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Speaker Biographies
Date: 23/10/2002 Location: Marcliffe Hotel, Aberdeen
Chairman: Mr  John Anderson
Speaker: Mr  Bryan Keith  Mr  Hamish  Grant          

Bryan was born in 1945 in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire and brought up there. Having left school at 15, he served his apprenticeship at A. Duguid & Sons in Oldmeldrum. By the age of 21 he was appointed as head joiner at Fyvie Castle. Three years later he set up his first business in Maud as joiner and undertaker. At this very early stage Bryan identified areas where the customer notoriously experienced bad service. This transpired to be the glazing industry. His own exacting standards, drive and ambition inspired him to take steps to improve this service. Hence in 1974, he purchased a property in the city's Holburn Street, established Bon Accord Glass and the rest, as they say, is history. He was the first to introduce a 24 hour emergency glazing service to the city. Then followed a series of firsts to keep ahead of the opposition including local T.V. Advertising which back then was seen to be for the national companies as opposed to local. His focus was to concentrate all efforts in the Grampian Region rather than expand country wide. Being the biggest wasn't important, but being the best was. Nearly three decades on Bon Accord Glass has now progressed to its second generation with Bryan's son, Martin taking the helm. This allows Bryan time to step back and pursue other challenges, the most recent of which was passing his helicopter pilot's licence. Bryan has been involved with the Robert Gordon University for several years now and this together with recognition of his unique entrepreneurial approach saw him being bestowed with an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration in July 2000.

Hamish served in several high profile positions in the UK oil exploration and production industry for ten years eventually becoming Exploration and Production Manager for British Borneo Exploration and Production PLC. He co-founded SYSTEMS FX in 1993 and joined the company full time in 1995 as CEO. The company focused on selling software tools and services into the then emerging Automated Software Quality (ASQ) market. Together with Susan, Hamish built the company without outside finance to a turnover of 1.5 million and a staff base of 22 by the start of 1997. At this point they sold the company to CYRANO S.A., a larger player in the ASQ market. Hamish's next challenge was to create, on a world scale, a top-class information technology (IT) company, within a five-year period. After spending a year talking to academics, researching ideas and building relationships with universities he chose to focus on one key technology - the Learning Processor. In 1998 he hired his first member of the AXEON team, a post-doctoral research fellow Dr Neil Lightowler and obtained 25% investment from the Scottish Technology Fund, 3i and the Sutherland Consortium. Hamish, 43, holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Nottingham University.

The Evening will be Chaired by John Anderson. A well known specialist in entrepreneurship and new venture creation in Scotland, John brings considerable experience of emerging and high growth companies to his role as Chief Executive of The Entrepreneurial Exchange. A founder member of The Entrepreneurial Exchange, John was a shareholding director of a young venture backed technology company engaged in the design, manufacture and distribution of laboratory equipment.  He co-founded a company that provided pre-hospital emergency care and healthcare industry training and also a new media business.  As an adviser in professional practice he worked with many of Scotland's most exciting growth companies since returning to Scotland from Chicago in 1989. An experienced Non-Executive director, he is a regular contributor to the media on issues facing emerging and high growth companies and was instrumental in setting up the Scottish Enterprise "Local Heroes" project, based in part on his own MBA thesis "Local Heroes - Scotland's Entrepreneurial Role Models". John is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde and is Chairman of Upstarts UK, an innovative technology start-up programme at the Strathclyde University Incubator.  He sits on the board of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise, formed to encourage the commercialisation of research from Scotland's universities and is a member of the Glasgow University Research and Enterprise Advisory Board.  He is a director of Stirling University Innovation Park and also sits on the advisory board of Embreonix at the University of Abertay, Dundee.

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