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Behind the Scenes with Interface

Caithness Chamber members Interface have recently recruited a new Business Engagement Executive for the Highlands and Islands region.

For our first Behind the Scenes with… feature, we will be exploring the work of Interface, while getting to know more about their new leading lady for the Highlands, Carol-Ann Adams.

Chamber members since February 2015, Interface are an advisory service, specialising in pairing businesses with academic partners for the advancement of research and growth.

Interface work with businesses and organisations of all sizes, connecting them with the right academic expertise for their needs, leading to the creation and development of new products, services and processes.

With established connections in each of Scotland’s universities and research institutes, Interface are able to identify the right expertise, the best technologies and the most relevant funding, facilities and equipment to solve any number of business challenges.

The Interface team, located regionally throughout Scotland, works directly with businesses to develop ideas, helping to translate them into dynamic briefs for academia. The free and impartial service has helped hundreds of organisations, increasing profits, maximising potential, and ultimately promoting sustainability and growth.

Since joining Interface’s Inverness office in March 2015, Carol-Ann Adams has been Caithness Chamber’s main point of contact, so we took the opportunity to discover a bit more about her background and discuss what she feels she brings to her role as Business Engagement Executive for the Highlands and Islands.

Q. Tell us about what your role encompasses at Interface?

CAA:  I help businesses or individuals define their idea, technical problem or business requirement and translate that into a project brief. Using our extensive database of information and contacts, I then source and facilitate introductions to the appropriate academic partners who have relevant expertise in that field.

I also attend and present at networking events and roadshows to increase the profile of our organisation. Our free and impartial service has helped hundreds of organisations to create and improve products, streamline services and develop processes which have enabled them to increase profits, maximise export potential and ultimately become more sustainable.

Q. How many people work at Interface?

CAA: Interface has 22 members of staff. I am part of a small team based in our Inverness office, covering the Highlands and Islands region.

Q. What would a typical day involve for you?

CAA:  The majority of my time is spent speaking with clients either on the phone, by email, or visiting their premises, to assist in identifying matchmaking opportunities within each of the 23 Scottish University and Research Institutions we have at our disposal.

Q. What is your previous experience?

CAA: Having recently relocated to the Highlands, I worked for just under a year with Highlands and Islands Enterprise’ Inward Investment Team in Inverness. That’s given me a fantastic breadth of knowledge of the whole region in a relatively short space of time.

Prior to relocating, I had worked for 29 years in Lloyds Bank. I undertook a variety of roles, latterly working in Edinburgh as a Product Manager for Client Accounts, within the Corporate Markets division. I have over 14 years’ experience in direct Relationship Management roles, both with personal high net worth individuals and also large firms of stockbrokers and investment management firms.  I firmly believe that developing and maintaining good relationships is such an important aspect of doing business, and it’s a quality that shouldn’t be underestimated.  

Q. What type of projects do you get involved in?

CAA:  We can deal with any size of company in any sector, ranging from developing prototypes to shelf life of products. The development of new products and services is something we would also be very keen to become involved in.

Q. Innovation is a buzz word heard regularly – how would you describe what it means?

CAA: I would describe it as an original idea or invention that introduces a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. Ultimately it’s about offering something that you haven’t offered before.

Q. Outside of work, what do you do to relax?

CAA. My favourite way is to have a long walk on the beach. The sound of the waves can sooth any troubled mind. Oh, and perhaps a chilled, crisp white at the end wouldn’t go amiss.

Q. Finally, tell us a surprising fact about yourself.

CAA. I've never broken any bones despite having my motorbike licence and a love for taking part in exhilarating experiences for charity - I've so far survived a zip slide across the Clyde, an abseil from the Forth Road Rail Bridge & a tandem sky dive. I would LOVE to do a wing-walk next.

Carol-Ann will be visiting Caithness on 7th July 2015 and is keen to meet with other Chamber members to discuss how Interface can help businesses and organisations in Caithness.

If you would like to meet for an informal chat about the role Interface can play in developing your business, call the Chamber team on 01847 890076 or email before Friday 3rd July.