Having started his career as a painter, Luton Borough Council's head of procurement and shared services William Clapp never intended to work in the IT industry. Instead he fell into it after studying a classics degree and stints working in the accountancy industry and as a general manager in back-end office environments.
Once in his role however, Clapp grew to become a staple part of Luton Borough Council's IT team and has been instrumental in transforming its systems to run more efficiently and effectively.
In his spare time Clapp is a keen runner and supporter of education initiatives in both IT and athletics. Eager to get an inside look at what makes Clapp tick, we put him in the V3 Hot Seat.
V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?
Clapp: For me, it's the buzz from trying to deliver transformation on multiple fronts. My job sees me work with my internal customers and with our managed services provider Civica to find the best way to get IT to help services achieve their objectives.
What would be your dream job?
I'd like to be a track coach at a New England college. I'm not qualified to do it, but beautiful locations and the opportunity to help talented and committed people maximise their potential would be amazing. I imagine it's a lot like my current role really, but with even more beautiful locations.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
I currently use a Sony Xperia J in my private life and an iPhone for work. My daughters are green with envy over the iPhone – I'm sure this will finally convince them that a career in local government is where they want to be. I'm OK without a tablet for the time being.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
For me it's Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has so many users and it's become an integral part of our lives. We depend on it to maintain and enhance our social capital by connecting us in a world where technological advances have disconnected us from those who would otherwise be closest to us. It also makes trying to run an athletics club in my spare time a whole load less time consuming.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
It was probably transforming the relationship between a county council and its schools, bringing former grant-maintained schools back into a closer relationship with the council and helping other schools take on more responsibilities from the council.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
Trying to make sense of complicated things and explain them to people like me who don't really understand them.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
I'm not sharing my secret with everyone.
What do you enjoy doing when you finish work?
Not understanding my daughters' homework and running competitively.
What keeps you awake at night?
Just the usual fear of not getting everything done that needs doing.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
I read the autobiography of Eddy Merckx, it was very good. He was totally dominant in his sport and despite having a massive will to win still had a lot of respect for the competition.
Who is your favourite band or musician?
It's an eclectic mix really. My favourites are David Byrne, Nicki Minaj and the Stereophonics.
Where's your favourite holiday destination?
I like going to the French Pyrenees when the Tour De France is passing through.
E-readers or real books?
Real books for me please. It's not just about the reading, they also look good and help insulate the house!
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
I use Facebook. I toyed with Twitter but I'm too loquacious, verbose and wordy.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Neither. I'll have Talking Heads and The Clash please.
Definitely Koyaanisqatsi, it's hypnotic and full of new perspectives on the way we live.
Windows or Mac OS?
I use Windows as it's just familiar and easy – well at least it was until we got Windows 8, now I'm not so sure.
On-premise or cloud?
I don't care. Whatever is most resilient and cheap.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
We need to encourage schools to get engaged with IT firms and work to get their least geeky employees involved alongside IT teachers to show the relevance and fun of IT.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
No. It never crossed my mind. I got where I am with a classics degree, an accountancy qualification and some general management of back-office services.
What websites do you have bookmarked at work?
I currently have google.co.uk, luton.gov.uk and bbc.co.uk eastmidlandstrains.co.uk – the last one is to check my train home is running on time so I don't end up standing around on a platform for longer than is necessary.
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