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                        4 min read

                        Meet our Chief Technical Officer, Brad Leach

                        brad-leach

                        Behind the Plant Assessor platform is an incredible team, guided by leaders with decades of experience.

                        In our ‘meet the team’ series, we’re sitting down with key people at Plant Assessor, to go behind the scenes and hear about the exciting things going on across the business.

                        Brad, Chief Technical Officer. Let’s get to know the man behind the title. Tell us a little about yourself.

                        I’m Newcastle born, but my career has taken me all over the world. I’ve worked here in Newy, and as far away as London on some amazing projects. I’m excited to be back in Newcastle, working for a local company doing some exciting things in this space.

                        I’m married with two kids, and spend time outside of work doing a lot of family things. I’m a bit of a gamer on the side, and love to get my bikes out – whether mountain biking or on-road.

                        I’ve been in the tech space for about 26 years; since the dawn of internet based services, really. It has been a fascinating journey, sometimes frustrating – but overall, I’m thrilled to be working in this industry with technology where it is.

                         

                        Let’s get into your role. In a nutshell, what does a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) do?

                        CTO can be a varied role and – depending on the size of the organisation – can encompass a few different responsibilities. As CTO at Plant Assessor, my main responsibility is developing solutions for our customers’ challenges, and ensuring our platform is available and maintained. 

                        I support an incredible team in making strategic technical decisions about the future direction of products. The platforms we choose, our roadmap of features, right down to the user experience.

                         

                        What does a typical day look like for you?

                        There is no ‘typical day’ for a CTO! My primary task is to look inward and make sure the team is supported, nurtured and has everything they need to do their job with enjoyment, satisfaction and growth. 

                        Daily tasks can involve anything from looking at security reports to ensure we have the correct variables in place, researching tech to keep our finger on the pulse of innovation, or looking at latest trends in UX or UI design to make sure we’re at the leading edge in accessibility.

                        But I also spend a lot of time talking to people across the business to get a clear picture of where we’re at. That way, I can ensure that product features are meeting customer needs, and setting requirements for new developments. I need to be hearing about problems, to ensure we’re building the correct solutions.

                         

                        Have you always wanted to work in this field? What led you to where you are today?

                        I actually wanted to work in this field to help people; and pair that with an interest I’ve always had in software and technology. I started learning in 1986, and at age 13 I purchased a programming language to learn how to code… and the rest is history!

                        Once I got into the industry, I found it to be different to what I thought it would be – which was a good thing! There’s a typical stereotype of the ‘introverted developer’, which simply isn’t accurate. It’s more about building good relationships with people, understanding needs, and developing coherent solutions.

                        My passion is building products and solving problems. I get a real buzz from taking a difficult issue, and finding the perfect way to solve it.

                         

                        Do you have a favourite project that you’ve worked on or delivered in the past?

                        Speaking of wanting to work in the field to help people, a very satisfying project was working with Kip McGrath in 2016, in which we delivered a solution that helped over 40,000 kids per week to learn to read and write. 

                        It was incredible to see how things we developed directly helped these kids grow up to lead a fulfilling life.

                         

                        Give us a few facts, figures or info about your department and how it’s structured

                        I lead a rapidly growing team, who work across a variety of roles in engineering, design, product support and intellectual property. It’s a bit of an unusually wide portfolio – but I like that it allows me to get a thorough understanding of what’s going on across multiple teams, any pain points we have, and to ensure we’re firing on all cylinders.

                        We’re working hard to grow sustainably – and quickly! – to support the rapid growth of Plant Assessor and the exciting roadmap of products we’ve scoped.

                         

                        What would you say is critical to the success of your team?

                        Communication is the number one thing. I value engineers that can talk – and it’s an incredible skill to have at Plant Assessor. I need my team to be able to talk to each other, and with me, about projects we’re working on, issues, and ideas. 

                        When recruiting talent into the team, I look for smart people willing to learn. I don’t care about your degree or your background. If you want to put the effort into working hard and learning, you’ll find a place here.

                        We are an incredibly diverse team – and that’s critical. Age, gender, or anything else is no barrier. We have a junior software developer in the team who is 60 years old – and he’s phenomenal!

                         

                        What attracted you to Plant Assessor?

                        At the end of the day, I love that my work contributes to people not dying. I believe that Plant Assessor saves lives – and I am fully sold on the product. I believe that everyone deserves to go to work and come home safely, and we’re helping people do that.

                        As for the role, the CTO position happened to be the perfect alignment of skill set, opportunity and technical expertise. I felt like I could provide good insight and add a lot of value to the position – and to join at such an exciting time in Plant Assessor’s history – right on the edge of some explosive growth – is exciting!

                         

                        What are you excited about for the future of PA?

                        Plant Assessor could turn into the next unicorn. The market is ready for this product. We’re going to go gangbusters if we continue to grow and execute our ambitious roadmap in the right way — and we’re going to help a lot of people.

                        I’m very excited to see the team at Plant Assessor grow. It’s an incredible group of people, and being able to grow and nurture individuals to reach their full potential and thrive is a real privilege. 

                        There is so much potential in the building, it’s unreal.

                         

                        For anyone wanting to join your team, Brad, what does it take? Any advice for others looking for a career in this space?

                        Embrace that you will be continually learning throughout your career. Tech, in the grand scheme of things, is still fairly new and evolving all the time.

                        My best advice? Be curious and willing to learn. Work hard. Contribute wherever you can. And work on those communication skills!

                         

                        Looking for a career in the tech space? We’re always on the lookout for exceptional talent to join our team. Find out what roles are available, and how to apply, by emailing careers@assessor.com.au, or call 1300 728 852