Animmersion, which specialises in 3D animation, data visualisation and technology solutions for the offshore, energy, process, engineering, construction and defence industries, was established by Dominic Lusardi (managing director) and Sam Harrison (operations director) ten years ago. As CEO of Business Link, Malcolm Taylor mentored Dominic and Sam in the early days, later becoming the company’s chairman. Here, Dominic and Malcolm reflect on how the relationship has developed
My business partner, Sam Harrison, and I had trained in digital media and saw a gap in the market to deliver our 3D animation and data visualisation to traditional businesses who needed to explain their stories, concepts and designs. At the time, there were no smart phones and web services such as YouTube had just started.
We met Malcolm in our first year of business while based at the graduate business unit at Teesside University. We were very impressed with his understating business practices in almost every guise. I spoke to Malcolm when we hit a bit of trouble in our second year and I still use the advice he gave us today. Over the years we started to speak more and he became my mentor. He then became the company’s chairman as the business grew.
Malcolm has given Sam and me an objective way to look at our business. He has shown us that sound business practice is the life blood of successful business and managing cash flow is essential as that’s where the truth is.
Having known each other for so long now, Malcolm has a great understanding of the direction we want to take the business and he helps ensure that we don’t got lost in the detail. He’s also a great sounding board. He’s compassionate but also direct when he needs to be.
As CEO of Business Link, having had a long career in PLC management at FD and MD level, I was looking to understand business support for start-ups and small businesses and met Dominic when he and Sam were starting up and based in the incubator unit in Teesside University.
I saw their business opportunity and a product and service that could be exploited in different markets. They also demonstrated great enthusiasm, energy, honesty and integrity.
Initially, I was a coach and mentor and helped the company in financial management and control, business planning, product market strategies and longer term strategic thinking, as well as decision making, investment decisions, setting objectives and using MBO techniques.
As the business grew, my mentoring role was changing and I became chairman in the company.
As chairman, I lead and create a climate for director effectiveness, helping them to understand the bigger picture as well as risk, people and corporate governance.
I look to continue to build on Animmersion’s success and reputation so that Dom and Sam can get the return on their investment, finance, time and sleepless nights.