The WebSphere User Group Committee
Chairman - Rick Smith - Safeways
Rick recently re-joined LloydsTSB Group IT after a 14 year absence - to work as a WebSphere Consultant and Technical Architect - following 13 enjoyable years working for Safeway Stores IT.
In his 20+ years with both companies, Rick has served in a variety of IT functions, as practitioner and manager, including Centres of Excellence, Integration Services, Development Projects, Business Support, Service Management, Service Centres and Technical Services.
Before joining LTSB, Rick spent his last 3 years at Safeway managing the establishment of a J2EE and EAI architecture/capability, primarily employing the WebSphere portfolio and other IBM technologies, as part of an Enterprise Architecture strategy. The relatively small team Rick led was involved in all aspects of this project, including architecture, development, support and administration practices. This has given Rick an all-round appreciation for the technologies and skills involved and how to best leverage them.
Before leaving Safeway, Rick performed in the role of lead Technical Architect, within which he played a key role in successfully delivering multi-million pound integration projects using WebSphere J2EE and MQ - a legacy he remains proud of.
Rick was introduced to the WebSphere User Group UK in 2002, initially being invited to act as WUG secretary before becoming chairman in 2003.
As well as being involved in WUG, Rick particpates in the WebSphere Inner Circle programme, which has enabled him to meet and have access to many influential and knowledgeable people within IBM WebSphere circles.
In recent years Rick has also been involved in trials of new technology, such as Naked Objects open-source and practices, such as IBM Patterns for e-Business.
Outside of work, Rick is happily married with 3 young children (notice the bags under eyes) and lives in Rickmansworth, Herts. He enjoys sport, travel and good eating, although now spends too little time on former and too much time on latter. His hobbies include following Wasps RFC, Ipswich Town FC, the Oakland Raiders and England football/rugby teams. Rick also has the odd hack spoiling some very nice golf courses, always making special effort to par the 19th!
Vice Chairman - Colin Renouf - Lloyds TSB
Colin Renouf is a certified IBM WebSphere Associate Developer. Colin formerly studied aeronautical engineering at the University of London (QMC) and spent time working on helicopter engine design. He was subsequently drawn into the world of software development, where he has spent the last 17 years coding, designing, and working on technical architecture and strategy for one the UK's oldest banks (Lloyds TSB). During this time Colin studied many other subjects and obtained other qualifications including another first class degree covering social sciences and IT.
Before discovering the beauty of Java, Colin was writing enterprise systems using old school programming languages such as assembler, C and C++ on DOS, Windows and AIX systems. Java and J2EE, along with C# and .NET to provide balance, are hobbies as well as key job skills. He also has a keen interest in Unix, Linux and Windows.
Colin is a keen advocate of computer certifications having obtained a number of certifications from Microsoft (MCP, MCSE, MCDBA), Oracle (OCP DBA), Sun (Java SCJP and Solaris SCSA) and more recently IBM (WebSphere Studio v5.0).
Colin is currently living in Croydon (near London) and is married with two children. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Web Master - Alex Moss - John Lewis Partnership
Alex is the newest member of the WebSphere UserGroup, having joined in 2009. He's spent his working life (only since 2004!) at the John Lewis Partnership working in their Middleware Systems Team.
The group are responsible for provisioning and maintaining JLP's web-based infrastructure (amongst other things), a large part of which runs on WebSphere products. The operation has grown in size considerably since he started, and he's always looking for the better way to do things.
Lately he's been branching out from traditional web systems into the world of Messaging and Service Buses.
Willing to turn his hand to anything, he prefers things that are shiny and new ... providing they run on UNIX.
Treasurer - Chris Mason - Aegon
Since March 2000 Chris has worked for major life insurer Aegon UK where he leads the team responsible for the development and configuration of the core eCommerce infrastructure. Key tasks are configuration of all software components, including Websphere, and advising on architectural issues.
Much time has been spent developing standards for the way Websphere is configured and used within Aegon, and streamlining the process for deploying applications.
Chris is a Chartered Engineer and worked in datacomms before moving into more mainstream IT about 10 years ago. Since then he has worked for several organisations as an administrator and systems integrator on UNIX based systems. Recent experience included two years spent at the European Central Bank in the time leading up to and including the launch of the Euro.
After a long career with IBM as a Consulting IT specialist in IBM's UK Software Business, Alan is now developing his career as freelance consultant, through his company Kupono Consulting Ltd.
In the late 1990's Alan became as an evangelist for Java as it quickly became so important to IBM and the IT industry at large. It was therefore natural, when IBM introduced its new Java-based application server, that he was appointed "UK WebSphere Champion", promoting WebSphere and supporting enterprises who were evaluating and implementing it.
In this role, Alan received a growing number requests from WebSphere customers for a user group that would enable them to share experience and develop their knowledge. In response to this, he convened a meeting in 2001, to which WebSphere users were invited to come and discuss creating a new user group. It was at this meeting that a committee of volunteers was formed who subsequently met to create the WebSphere User Group that we now know. Alan continues to serve until the end of 2009 as its IBM Representative.