Dundee Chamber cover a week in Keith Haggart's shoes
Written by Account Manager, Keith Haggart.
A familiar face in Dundee, Keith Haggart has worked in business development and commercial roles over the past 15 years, most recently in the design and print sector. He is best known for his time at Dundee United and then Dundee FC where he successfully led the growth of both club’s commercial arms. Keith is one of only a handful of people to have been employed by both of the city’s football clubs and remain popular among both sets of supporters.
Keith joined Aberdeen based IT service and solutions company Converged Communication Solutions back in February and commented at the time - “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with an established, progressive business. Robust and resilient Internet connectivity and telephony services are crucial for businesses today, and the Tay Cities Deal has highlighted that improved digital connectivity will be a crucial factor in unlocking the region’s full potential for economic growth. I’m looking forward to supporting local businesses in achieving this.”
Monday 25th March
My Monday starts in the DoubleTree Hilton at the end of the Kingsway in Dundee. At present, we are looking to source an office space in Dundee. The business is very well established in the Aberdeen area and we have recently opened a satellite office in Inverness and the short term plan going forward is to do something similar in Dundee. Until I have that permanent base, I’ll continue to use the fantastic opportunities currently available in the city, such as the DoubleTree, the Apex and of course the communal working space in the Chamber office, which is free to members. The added bonus is that every day, I manage to meet other business contacts who also regularly use these sites. Monday usually sets up my week, and today is no different. I also manage to have a catch up with Tony Banks from valued customer the Balhousie Care Group, which manages to last for two coffees and approximately two hours!
NETWORKING AT THE DOUBLE!
Tuesday 26th March
Whilst I establish myself in my new role with Converged, networking is a hugely important part of what I do and the Chamber runs some fantastic events. Today kicks off at 8am at Forfar Indoor Sports with a joint Chamber speed networking event, combining the Dundee & Angus and Fife and Perthshire Chambers. The format is excellent, everyone at the table speaks about their business for 60 seconds, and they move on to the next group. It’s all been planned out by Sarah, designed to ensure that we all get the chance to speak to everyone and it seems to run very smoothly. As it’s a joint chamber event, I meet lots of new contacts as well as catching up with a number of familiar faces. There’s a second event later in the day at the Apex, with the Young Enterprise Scotland Tayside Regional Final – I’m running short of business cards!
HOUSTON, WE DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM!
Wednesday 27th March
Wednesday starts back at the Apex Hotel, and the laptop out to take advantage of the free Wifi! My first meeting of the day is with Les Wilson of fellow Chamber members DF Communications. Les is an established IT professional and he is relatively new to the Dundee area, so I pick his brains about IT and he does likewise about contacts in Tayside! There are a number of areas where our business offerings would dovetail nicely, so it’s a relationship that we’re both keen to develop further to benefit our clients’ needs. Before we know it, it’s 11.30 and we head to the Chamber offices for the inaugural ‘Houston meets Dundee’ lunch, which the Chamber are hosting in conjunction with Granite PR. We hear about the vast number of business opportunities in Houston specifically and Texas in general from the group of incoming delegates from the States. Including contributions from a number of ex-pats now based in Houston, it’s a really interesting and informative afternoon, topped off by some fabulous fayre courtesy of local firm Kirrie Dumplings who provided a real ‘taste of Scotland’ lunch.
GET MY STEPS IN
Thursday 28th March
Thursday is spent in Edinburgh, with an 8.30am start at Brodies LLP’s office in the city. Myself and my colleague Sean are both down in the capital and our day kicks off with a GDPR update, which also ties in with cyber security. GDPR is still very much an ongoing thing and is something that all companies need to be aware of as part of their best practices. As a former Edinburgh resident, I’m able to direct Sean to some free parking not too far from the centre, but we certainly test the shoe leather to its full capacity! After our meeting at Brodies, we head to the salubrious surroundings of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for an Insights session hosted by Blue Sky. It’s a fascinating workshop, and Sean and I discover that our individual working styles are the opposite of each other – intriguing but also very accurate! We then yomp back through Edinburgh to the cars, and I realise I’ve done 16,000 steps. The last time I did that many in one day, it was following Tiger Woods around the Open at Carnoustie last year!
Friday 29th March
Friday starts with a really good meeting with a firm of accountants in Dundee. They are a growing business and are keen to find out more about cyber security to ensure they’re protecting their clients’ information. Cyber Essentials is a simple but effective government backed scheme which will help protect all sizes of business from attack. Increasing levels of businesses are looking for this certification from a bidding and procurement perspective, and it’s an area we’re delighted to help with if we can. The afternoon is spent building a quote for a client looking to upgrade their telephony. As I’m still the ‘new boy’ I’m relying very heavily on my colleagues to help support me with both the process and the technology and a number of calls with Colin, Robyn and Sameer up in Aberdeen help to put me in a far better position with it! I’m scheduled to be up in the office on Monday where I can get things finished off and sent out to the client – it’s the first job in the diary!
GAME DAY BLUES
Saturday 30th March
Having spent a significant part of my career in football, I’m delighted to still be involved with Dundee United on a match day. I host the Corporate Hospitality at Tannadice, which is great fun and a terrific way to enjoy the game. For today’s encounter with Queen of the South, I take our Business Development Manager Steve Smith along with me as my guest, and he sits beside former goalkeeper Guido van de Kamp, who won the Scottish Cup with the Club in 1994. United are on a run of three successive victories, whereas Queens have lost the last seven games on the bounce. Surely there will only be one outcome? Alas, no – the visitors head home to Dumfries with the three points, after a 2-1 victory. The post match interview with the Man of the Match can be challenging after a home defeat, but young Jamie Robson was positive despite the result, and left the stage to warm applause from the capacity crowd. The season is drawing to close and United can still win promotion – onward and upwards!