Alumnus of the month - August 2009
BSc Computer & Information Engineering , 1996
Graeme obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Computer and Information Engineering at London South Bank University (LSBU) in 1996. Graeme is all the more proud of his achievements as he studied part-time for four years whilst working and bringing up a young family.
When he began his degree, Graeme was a draughtsman in the signalling design offices of British Rail.
One year after graduating, Graeme founded a company named Bellwether Enterprises Limited with a colleague. The company developed within the rail risk consultancy sector and has won awards for Teleworking both regionally and nationally (e-commerce award for Best use of Teleworking, East Midlands 2004 & 2005 and the UKCEED SustainIT award for Better Ways of Working, 2005).
The awards are justification for the unique virtual office environment that has been implemented at Bellwether. The company currently employs eight members of staff. Inspired in part by his experiences of family life, Graeme and his colleague believed that the company could function without an office.
The company is set up on the basis that staff would work at home or in clients' offices, keeping the team communication together through phone calls and meetings in local cafes.
This approach has allowed their employees to better manage their work-life balance and they have had staff working for the company who had immigrated for a year to Australia.
Graeme is grateful to the skills he learnt during his time at LBSU. This helped him to have the confidence and ability to start a consultancy company within the rail industry, analysing and reducing the safety and reliability risks of business processes and engineering systems within two years of graduating.
The systems analysis and engineering software modules of his degree were particularly relevant to his career, although he did not realise this would be of future importance at the time.
A key theory learnt at his time at LSBU that has been at the forefront of his company is:
Structured approaches to solving problems and the accurate documenting of complex systems enables the justification of design decisions in such a way that risk can be shown to have been appropriately considered throughout the development and implementation of any process or engineering change.
Bellwether Enterprise Limited produces business problem statements and requirements specifications for systems and creates safety cases for changes to equipment or processes, mainly within the railway industry. After ten years, the company has been through periods of expansion, contraction and stability.
The company is still going strong, even in the present financial climate. Graeme has been director for over ten years and has seen through a great many changes both in the industry and the company. Bellwether is owned by its employees and funds its growth by reinvesting any profits back into the business. Bellwether has been involved in numerous projects throughout the years, for example:
Bond Street Cooling System – ‘Transport for London’s Bond Street Cooling Project that provided cooling to the Bond Street underground station’s platforms. Bellwether worked with the engineering consultancy firm Atkins to produce the safety, reliability, availability and maintainability plans, analysis, models and documentation to ensure that the final system will meet the overall requirements for the project.
Currently, Bellwether home offices span from Reading through London, Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire to Edinburgh.
For further details about Bellwether Enterprise Limited, visit: