Team Profiles: Simon McGurk, Systems Manager - Covernet - Smart Insurance Software

Team Profiles: Simon McGurk, Systems Manager



Simon McGurk

Job Title:

System Manager

Service time with Covernet:

20 years.

Education / Career journey:

I was educated at Regent House Grammar School in Newtownards and went on to study Archaeology and Paleoecology at Queen’s University Belfast.  Employment opportunities in that field were limited and in late 1998, I gained a place on a conversion course to prepare graduates for a career in the emerging IT sector.

How did you become part of Covernet team?

On the IT conversion course, I was privileged to sit next to the one and only Jenny Beattie. Initially we were both meant to complete our placements at Covernet, however I was then seconded to Parity, the firm who were running the course. When the job opportunity came up with Covernet, Jenny suggested that I apply. I was then faced with a decision between moving to London to continue to work for Parity, or to Coleraine to take up the position with Covernet. The lure of the North Coast won, and 20 years on, I have never looked back.

What does a typical day hold for you?

Coffee and meetings.  More seriously though, my “average” day, if there is such a thing, has been evolving over the past while. Previously I would come in, check my emails for any new support requests or job updates then jump into the latest development project. More recently this has been replaced with a routine based around planning and supervising the jobs rather than direct coding.  So a usual day now would be spent working with clients and the development team preparing technical specifications, reviewing code, project scheduling and helping plan the forward direction of the company. I still sneak in the odd bit of coding where I can.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I love finding solutions. There is nothing I enjoy more than taking a client problem or requirement and coming up with a plan that meets their needs.  There is a lot of job satisfaction in guiding a project from a few pencil ideas scribbled in a pad (I always plan in pencil!) to a full blown deliverable.

What do you attribute to your career success to date?

Hard work certainly, but the team around me has played a major part. We have come a long way since 1999, but Covernet has consistently had a strong team ethos, and we look out for each other. Knowing you are working for the team, and that they are working for you, keeps you pushing forwards.

Who is your role model in business?

It is a cliché, I am sure, but I would have to say my Dad. He had, and has, a great work ethic. Honest enough to say what needed to be said, hard working, but always having time for family and knowing the value of a healthy work/life balance.

What is your greatest passion outside of work and family?

Hard to choose one! I love working out, and occasionally compete in Crossfit competitions. I also teach jujitsu/self defence. I am never without a book. I have started dabbling in fly fishing. My faith is a huge part of my life too, and I try to be the best witness I can be.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Honest, empathetic and optimistic