Smarter Grid Solutions

Smarter Grid Solutions – a spin-out from the University of Strathclyde, producing pioneering digital technology – is expanding at an impressive rate. We spoke to Chief Executive Gerry Docherty about what it’s like to work in such a niche market, and the company’s opportunity to capture a large share of an explosive market.

Gerry Docherty, CEO, Smarter Grid Solutions

Smarter Grid Solutions

We produce software technology which is used to manage the grid edge in an electricity network. It’s a technical challenge to integrate renewables, like solar panels and wind farms, onto the national grid.

Our technology sits between those distributed energy resources and the grid, and helps to manage that integration. The work that we do is highly innovative and technically-challenging.

The company spun out of the University of Strathclyde in 2008, and we now have more than 40 employees in Glasgow, with other offices in London and New York. We’ve grown by 50 per cent over the past year, and that’s the rate of growth we’d expect to continue to have over the next couple of years.

I came out of retirement to join the company as a non-executive board member, as I love the combination of engineering and technology. I was delighted when the company gave me the opportunity to become Chief Executive.

Working for Smarter Grid Solutions

We operate in a very niche area which is developing very quickly. Our products are the first of their kind in the marketplace, so if we can roll them out across the UK over the next few years, then we believe we can take a major market share.

We’re looking for skills in three areas. The first is in power systems analysis, so we need people who understand power systems and grid systems in great detail. The second area is digital technology, which includes software engineers and systems engineers. The combination of these talents allows us to come up with smart solutions, but unfortunately both the power systems analysis talent pool and the digital technology talent pool are areas of shortage across Europe.

Lastly, we’re looking for skilled people with experience in sales, marketing, finance and other support functions who can grasp a very young, unusual, dynamic, high-quality organisation. We want people who can come in and spend time getting to know what the business is, and help to drive and support the work that we do.

For us, it’s about attitude. Although we’re fast-paced, we need people who are well-organised and are confident enough to contribute and make their mark as part of a team. We’re looking for diligent, high-quality engineers who love a challenge and want to be part of something new and dynamic.

Working in Scotland

We employ people from all across Europe who think that Scotland – and particularly Glasgow, where we’re based – is a wonderful place to live and work. The fact that Strathclyde University is considered a Centre of Excellence in this particular domain means that there’s already a solid base here, and an opportunity to come and work somewhere with an excellent international reputation.

When people come and put down roots in Scotland, we find that everyone seems to enjoy it. We don’t see many people rushing to leave.