Silverstone UTC: extra-ordinary

carMy core belief is there are only ordinary people in the world and it’s ordinary people that do the ‘extra-ordinary’. That is what the word means and we can lose sight of that when we just say extraordinary, pronouncing it ‘extrordinary’. Today though I went to an ‘extra-ordinary’ place! Check out the website for the UTC based at the globally known Silverstone race circuit – the home of Formula 1 and a hive of activity in cutting edge engineering both in motorsport and the wider area. Also a hub for the events and entertainment industry – quite an incredible place with an absolutely buzzing atmosphere.

In the middle of it all is the unexpected – a school. It is genuinely ‘extra-ordinary’ – I had chance to speak to one or two of the students ahead of delivering the Atlantic Experience to the Silverstone Businesss Forum at the school. I asked the lad what it was like at the school and he said it was simply amazing – what other school could you go to and in your lunch break get to watch the McLaren Formula 1 cars blasting round the track?!

I was also looked after initially by a couple of members of staff at the school, Nicola was brilliant and came across as bursting with pride and enthusiasm for the school and the students. Add in Neil, the Business Manager who helped me set up on the IT front (I gathered one of the many, many jobs and skills he brings to bear in the school!) and you come away with a feeling that the place is not just an extra-ordinary place, so are the staff and from what I saw so are the students. Really exciting and inspiring.

As for the Atlantic Experience talk, a little bit of feedback here: ‘I really enjoyed your talk.  I left with an extra spring in my step after listening to you and will view the new day today with extra enthusiasm – so thank you for that!’

Lastly, from the school website: ‘Silverstone UTC, which opened in September 2013, is a brand new centre of excellence for young people wanting to break into the specialist fields of High Performance Engineering and Business & Technical Events Management. It is based in the very heart of British Motorsport, at the Silverstone racing grounds, in a stunning new multi-million pound facility.’

Click here to have a look at the school’s website and below are some pics from my evening – imagine being at school here? Extra-ordinary!




The Leaders Club – 15 June

leadersVery excited to be speaking at The Leaders Club in London on the 15 June; billed as follows and details on the leaders of The Leaders Club below that:

Achieving Extreme Goals – how much would you give?

Speaker, rower, businessman, author in progress, nominative determinist

Rowing across the Atlantic, unsupported, is an Audacious Goal. Racing across the Atlantic in an attempt to become the first boat in history to row, unsupported, across 3,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean in under 30 days – that’s an Extreme Goal…

Ian is an inspirational speaker with a style that is relaxed yet gripping, casual but compelling, witty yet savage. Audiences will be inspired, captivated and engaged; most importantly they will be left with a new insight into their own capability, their potential and their importance in the world.

The talks are complemented by Ian’s own family and business experience plus his work with Olympic rowing champions.

Ian has a core belief that there are only ‘ordinary’ people in the world and it is ordinary people that do extraordinary things. Unlocking the ‘extraordinary’ in yourself and your team is essential to increased performance and the lessons from the Atlantic can deliver exactly that.


It is an unparalleled networking organisation, where members are encouraged to use their expertise and experience to inspire leaders of the future.

leaders 1Admiral Sir Trevor Soar: Sir Trevor left the Royal Navy in March 2012 after a distinguished career of some 37 years achieving the highest rank in the Service. He is now Director of his own company advising a variety of industries and sectors on business strategy and Chairman of VPS (Vessel Protection Solutions which provide passive security protection to the merchant marine and oil/gas companies against piracy and robbery). He is also Chairman of “The Leaders Club”, an invitation only club of senior executives across all sectors of business with a focus on leadership and whose motto is “bringing great minds together”



leaders 2Sir Malcolm Thornton FRSA: Sir Malcolm spent 14 years in local government, notably as the first Leader of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, before entering Parliament in 1979.  He is the former MP for Liverpool, Garston, and latterly Crosby, holding office from 1979 until 1997.  He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Patrick Jenkin at both the Department of Industry and the Department of the Environment.  He chaired the House of Commons Select Committee for Education for nine years.  Since leaving Parliament, Sir Malcolm has been, and still is, a non-executive Director of a number of SMEs in Merseyside.  He is the former Pro Chancellor & Chairman of the Board of Governors of Liverpool John Moores University (2007-13) and served as the Independent Chairman of both the Wednesbury Education Action Zone and the Birmingham Local Education Partnership.

leaders 3

Stephen Fletcher JP FRSA, Founder and CEO: Stephen is the Founder and CEO of The Leaders Club. Stephen is a JP and was appointed to The Wirral Bench in 1984. He was Chairman of the Bench 2005/7 and has been a past Chairman of the Merseyside branch of the Magistrates Association. He was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in 2004 and he was elected Founder President of the Rotary Club of Mid-Wirral in 1989. An abiding love of his family, good living, steam trains, photography add to his immense pleasure of life and eternal optimism.


leaders 4Luke van Beek CBE: An experienced and results-orientated Senior Director with excellent organisational ability both in the public and private sectors, Luke is recognised from his previous Ministry of Defence role as one of the leading influencers within the defence sector.  Luke spent 36 years in the Royal Navy rising to the rank of Commodore, 3 years as the Defence Director at Mott MacDonald and 3 years as the BD and Marketing Director for Raytheon in the UK and Europe.  He now runs his own company offering advice and support in the Defence and Security market.

On leaving the UK MoD in 2007 he became a CBE for services to UK procurement.