Please meet... Steve Barber, CEO, Sepura and TCCA board member

13 May 2022

Steve Barber, CEO, Sepura and TCCA board member

Steve Barber, CEO, Sepura and TCCA board member

Who was your hero when you were growing up?

Brian Clough, I really admired his straight talking and his ability to motivate and lead an average group of footballers, getting 110% out of them, making them believe in themselves. That is why I ended up supporting Nottingham Forest.

What was your big career break?

Having gone through an engineering apprenticeship at British Telecom in 1991 I was selected to take part in a new Management Cadetship Scheme, only 30 of us were selected out of more than 700 applicants. This gave me the confidence in my own abilities, as I was benchmarked against my peers, since then I have never looked back.

If you had to work in another industry, which one would you choose?

Transport Telematics – after leaving BT I moved into a fledgling industry providing real time location and information systems for buses, trams, light rail etc. At the time it was in its infancy but they were exciting times using new technologies like GPS, RF beacons and private mobile radio to deliver customer solutions. Nearly 30 years on and industry still uses GNSS and BT/WiFi for exactly the same purpose. 

“While I can appreciate both, my main music era was 1975-1995 and more aligned to rock and post punk indie groups like the Psychedelic Furs, Faith no more, Sisters of Mercy, etc.”

What would you do with £1m?

Ideally I would build a triple size garage and fill it with vintage and new exotic British and Italian motorcycles. I have always been a keen biker, but my desire for the best bikes has always been limited by my bank balance and other commitments. The reality is that I would probably treat those closest to me.

If money was no object, where would you live?

I am very happy in the area I live now in the East Midlands, but I wouldn’t mind a house by the sea down in Cornwall, it is a completely different pace of life. Having travelled a lot during my working life, usually to big cities, peace and quiet is very attractive.

What’s the strangest question you’ve been asked?

Not sure anyone has asked me a question that I have found that strange, I seem to not be surprised by anything people say or do. If you expect the unexpected then nothing seems strange or should faze you.

In recent times I guess it would be from our current owners, who had just acquired Sepura in May 2017 and within one week, out of the blue, they just asked me whether I wanted to be CEO - as simple as that!

The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

Neither for me. While I can appreciate both, my main music era was 1975-1995 and more aligned to rock and post punk indie groups like the Psychedelic Furs, Faith No More, Sisters of Mercy, etc I really am an old rocker at heart.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

There are many different challenges in my role, from managing upwards, managing different personalities or just being effective when spending time travelling. But I think there are two major challenges, the first is building the right team around you that can implement the strategic vision so that we grow the business, in parallel embracing new technologies and delivering organisational change. The second, as one of the new Board members elected in November 2021, is working within TCCA to ensure all members’ views are represented as we deliver the Board strategy and promote the full breadth of critical communications solutions, whatever the chosen technology.

If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would you choose and why?

While there are many that I would like to dine with, there can only be one person, Brian Clough. He would be down to earth, humorous and unpredictable, there would not be a dull moment.

I would think though that we would not be going to a Michelin star restaurant, more likely he would settle for fish and chips wrapped in paper, sitting on a seafront bench.