ISN’s management team has been strengthened by the appointment of Tom Smith as non-executive chairman. Tom brings enormous experience in growing companies like ISN to provide better services to meet the demands of the oil and gas industry. His technical background, business acumen and knowledge of the oil industry will be invaluable for our future growth.
Tom studied Marine Electronics & Telecommunications at Aberdeen Technical and Southampton College of Technology. He spent several years in the Merchant Navy as a Radio & Electronics Officer working mainly for Canadian Pacific. Around 1975 was asked to manage the electronic and telecoms element of the work scope for the conversion of a tanker which was intended to off-load oil from the recently installed ‘Montrose Alpha’
production platform in the North Sea. This was the first real introduction of the emerging offshore O&G industry in his home town and pointed the way ahead for his career.
Tom worked on the off-loading tanker for almost two years and, aged 26, he left Canadian Pacific to join Plessey EAE. He led the onshore/offshore team managing the telecoms for Shell’s Brent Field. Recognising new opportunities in this sector, Tom joined a small group of people and formed Nessco limited, basically a three man operation offering telecoms engineering services to the O&G industry in the North Sea.
Over the first few formative years, Tom realised he needed to acquire a wider set of managerial skills and embarked on a programme of self-development culminating in the Institute of Directors’ Diploma in Company Direction. Through this period the company was expanding but certainly not in a linear manner. There were many ups and downs along the way particularly as Tom was driving the company to grow and diversify, with a strong emphasis on exports.
The next phase of growth included building its own custom-built premises in Aberdeen, opening offices in
Baku and Houston and acquiring a telecoms business in East Kilbride. The company went through a period of solid growth, underpinning the activity with a solid foundation of processes and systems including HSEQ, IT, Finance, HR, etc. The core revenue streams were a dynamic mix of opex and capex related revenues aiming for a good mix of recurring, visible revenues and lumpier, higher value project related contracts. In 2003 there was the chance to acquire a major competitor and advised by KMPG, acquired Invsat Ltd from Inmarsat plc. (Invsat was originally Plessey EAE the company that Tom started work with in the mid seventies). The integration process was focused and rigorous and we turned around a loss making business in a short space of time and as a result created an enterprise with a significant footprint, critical mass and a global profile.
As the prospect of an ‘exit’ was beginning to emerge Tom finally consummated a very long courtship with Maven Capital Partners (formerly Aberdeen Asset PE) as the first phase of an exit. In July 2012 Tom finally exited the business selling Nessco Group Holdings Ltd to RigNet Inc, a Nasdaq listed company based in Houston.
As well as his involvement with ISN Solutions, Tom now acts as Energy Sector Advisor to PwC and works with extreme sports centre, Transition Extreme. We look forward to working with Tom to help take our business to the next level.