Great People: Introducing Gary Trimnell

Buckle in for an epic tale.

This is a story about a man who landed his first summer job in 1997 and was delighted to be paid in chicken sandwiches. But talk about right place, right time; thanks to the Internet boom of the late 90's, he found himself tackling HTML and Flash Animation. 24 years (and many chicken sandwiches later) he's one of the most experienced and knowledgeable people at Great State.

Introducing our Technical Director (and one of our most long-standing employees), Gary Trimnell.

Who are you and what do you do?

Hello! I’m Gary and I’m Technical Director at Great State. I lead the technical strategy and delivery at Great State.

I define the strategic technical direction for the agency, providing technical consultancy and advice to our clients to help them make the right technology choices to meet their business ambitions and maximise ROI. I’m lucky to lead our experienced Engineering, QA, IT and Managed Services teams to deliver scalable, secure and robust technical solutions to a high standard.

How did you get to be here?

Rewinding back to a much younger me in October 1997, fresh out of college with a Diploma in Audio Visual Design and a video portfolio, I passed my CV to anyone and everyone.

New Generation Productions picked up the phone to me and offered me the chance to work for sandwiches (chicken mayo, thick white bread, no butter and a sprinkle of salt, to be exact) for the summer, which for some reason at the time I thought was a great idea, but it did keep me off the streets and would let me apply the things that I had learnt at college - looking back now it was not only a great idea but one of the best decisions I had ever made.

Luckily for me, the job came about at the very moment the internet was just taking off. It gave me the opportunity to teach myself everything from building websites HTML to 3D and flash animation to CD-ROMS and everything in between.

As the internet continued to mature and the types of roles at New Generation Productions began to diversify, I found myself naturally more suited to the technical side of things. If you haven’t figure it out yet, Great State started out as New Generation Productions, before changing name to E3 Media and today, Great State. And so, over the past 26 years I have progressed up through the ranks holding various roles; from Full-Stack Software Engineer to Technical Architect, Head of Engineering and today, Technical Director.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently focusing on how we can harness the power of AI within our software delivery workflows to deliver the digital products and services we create our clients in a more efficient way. This is in a bid to optimise our clients’ budgets and maximise the value back to their businesses and their customers. In turn, we’d also be enhancing the developer experience and wider operational efficiency of the agency and in doing so, our talented team can utilise their extremely valuable brain power on solving the big challenges for our clients rather than simple, repetitive tasks.

However, whilst the capabilities and promise of AI is mind-blowing, it has to be applied in a considered way, so I am also focused on creating an AI & Data Strategy for the agency so that we can reap the benefits from its use, but also ensure we are doing so in a way that is responsible, safe, secure and considers the environmental and social impacts of its use.   

How do you know when you’ve produced something great?

First and foremost, it has to have exceeded the clients and their user’s expectations and smashed the KPIs. But there is a real buzz in the air when a project team has created something they are collectively proud of.

As an engineer, this applies to things that happen behind the scenes and when someone takes the time to praise you on the quality of the code, the clever use of a technology, approach or the seamless transition on the site. There’s real satisfaction in the small details that have had some real love, attention and craft put into them. And finally, who doesn’t love a good award, there is a level of pride to be recognised by your peers within industry, too.

What excites you about your work?

I get the opportunity to work with some extremely talented people and am very lucky to have the team I have (they make my life easy). I get to explore the latest technologies and I work with some amazing clients who have different challenges to overcome. I love that I work across a big array of sectors and can apply my skillset in a way that makes a material impact on their business and customers.

What excites you in life?

I’m a real geek at heart and I really do love technology. I love spending time with my family and watching my children grow, I also have a passion for creating art, cooking, cycling (apparently 6 bikes is too many for one person???). I love spending time outdoors and watching the Rugby (up The Bears!). So, anytime I can combine any of these, I’m all in. I am currently building an outdoor kitchen and putting my Bluetooth meat thermometer to the test on the new grill (some say its cheating, I say its smart).

What is the future of tech looking like to you?

In see the future of technology as a tool for inclusivity, particularly for those who are neurodiverse.  Supporting them with tailored education pathways as well as everyday life to build upon the unique strengths and talents that everyone can bring to a community or workplace.

I would also like think that technology will bring us closer to reality rather than further away. Encouraging us to interact with the world and the people around us without the need to be plugged into a VR headset 24 hrs a day and raising our heads up from the zombie like state we have developed, constantly looking at our phones.

The future I look forward to is one where technology supports and enhances human experience, not replaces it.

Ask a question back. What do you want to know?

To AI or not to AI that is the question. (But don't ask AI).

What's the next step?

You can talk to Gary any about your technical ambitions for your organisation. Details of how to reach him are here.

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