Godfrey Ryan is sales and marketing director and co-owner of Waviatech. Founded in 2002 and based near Gatwick, Waviatech provides scanning services and proprietary software to airlines, lessors and MROs
Have you always been interested in aviation?
My first spin in an aircraft was when I was six, in a light aircraft - that got me interested. When I was in my teens I looked into doing my pilot's licence, but because of my eyesight I was told I'd never be a commercial pilot.
That quenched my enthusiasm for a while. But in my twenties, after finishing university and working in telecommunications, I took a career break and did my PPL in South Africa followed by a working holiday in New Zealand.
I decided then that when I moved back to Europe I wanted to work within aviation, in sales and marketing. If I couldn't become a commercial pilot, then the next best thing for me would be working in an industry that I'm passionate about. My dentist in New Zealand was an Irish girl and her brother is Karl Scanlon, who started Waviatech.
How has Waviatech evolved since you joined?
In that three-and-a-half years the number of people employed has increased fourfold. Our clients in the beginning were leasing companies first and foremost, but now we're also dealing with airlines.
Are people starting to pay more attention to the quality of records?
Everybody knows that records can be problematic, both operationally for the airlines and for the leasing companies who have to deal with them at transition. Up to the creation of Stream, which is our software product, people didn't regard scanning as an alternative to having access to the physical records.
But Stream is getting known in the market as a viable way for an airline to manage their records archive, and it's becoming very popular in the leasing business We've been involved in several airline bankruptcies in the last six months - Sterling, XL and Futura - where our clients have benefited greatly from having us there to scan the records into Stream and make them available to start the transition process, where otherwise the records could be impounded by the administrator.
What are the major challenges that you face?
The challenge for our organisation, as we grow, is to maintain the quality of our service for our clients, so that we don't suffer what a lot of small companies do: they come up with a good idea, they become too big too quickly, and their service, quality and communication falter.
Do you have teams working onsite with customers now?
We've got a full-time scanning operation at Gatwick, serving mainly UK and Irish airlines, and then we have the mobile scanning service on the road for the leasing companies. Right now we've got three people in Thailand and four people in the Mediterranean area, and we've got projects lined up in several far-flung areas over the next couple of months. We also have our software licence customer, Compass Airlines in the USA.
How do you intend to grow the business?
In the short term we're going to ramp up resources to cope with expected demand for our mobile services from leasing companies in light of the current climate The next thing will be to target the defence and business aviation markets in the UK and Ireland, and then the medium-term plan is to commercialise the Stream software for mass airline use.
What do you look for in people when you're recruiting?
We have a mixture of experienced aviation professionals who are the records experts in our company - they come from airline or MRO records backgrounds - and we combine them with locally sourced staff. We want people who have the right attitude, are flexible to travel at short notice and are IT literate.