Meet the former teacher who’s now running a successful tech company in North Wales
Life doesn’t always take one particular path, as an ex-teacher from Colwyn Bay in North Wales can tell you.
Paul Levy, who’s 47, become frustrated by the bureaucracy and paperwork involved in his teaching job and ended up quitting the profession to set up his own technology business, Livetech, in 2000.
It’s a digital creative agency providing businesses in and around North Wales with digital solutions from website design to the creation of mobile apps.
The business is now in its 15th year, employs eight people and has just secured new premises that could see it add another 10 workers.
Originally, the entrepreneur followed in the footsteps of his father by training as an engineer and ended up working at Airbus but left the industry to become a secondary school teacher afterwards.
Paul said: “I always felt I had an inventive mind, but at school, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do. I was advised if I did engineering, it would train my mind, so that’s what I did.
“I was following in my father’s footsteps because he was in the engineering field. He was a toolmaker, and I was naturally led towards engineering.
“I went to university in Salford, and I was sponsored by an aerospace company, Dowty Aerospace, in Gloucestershire. It was a major achievement at the time because going to university then was quite a big deal – no-one from my family had ever gone.”
Upon graduation, Paul worked as a stress and performance engineer at Airbus. He operated on the landing gear of several variants of the the A321, A330 and the A340 aircraft.
However, after years of working in the engineering industry, he decided he wanted a change and trained as a teacher. He then ended up teaching design technology and IT at Prestatyn High School, Ysgol Friars in Bangor and Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno.
He said: “It was a great privilege to be a high school teacher and a great challenge as well. But I found I was diverted by bureaucracy and paperwork that I didn’t think added any value to anything.
“At the same time, I saw the rising tide of the internet, and for quite some years, people kept asking me if I was expecting it to take off. I never had the slightest doubt.”
He added: “I formed Livetech in 2000 and supplied teaching while I was setting it up. The supply teaching was my safety net because it was a pretty risky exercise in one sense.
“However, it was the right decision, and we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary this year. I was in the right place at the right time. We’re busy and still growing. Our aim is to be the go-to guys on all aspects of technology regionally.”
Paul believes that every day is different. He said: “There isn’t such a thing as an average day. If you take today for example, I started out at the Welsh Mountain Zoo at 8am and was attaching signs to the animal enclosures with a mobile app to read QR codes and RFID tags – essentially an ID system that uses small radio frequency identification devices for identification and tracking purposes – which is a cutting edge project we’re doing.
“Our activities are very broad. We do everything from web design over masses of different industries and fields from visitor attractions to accommodation, online retail, construction and engineering.”
“You name it really. People come to us, and we have to understand what they need to get out of it and take it forward. Then we need to promote it from an online marketing point of view, which is changing all the time as our media changes.”
This is certainly working wonders for the company, as it’s preparing to expand.
He said: “We now employ eight people and have plenty of work. And the issue is to manage sustainable growth, especially valuing the people we’ve got at the moment and bringing them on.
“We’ve recently moved into the old National Trust property in Trinity Square, central Llandudno. With a lot of centralised services, the building is currently being fitted out with cutting edge telecoms and internet technology.
“I am expecting we will be creating another 10 jobs in time as a result of our move, which will also facilitate our own future growth. We’re also going to be renting out offices in the building, and our plan is to create a dynamic business hub.”