Ideaworks is full of people who have helped build and shape the company that we see today. About 11 years ago Ideaworks employed Brian Baker as a Hardware Technician. He had spent twenty years running his own business servicing domestic AV equipment but he found this role very different to what he was used to. “The first lesson I learnt about integrated electronics was that there was a distinct lack of knobs,” says Brian “Ideaworks were constantly looking to make technology work in ways the manufacturer hadn’t intended by wiring into everything. It was very exciting. Acronyms even make it sound exciting!” adds Brian “Everyone kept talking about ‘sweet sixteen’ which seemed a bit racy, until I learned Suite 16 was an ADA processor. It felt like I was learning a different language”.
Simon Daines, Engineering Director of Ideaworks explains “We officially employed Brian to modify equipment so it could work seamlessly with our control systems. However, his remit knew no bounds; plumbing, lifting… I genuinely don’t know where to begin with how much Brian actually does and can do. He holds legendary status at Ideaworks for the lengths he will go to in the pursuit of finding a solution to a problem”.
“Nobody ever lets me forget the tale of the noisy swimming pool” says Brian. “A subcontractor had implemented a sonar system in a Client’s swimming pool to detect if someone went into the water. There was a fault which kept randomly triggering the alarm linked to their tannoy system; understandably, the Clients were going insane”. Brian came to the rescue. “All you need to do is imagine me barefoot with my trousers rolled up, trying to relay messages to a guy in a scuba suit, juggling 200 ft of wire to fit a new sensor, all the while trying not to cause a massive flood. It was one of those career defining moments”.
Brian will be retiring at the end of this month so he can continue to pursue his active roles within the Kent community. Outside of work, Brian’s interests have always been many and varied. Despite his protests at the validity of this accolade, he is regarded a local historian; leading history tours and writing a weekly history article for the ‘Whitstable Times’. “I have always been interested in local history,” explains Brian “I delved into my own background and learnt, as early as 1725, my family were oyster dredgers in Whitstable. It’s probably why I am so passionate about the place”. He firmly believes in putting something back into his hometown. Current roles include; sitting on the Board of Directors for Canterbury Cathedral Archives and being part of the management team for Whitstable Maritime. In April 2015 he was elected as a Councillor for Canterbury City Council “To say I was shocked to be voted in is an understatement,” says Brian “I am still ridiculed for being the first ever candidate to argue an electoral result in their favour”.
Despite all of Brian’s achievements, personally and professionally, he remains uncomfortable with praise. “I just don’t think anything that I do is particularly special,” he says “I just like to get things done, I guess. I don’t believe in walking past problems. If I see one, I deal with it. Even if I don’t have a solution at first, I always find a way”. From Ideaworks’ perspective, it’s this exact attitude which has made Brian such a valuable employee, colleague and friend. “On behalf of everyone at Ideaworks I wish Brian all the best as he gets his teeth into his next challenge” says Simon. “He never stops looking for improvements or finding ingenious solutions. What he has accomplished for our Clients and our company has never fallen short of amazing, we will all miss him very much.”