Excel @ 25: an official history, personal reflections and more

2014 is a big year in the history of Excel as we celebrate our 25th anniversary.

A quarter of a century is a significant landmark for any company operating in a fast-moving technology environment like IT infrastructure, and the whole team (and that’s well over 200 of us these days) is proud of what has been achieved over those years.

We’ll be doing a few things this year to mark the occasion with staff, customers, suppliers and friends of the company.

To start with, we’ve put together a short history of the company.

Having established ourselves as an IT infrastructure and support partner to some of the world’s leading global corporations, it’s easy to forget just how far the business has come since it was founded in 1989. The history tells the story of how the business grew from plans spread out across Excel’s first ‘office’ – a kitchen table in Billericay.

Click here to download ‘From acorns grow mighty oaks: the Excel story’.

Among the other things we’ve got planned for the year, we’ll also be publishing some more personal histories and memories of the company on this blog, via some regular ‘Excel @ 25: Five Question Reflections’ articles.

First up is Mark Smith, founding director of Excel I.T. Ltd.

1. How and when did your relationship with Excel start?

I was always interested in gadgets, wires and engineering, so when I was fortunate enough to secure an apprenticeship (aged 15) with British Telecom in 1981, it was the ideal job. I qualified as an engineer in 1984 and was let loose on my own into the big wide world, or more precisely, into the telephone infrastructure in the City of London.

Having a young family in the mid 80s, I quickly realised that a BT salary wasn’t going to make ends meet, so decided to do something about it. In 1989, Excel was formed.

2. What has Excel meant to you during your association with the company?

 Having been here since Day One, mixing both my personal life with the professional side has been unavoidable, as a lot of the people I work with are also good friends who I’ve known for many years.

3. What has been the highpoint of your association with the company

Over the years, it’s really been a ‘morning, noon & night’ relationship with the company, so I suppose it’s pretty precious to me.

There have been many highpoints over the years, some of the more obvious ones being winning the first contracts or large projects.

The main project that sticks out more than any other has to be the large trading floor cabling installation in Moscow for Renaissance Capital. It was the first $1m+ project and had pretty much every challenge that could be thrown at us, ranging from the toughest interview ever, logistical issues, language barriers and an apartment fire, through to the Yeltsin Perestroika influence on a country going through a revolution!

4. How has Excel changed in the time you have known it?

We’ve grown substantially over the 25 years that I’ve been here, and our assignments have grown in line with that.

In the earlier years before we had the structure we have in place today, it was very much ‘all hands to the pumps’ whenever a large project came in, whereas today we have dedicated resources for the core services we provide.

That said, everyone still gets stuck in and helps if we’re up against a deadline, even if it’s just getting some bacon sandwiches and teas in for moral support!

5.      Which three words do you think best describe Excel?

Fair, Reliable, Quality