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“The level of growth Tribosonics want to achieve is something I haven’t been part of in 20 years”

“The level of growth Tribosonics want to achieve is something I haven’t been part of in 20 years”

An interview tackling life, growth, and more at Tribosonics with our Finance Director, Janet PrykeConducted by Kieran Wade, Strategic Partnerships Executive & NTU Intern

Introduction

Now we have an interview with one of our senior members of staff, Janet Pryke, Finance Director. We’ll delve into her background, the work she does here with us at Tribosonics, and more. Janet has been a key part of our current growth strategy during her time with us, helping us to realize and manage our vision of innovation and growth from a strategic finance perspective. Enjoy her story and insights into what we do here at Tribosonics.

What’s your business background?

I’ve mainly worked in the manufacturing and service sectors, in a wide range of companies of different sizes. I’ve been working in finance for nearly 40 years now, at varying levels, working at a senior level for 20 years.

Can you tell us a bit about you journey here?

So, I qualified in ’97, were you even born then?

No, I was ’98!

I qualified through CIMA in ‘97, I’ve worked in finance in businesses from small companies to huge PLC’s. In 2012 my husband elected to take early retirement so in 2013 I started my own company as a Portfolio FD. It’s the best thing I ever did, I wished I’d done it sooner. That was 8 years ago, and I’ve been very busy ever since. I have worked with a range of banks, including NatWest, Santander, and Yorkshire bank to assist with companies that don’t have an internal FD.

When you’re asked to look at different companies by the bank what typically do you assess?

When I have been asked to assist we are usually looking at the business cash flow and whether I can assist and provide suggestions on how to improve this and their financial forecasts. On occasion, I have worked with KPMG to re-start businesses where possible and help put them on a sustainable growth path. When I work alongside the banks I assist with the business relationship to help both the company and the funder put the building blocks in place for the future.

How did you end up joining the Tribosonics team?

Last year I was at a KPMG FD breakfast meeting and met a mutual contact of Tribosonics CEO, Glenn Fletcher; this contact knew that Glenn was looking for an experienced FD and introduced me to him. Glenn arranged a meeting with all of the directors and then I joined the company in late January. During my career, I helped to grow one company from £8 million to £25 million in 2 years. The ambition and growth aspirations of Tribosonics really impressed me and I knew with my background and experience I would fit right in.

What did you think about Tribosonics when you first joined?

I was really encouraged to see a business that recruited and gave so many young people and apprentices opportunities through its “future leaders” training program. I was also really impressed by these young people’s commitment to work, as millennials often get a bad name. The biggest thing for me was the level of growth we were trying to reach; it’s been 20 years since I worked in a company trying to achieve that level of growth and the opportunity to do that again is really exciting.

Any fun stories from working at Tribosonics?

For the first few weeks of lockdown, I didn’t have the camera activated on my laptop. When I eventually set it up the reaction from team members was all about my champagne collection visible in the background, which I have to add were in most part gifts that I have not had the chance to consume. Rather than being a champagne connoisseur, I’m looking forward to sharing some of this with the team post lockdown.

Any tips for someone just starting out?

One of the things I try to do is act as a mentor for my previous team members. I do this for a variety of different people, even those from businesses that I have left. I think if you find a mentor who supports and believes in you, keep that relationship. The key I would say is to take the pain, and complete the studying! It will be worth it in the end!

That could be a quote, why so passionate about it?

I could do the job before I got qualified, but I wasn’t taken seriously, I didn’t go to university straight from school, I studied in my own time whilst working full time to get my finance qualifications. Then my career has bloomed from there. It was a tough 2 years but you take your gains where you can. I was so driven to achieve it that I wanted to complete it in the shortest time possible.

Wow, all that and you still qualified in 2 years? (Half the time it usually takes.)

Yes, and back then you had to take the exams in 4 units at a time. It’s not like it is now where you can take the exams singularly.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

So, my husband and I both wanted to do something about the homeless problem in Sheffield. We started volunteering at the charity called Homeless and Rootless at Christmas (HARC).  HARC provides three meals a day for people who are homeless or have no one around at Christmas time when all the other Sheffield facilities are closed. They operate from the back of Sheffield cathedral. For the first year, we went and helped with the cooking. Then for the last three years, I’ve been on the board. I help with the fundraising and serve as the treasurer. The project normally runs from Christmas day until New Year’s Day. That way everyone is fed and taken care of over the Christmas period.

Wow, that’s incredible work, is there anything else you’re involved in?

Well, late last year I was also approached to be on the board of Rotherham Further Education Colleges. I joined as a governor this year to assist in the finance committee and see how we can progress and help young people build their futures.

And finally, could you sum up your experiences here with us at Tribosonics?

In the 4 months I have been with Tribosonics I continue to be amazed by the future leaders’ performance and the work ethic of everyone in the business. It feels great to be a part of such a dynamic team, to work with colleagues who have such a positive attitude at all levels in the business.

Author: Kieran Wade


Tribosonics is an innovation-led scale-up with a strong challenger mindset, driving transformation by using its unique sensing technologies to address challenges in tribological contacts (wear, friction and lubrication).

Located and forged in Sheffield, it serves global markets in Transport, Power Generation and Manufacturing.

For further information or to arrange a discussion about how Tribosonics can add value to your business, contact: Christina King, c.king@tribosonics.com

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Our Mission Global problem We use innovative and novel approaches to ultrasonic sensors to measure and monitor a wide range of engineering applications including film thickness, wear, contact pressure, load, corrosion, material quality etc.

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