Information Services

7 things about...Derrick Matheson

The latest in a new series of informal staff profiles. 7 questions: 4 about the person's work life and 3 about them outside work. Get to know the IS Applications team a little better!

What do you do in Apps?

Since 24th October 2016, I’ve been Information Services’ Programme Manager for the Estates team.

Portrait shot of Derrick

What does that involve, day to day?

Ultimately, my job is about using technology systems to help Estates enhance staff and students’ experience.  I’m also here to support The UoE’s drive for digital transformation.

I own and manage the IS programme working alongside the top team already in IS.  I act as a liaison point and sounding board for the Estates and IS teams, helping with collaboration & communication.  I’ll assist in generating data and evidence to help Estates manage their Capital programme.

What’s been your proudest moment with Apps?

I’ve worked at the UoE for a month, so very much in discovery mode.  The first two weeks were an excellent induction – one of the best in any organisation I’ve worked with.  As a result, I’ve been able to spend the last couple of weeks get my teeth into some of the Estates business projects.  I guess I’ve been able to bring some of my previous experience to bear on these projects and hope that this will make a difference.  I’m looking forward to reminiscing about many proud moments from my years with UoE.

What did you do before you joined IS?

My first job as a 16-year-old was working the ironing machine in the local laundry with an entertainingly foul-mouthed toothless Irish lady.  Things have changed a little on the career front since then.

I have a bit of a passion for personal learning, probably from both of my folks being teachers.  As a result, I’ve done a number of roles in several industries and various locations, mostly based in UK and Europe. The constant throughout has been my solid belief in technology as a way to make organisations better.

Immediately before starting with UoE, I headed up IT Operations with Balfour Beatty.  Previous roles have focused on project and programme delivery of a wide range of technologies, working with business goals in mind.  I’ve worked in Construction, Oil & Gas, IT Outsourcing, Engineering and various commercial and manufacturing industries.

What’s your weird talent?

I fly a small aircraft, a type known as a flexwing weighshift microlight.  Here’s a photo, taken by the flying club photographer. 

microlight aircraft

And yes, I’ve heard all the comments:

‘Do you get cold?’ (yes, I wear several layers, good gloves and head protection),

‘Do you carry a parachute in case the engine stops or the wing falls off?’ (no, parachutes are scary things!),

‘Why don’t you fly a real plane?’ (good point, well made).

Any new creative comments very welcome.

What’s the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

In my spare time, when I’m not flying or riding my motorcycle, I maintain my aircraft.  This usually involves taking the engine to pieces to make sure it doesn’t stop in flight, and checking the wing to make sure it doesn’t fall off.  This tends to involve reading a lot of data sheets, checking maintenance schedules and paperwork.

Camping or a nice warm bed (and why)?

Always camping.  I’ve been keen on the outdoors since growing up in Perthshire.  I get out as often as I can with my camera, small rucksack, tent and wee stove.  As a bit of a gadget geezer, I love the range of lightweight backpacking thingamajigs available.  There’s nothing like grinding and brewing your home-roasted coffee over a fire in the freezing cold!  Here’s a shot of my portable coffee kit – you’re welcome to pop by and I’ll bore you about it.

Coffee kit