Meet The Team - Roger Ward M.A. (Cantab), M.Sc., MBA, C.Eng. MIET, MITP Journal Editorial Board / Technical Sourcing Manager
Tell us about your background in the industry
I joined BT (then Post-Office Telecommunications) in 1971 as a graduate entrant with a first degree in engineering from Cambridge University. After initial assignments I undertook postgraduate study gaining an M.Sc. in Telecommunication Systems from Essex University. Then, as a young systems engineer, I joined the BT/industry team responsible for the design of System X, a massive development programme that saw the UK network transformed through the introduction of digital switching. As my career progressed, I invariably worked at the interface between BT and industry, first as a subject matter expert on a project that culminated in Ericsson being awarded a contract in open competition to supply nearly 50% of UK Local Exchanges, then as the project manager responsible for the introduction of the first Intelligent Network databases.
As senior management beckoned, I was selected to undertake an executive MBA programme at Warwick University. On my return to BT, I headed up a team in BT’s Network Strategy department involved in projects related to a potential merger between BT and US telco MCI and subsequently, the £100m+ negotiations to upgrade the UK trunk network. For the last 10 years of my time with BT, I represented BT on the Board of the Californian based Multi-service Forum (MSF), an organisation comprising some 30 major network operators and equipment vendors. Elected MSF President for 4 successive 2-year terms, I instigated the MSF’s bi-annual Global MSF Interoperability (GMI) networked “plugfest” events that did much to ensure that the forum maintained a meaningful focus in the crowded world of international standards organisations.
How long have you been the Technical Sourcing Manager on the Journal Editorial Board for the ITP?
I was appointed Technical Sourcing Manager in March 2020, so have now been in this role for nearly three years.
How have you seen the organisation change and evolve during that time?
I think the biggest change has been the resumption of the face-to-face seminars after Covid lockdowns. At the recent ITP seminar in Salford on the Future of fibre, it was great to see so many people benefit from not just the presentations but also the many personal networking opportunities that such events offer. Throughout my BT career, as a member of the ITP and its predecessors (the IBTE and TCN), I often spoke to local groups on projects that I was involved with, so I have a great deal of first-hand experience of the benefits that such events offer.
What prompted you to join the Editorial Board as the Technical Sourcing Manager?
After more than 35 years in the telecoms industry working for BT, I wanted a role where I could really feel that my efforts were making a difference to people and not just organisations - something that is difficult to achieve as a consultant and associated short-term contracts. In my current role, I feel I have a unique opportunity to help not just the ITP but also its members.
Can you tell us about The Journal, what are the benefits?
Telecoms technology has been rapidly evolving for many decades and it is important for all of us to keep up to date with the latest developments. Every quarter, the Journal contains authoritative articles written by authors who have real life experience of the latest developments. These provide a great opportunity to help fulfil personal professional development plans including requirements for professional registration.
What have been the benefits of The ITP for you?
I find it stimulating to be involved in developing articles on a wide range of leading-edge subjects important to our industry and it is satisfying to help authors get their articles to the standard required for publication. I would encourage anybody reading this who would like to write an article to get in touch, it is easier than you might think and together we will make it happen!
What would you say to others who are considering joining the ITP as a member?
In my career I have been fortunate to have worked for a company that provided many training opportunities ranging from specialist courses, management training and even full-time secondment on postgraduate courses. Unfortunately, few companies now can afford to be so generous, so it is important for everybody to take control of their own career progression. The ITP through its schemes for continuous professional development, mentoring and apprenticeship programmes helps to plug the UK skills gap and has a lot to offer. Don’t hesitate, just join and you won’t be disappointed!
Roger Ward M.A. (Cantab), M.Sc., MBA, C.Eng. MIET, MITP