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Thursday, 25 May 2017, 6 p.m., Edinburgh
Panel Discussion on Working and Planning for Business Success

Angela Mathis, CEO, ThinkTank Maths, Iain Hutchison, Managing Director, Merlin ERD, Dan Purkis, Technology Director, Well-SENSE Technology Limited, Mike Sibson, Investor, Business Growth Fund (BGF)

Sponsorship is provided by Scottish Oil Club (Students).

This event occurred on: Thursday, 25 May 2017, 6 p.m.

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Funding for student participation from member universities provided by Scottish Oil Club.


We plan to have four presenters as a panel discussion. Each speaker starts with a brief 10 minute presentation about what their business does and how it was established. We then move into a chaired discussion phase where we take questions from the audience to debate the issues and challenges around setting up and growing a business.

The idea is by the end of the session attendees understand both what your business does and the steps you've taken to make it happen.


Angela Mathis, ThinkTank Maths
Angela Mathis is CEO and co-founder of Think Tank Maths Limited, an Edinburgh based company set up in 2007 to apply "novel mathematical thinking informed by data" to complex engineering challenges.

Think Tank Maths works across a range of sectors including Oil & Gas, aeronautics, space and banking services.

Angela also shares the success story of their new “intelligent” wellbore positioning accuracy software developed over the last 3-years with a Norwegian OpCo, which can significantly decrease uncertainties in wellbore positioning while drilling.

Iain Hutchison, Merlin ERD
How on earth do you end up performing at UK Air Displays in a Spitfire that you built in Australia? Join us for this talk to hear about the lucky lad from Fife who ended up in Australia embarking upon the crazy journey to build, then fly an 80% all aluminium, two seat replica Spitfire.

This talk will take us on Iain’s journey from the initial idea, his inability to kill it off, the kit purchase, buyers regret, then planning for success to turn so many components into an aircraft. How you learn to fly an aircraft that you can’t get instruction on, then the fear and elation of that first flight. He’ll compare the replica specification with that of the original, then Iain will describe what it’s like to be pilot in charge of an original WWII Spitfire doing 350 mph at 200 feet along the beach.

Iain Hutchison is the Managing Director of Merlin ERD Limited, acknowledged leaders in Extended Reach Drilling Engineering services to the global oil & gas industry. A chartered Mechanical Engineer, Iain has spent over 20 years working around the world on a variety of projects. These accomplishments were recognised in 2014, with Merlin ERD being appointed to advise the government on North Sea Drilling & awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise by HRH The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Dan Purkis, Well-SENSE Technology Limited
Dan’s love of making and inventing things from a young age led him to pursue a career in engineering, which now spans over 20 years, during eight of which he worked at Petroleum Engineering Solutions (PES) where he directed a world-class team designing intelligent wells. After PES was acquired by Halliburton, Dan jointly established Petrowell, where an inspiring company ethos resulted in pioneering solutions and the company being attained by Weatherford. Dan’s ability to think outside the box has resulted in a number of world firsts and new technologies coming to market. Recognised as one of the best innovative thinkers in his peer group, he has over 50 granted patents and most recently won the 2016 Significant Contribution Award at the Offshore Achievement Awards in recognition of his influence on the industry.

Mike Sibson, Business Growth Fund (BGF)
BGF was established in 2011 to help Britain’s growing smaller and medium sized businesses. Backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered – BGF is an independent company with up to £2.5bn with which to make long-term equity investments. BGF also works closely with other key business organisations. Our mission is to unlock the potential of fast-growing UK businesses that need long-term capital to drive their future success.

Mike joined BGF in January 2012 and leads BGF’s Aberdeen office. He is responsible for originating and delivering investments in the North of Scotland, and for working with the management teams of the investee companies to help maximise their potential. The Aberdeen office now has eleven portfolio companies in which BGF has invested £80 million, and Mike sits on the board of six. Mike started his career as a drilling engineer with Shell, working mostly in exploration in Angola and Congo. He then joined 3i, and after spells in Birmingham and Cambridge Mike moved to Aberdeen in 2004. Mike has a BA and MEng degree in Engineering from Cambridge University, and an MBA from INSEAD, and he is a Chartered Engineer and a Sainsbury Management Fellow. Mike is married and lives in Banchory. When he is not in the office he provides a taxi service for his four kids, and in his spare time he enjoys running, skiing and biking.

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