Managers Abroad: John Nicol: CEO, Acron Capability Engineering, Ottawa, Canada

Article excerpt

What prompted you to seek work out of New Zealand?

While I was peace keeping with the New Zealand Army, I met my now Canadian wife while she was on holiday in Israel. I left the army and moved to Canada after the mission.

Can you provide a sketch of your current role?

I am the CEO of a company that develops information exchange applications for command and control systems and also specialises in developing and integrating modelling and simulation solutions. It is my responsibility to lead all aspects of the company, from strategy and vision through to arranging leases on our office space. As most self-employed people can attest, the people that start a company do everything, so I can't say that I am in a true management position, just one of the guys that has a hand in everything and spends a lot of hours doing it.

How does it lit into your career path?

Building a company from scratch and seeing it move into international markets is very valuable experience. Years of military training, personnel management and leadership opportunities as a senior manager at other companies have made this an easier career path transition.

What are its main challenges?

Our main customer is the Canadian government. Working with the Canadian government ministries and agencies is challenging. Imagine the old TV show Gliding On and you have something approximating the speed and efficiency of how things work here. There are certainly a lot of bigger and more established companies that have a strong presence in our client market.

The other challenge is the lengthy decision cycle. It can take two or three years to get contracts completed from initial contact. Some companies believe that working with the government is easy if they have the right product. …