Friday Five: Hitachi Data Systems’ Neville Vincent


Every Friday we’ll profile a prominent figure from Australia’s IT, telecommunications or video gaming industries in the Friday Five.

Don’t mess with Hitachi Data Systems’ managing director of its Australia and New Zealand operations — Neville Vincent has three black belts and has worked on oil rigs to boot. But all this just makes him seem as though he’s a good import for Australia to have! And he’s naturalising quite quickly — learning to surf on the Northern Beaches. Vincent is this week’s guest on the Friday Five.

1. What was your first job ever?

I remember, as a 15-year-old, I spent every day wiring and soldering the internal communication units of deep sea diving helmets used for diving around oil rigs. I worked nine-to-five through the entire summer while my friends were off having great holidays. That job taught me a lot about responsibility and the need to do things properly, to pay attention to detail, and provided me with a solid foundation to build the rest of my career.

2. What do you like most about working in the IT industry?

The one thing about technology is it does not stand still and it impacts us all. I feel privileged to be part of an industry that is so dynamic as well as far-reaching in terms of its impact on people, community, society and economies.

3. What’s your hobby?

Considering I am relatively new to Australia I am in a hobby transition. I feel somehow if I do not do something Australian I will not be getting the most out of living here. That’s why my family and I live on the northern beaches and I’m learning to surf. I’m currently at the big board stage that could hold a whole family; it’s the start of another journey in my life. Prior to surfing I have been most passionate about martial arts, holding three different black belts.

4. Where do you think the Australian IT industry will be in five years?

The Australian IT market fascinates me. Even though our population compared to other developed economies is relatively small, I see real leading edge business models and capabilities being developed. Maybe our size allows us to innovate and execute more effectively. Where will we be in 5 years? I think clearly leading the world in terms of cloud capability and deployment.

5. What/who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?

We are all asked this question many times, and each time I keep coming back to the same person, Tom Plimmer. Tom was the managing director of a multinational networking company at the time in the UK. He has been and continues to be an inspiration in my life, Tom is one of the most gifted people managers I have come across and I always look to emulate his capabilities. Tom’s unique skill was to say the right thing at the right time that would always inspire and motivate people.

Image credit: Hitachi Data Systems