important to me.
Combine my grandfather’s influence with me sitting fascinated by with black and white TV images of Jackie Stewart in an ELF Tyrrell and playing with an old steering wheel one day, you can see where this is heading.
My objective to join the Royal Air Force recieved a seismic shift with the passing of my step father. Additionally, the RAF suggested I should go get some A Levels and then come back. I got the A Levels, English and Engineering Drawing, but then through a summer job, I discovered that in the motor industry I could money right away. My first big pay cheque got me a Nikon F801 SLR.
1984 – 1999 – I was incredibly lucky to be mentored and introduced into the automotive industry by someone who cared about customer service and building long term relationships with people. Looking back I was very fortunate and enjoyed many happy years selling brands such as Toyota and Lexus, together with periods selling specialist cars including Jaguar, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Eighteen happy years later, I looked across the showroom. I saw the cynical old sales guy in the corner with the shiny desk. Slightly overweight, with the grey hair, grey suit, grey tie, grey shoes and with ‘Please shoot me’ on his forehead.
While I dearly loved the motor industry, I realised that could easily be me one day and I decided I was done. I had to leave.
1999 – 2003 After three years of working in the vipers nest that is motorsport management, I suddenly find myself being paid for photography and writing. Something I’d never have guessed when I was sitting on my grandfather’s knee talking about aeroplanes.
This could be a new career.
2003 – 2009 I spent several happy years shooting automotive editorial features with words and pictures, before the steady decline of photography rates, the deluge of cheap digital imaging coupled with my increasing love of writing and production mean that I spent a little less time behind the camera and more time looking around me at the bigger picture.
2009 – Present Day – My history of selling, creating features, website design, driving experience, marketing and other elements all began to come together into a skill set that is probably not unique, but certainly rather unusual.
As the modern digital world opens up opportunities as never before, I find that my diverse experience is in demand by publishers, brands, colleagues and other organisations.
I created Winward Media to encompass film production, digital marketing, social media training and all of the other elements.
Today, everyone can be a publisher. This is, of course, a double edged sword as there are some truly horrific examples of writing out there in the digital landscape.
However, I find this world an incredibly exciting place to work and the future could be a peaceful and revolutionary place for us all, if we can just reach out and make the best of it.
My love of the sound of a well tuned internal combustion engine has never abated. But I know that the future doesn’t involve it.
Instead, we have exciting new methods of transportation, methods of communication, feeding one another and of medical care that means that the future doesn’t have to have a Mad Max scenario.
I will continue to write of my love for the Cosworth DFV, the Porsche flat six and the Rolls Royce Merlin. But expect an awful lot more about the future and the society we live in too.
I’ve been very lucky. Let’s hope it continues.