Dave Williams is Immense's Solutions Director, cricket fan and Transport Tycoon expert!
Tell us a bit about what you do at Immense?
I’m the Solutions Director – this means I’m responsible for working with our partners and clients to develop and deliver implementations of our technology. I’m a transport specialist above all else, so a big part of my job is working with clients to come up with solutions to their transport, infrastructure and mobility problems. Internally, I need to interact with our development and applications teams to feedback what the market needs, to ensure we are delivering, and to keep up with how the platform is evolving!
How did you find out about Immense and become involved in the company?
I’ve worked in transport for nearly 14 years, concentrating on future mobility in the last 5, so have been aware of Immense since the start. The industry is quite small, so I’ve crossed paths with Didac, Carl and Robin often, especially to do with things around autonomous vehicles.
I think I’ve known Robin for nearly a decade since he was my PhD supervisor at Imperial, so when the opportunity came up to get involved with Immense, I jumped at the chance. A lot has happened in the intervening period! My career has involved consultancy, research and the public sector – so a technology focused SME seemed like the logical next step!
What is the best part about working at Immense?
The environment is fantastic – people are so dedicated to deliver and are immensely proud of what we have achieved. All the hard work that has been put into the platform is really paying off and it makes my job much easier – we’re not talking about potential solutions or hypotheticals – we can show people things that really work!
What would you say is the most challenging part of the job?
The scale of opportunity that sits before us can be a bit daunting at times. We’re a small team with big ambitions, and that inevitably means working across lots of different projects, markets and clients. It’s important to stay organised (not my best attribute) and to make sure we’re providing an Immense service through our products.
In my role a big challenge is to educate people on our approaches. People are used to entrenched ways of thinking and familiar methods – it’s up to us to demonstrate the benefit of solutions through Immense.
What advice would you give to those who are looking to get into STEM careers?
Make sure you’re following what you enjoy! STEM careers are really broad so there’s something for everyone, and lots of different routes into different parts of the industry. Professional bodies, like the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, produce a lot of material on the different career pathways – it’s definitely worth reaching out and getting some advice.
What’s been your biggest career achievement so far?
I’m really proud of lots of projects I’ve been involved with, and to have gained chartered engineer status. But just for the sheer relief of finishing, it has to be completing my PhD. It was hard work at times, but I had a chance to work with some fantastic people and learnt more than I could have imagined. Understanding problems and coming up with solutions is my favourite part of the job, and doctoral research completely changed how I do this.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
I’m not sure I ever gave it any thought! For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in transport networks and systems, including playing a lot of Transport Tycoon when I was younger (and maybe even a bit now).
What do you think the future of mobility looks like?
Automated, connected, electric and shared! One of the most important things to acknowledge about the future of mobility is that it’s tremendously uncertain. We’re going through a period of massive disruption across these themes, which is a key reason why solutions such as Immense are so important. Crucially, we need to recognise that we get a say in what the future of mobility looks like. We need to identify the outcomes we want – safer roads, cleaner air, less congestion – and then identify the technology enablers to get us there.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the industry?
The transport industry has traditionally been quite slow to adapt to new technologies and new techniques. This is something that needs to change if we want to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the future of mobility. Now that transport is on the front page for good reasons instead of bad, we need to cut through the hype and lay a solid foundation for the future of the industry. One area that’s really important is making sure we have the right skills available, and to inspire the next generation to get involved in transport, infrastructure and mobility!
When you’re not working what are your hobbies and interests?
These days my major hobbies are relaxing and playing board games with my fiancée and (future Immense mascot) Marmalade the cat. Marmalade usually wins. We’re also fortunate to live in Cambridge where there’s lots to do and see – so when we are here, we like to visit some of the museums and learn something new!
If you were stuck on desert island and could take three things with you what would they be?
I would say my fiancée and my cat, but I’m not sure they’d take too kindly to be called ‘things’! An axe, a desalinator and a radio so I can keep up with the cricket.
You can find out more about Immense and our other team members here.