Meet... the managing director

Meet... the managing director

Matt Gilmartin, Managing Director, Concept Smoke Screen

Who are you then, and what do you do?
I'm Matt Gilmartin, the Managing Director of Concept Smoke Screen Ltd. The head honcho, the big cheese - he who sits on a pedestal. Well, actually, that's not the way I see the role I fulfil for the business at all, as I'll explain.

What's your background?
I had a slightly unconventional entrance into the security industry, having joined a business that supplied products to the quarrying industry to help out for a couple of weeks. The two weeks I was meant to be with the quarrying company turned into two years, and I acted in that time as a product manager for some innovative rock breaking devices.

As it turned out, the quarrying company had a sister company which shared Directors, and that company was Concept Smoke Screen Ltd. I was fascinated by the product and kept asking to be given a chance with it. I got that chance when one of the Directors had been asked to demonstrate the product to the Police but was on holiday on the specified date. I was asked to stand in, and I never looked back. That was over 20 years ago.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
A huge amount of my time is devoted to simply talking with people. I like to try and keep up to speed with as many of our team as I possibly can. I do this simply by checking in and chatting with everyone. Ultimately business is about people and it's important to me that I've got a feel for where everyone's at.

Business is about people

My take on the role of an MD is that the ultimate responsibility is to ensure the team have whatever resources they need to deliver on the business's goals and vision. A large part of that is ensuring people feel they're in a good place to succeed. So, the MD isn't really a 'boss' as you may think of it - more they are a servant to the business and its team. (Far from the pedestal you may imagine might be occupied.)

If I'm not talking with team members, it will be with clients, suppliers or people from various networking or special interest groups that I'm a member of. The latter range from technical working groups that are charged with reviewing standards, to CEO groups who meet up to help each other develop professionally.

I try to plan-in 'focus time' to my week where I will work on the more strategic aspects of our business. The sort of things that I will cover may be considering our next steps, and who needs to be involved in those, or reviewing the steps that we are already taking and seeing how they are progressing - or not as the case may be. If things need re-tuning this time is given to that.

Where do you live and what do you do outside of work?!?!?
My wife, kids and I live in rural Lincolnshire, which is a bit of a double-edged sword really. The advantages are that we are removed from the madding crowd and live a pretty peaceful existence, which has been a great place to bring up children. The downside is that I think it's fair to describe Lincolnshire as being pretty much just far enough away from literally anything else that it's a bit of a pain to get to.

Rural Lincolnshire, walking in the woods

Free time tends to be taken up with walking (with or without our slightly crazy Labrador) and visiting friends and family. Whenever I can, I pick up one of my guitars (I have six - the formula I live by is this: If x = number of guitars owned, then optimal number of guitars = x + 1).

I also have an interest in languages and am about to start learning my sixth language (the existing five are at varying levels of proficiency).

Right now, what is your favourite:

  • Band/musical act: Currently, I'm listening to a lot of Clutch - a southern style hard rock band. At heart, I am always going to be a massive Iron Maiden fanboy no matter what I am currently listening to.

  • Film: That's easy, it's The Shawshank Redemption. That said, I watched My Octopus Teacher recently and thought it was probably one of the best bits of film making I'd seen in my life.

  • TV show: I don't really have a favourite per se but have been binging a lot of true crime documentaries for some reason.

  • Book: I've read a lot, so it's hard to pick one favourite, but if someone had a gun to my head, I'd probably pick Ozzy Osbourne's autobiography, I Am Ozzy on the basis it's the funniest thing I've ever read.

  • Food: I love all Asian food.

  • Drink: Single Malt Whisky is a bit of a vice of an evening.

  • Colour: I like purple - don't really know why.

  • Emotion: Happiness and joy.

Anthony Hildebrand

The editor of Connected, Anthony is a real good writer and journalist with a background in security and technology publishing. There’s every chance you met him at that thing that one time.


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