International Women’s Day – An Interview with Angie Hauser
This International Women’s Day we’re shining the spotlight on our Co-founder Angela Hauser, who together with Howard and Johanna Stark, started our business 40 years ago.
Angela led the business through many technical innovations and was a great leader for many of our teams, working as our CTO before retirement. Today she joined us for our IWD discussion and inspired us with her experience and perspective on the technology and energy industry, ones that have always been outnumbered by men. Take a read of her story:
Tell us a bit about your education and first job
Having gained 4 A levels in Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Physics and Art I went on to graduate in 1974 with a degree in Pure Maths from Sussex University. My first job was as an analyst with EASAMS Ltd (Elliott Automation Space and Advanced Military Systems) part of the GEC Ltd. There I worked on various mathematical models, under contracts to the MOD which were written on FORTRAN and ran on large mainframe computers.
Could you tell us about how Stark was founded?
After 7 years I wanted to move on, and a friend, Howard Stark, had the idea to automate the calculation of electricity tariffs using a personal computer which were emerging in the marketplace. So I left my job, learned how to program on a PC, and armed with an Apple II we started to develop our first system which we licenced to a number of local authorities, Northants CC, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire CC as well a private companies like British Oxygen. One of my biggest challenges at the time was making the programs work on all the different PCs that customers decided to buy, IBM and others were not compatible with Apple, the operation system and peripherals did not have any standard interfaces. There was no Windows operating system! One of Howard’s challenges ironically was to persuade customers to buy a PC to run our system on!
What did you most enjoy about your role at Stark?
My role at Stark changed hugely over the years as the company grew, our market developed and technology advanced. I think that is what I have enjoyed the most and it kept me on my toes. There was never time to get bored. Plus I have always enjoyed the people I have worked with. There are many proud and happy memories of working at Stark – difficult to pin-point one.
Can you tell us about any female role models and how they inspired you?
I had strong influences at my co-ed school to pursue a technical career despite Art school being an option. For some time, Stark was quite unusual in that 2 of its three directors were women. I think this influenced the ethos of establishing a work/life/family balance that colleagues still enjoy. Johanna Stark was an inspiration to work with.
What advice would you give women considering a career in Technology or the energy industry?
Go for it! If you enjoy technology and have analytical mind it is a fast moving, stimulating area to work in. The Energy industry is a very interesting field to work in, and in the current climate (no pun intended) energy management is an important industry. I would give the same advice to any man or woman wanting to step up to a senior role – go for it. Be prepared to work hard, remember you are part of a team.
What qualities do you feel are important in a senior leadership role?
To listen and give respect to your colleagues working at any level within the company.
That idea a colleague is expressing could be the idea that changes everything. I endorse Stark’s qualities –brave, teamwork, customer focus, innovative and passion.
Keep an eye out for more interviews with our team this year.
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