In the first in a series of ‘behind the scenes’ client interviews, we meet Sally Budden, Director of Corporate Affairs at AlphaBio Control.
AlphaBio Control has been a client of Agile Technical Solutions since August 2018. During that time, it has grown significantly as it continues to be at the forefront of natural chemistry crop protection.
Behind the scenes, ensuring the smooth daily functioning of AlphaBio Control is Sally, whose job it is, among many things, to ensure that the company’s data and systems are secure and accessible.
Sally, could you tell us about your career and journey to AlphaBio Control?
Absolutely. Before I started working for AlphaBio Control, I’d enjoyed a 20-year career in media and journalism in the US and Europe before taking a complete change in direction to manage an Info Tech and security risk compliance team at BT. I initially started supporting AlphaBio Control on a part-time basis when it was just our two co-founders, working full time as the first employee in August 2014, and it’s fair to say that a lot has changed since then.
As Director of Corporate Affairs, my responsibility is looking after the company’s daily functioning, making sure that our support team has everything they need to do their job well. I also manage corporate governance, HR, IT Security and Health and Safety.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
The aspect I find most rewarding is making sure that the team is happy and able to work efficiently so that there are no bottlenecks within the business.
Working in a heavily regulated industry, I also find the corporate governance and health and safety part of my role very rewarding. AlphaBio Control is a rapidly growing natural chemistry crop protection company, so it is important that we have the right processes and policies in place to facilitate growth wherever in the world we are working.
Most importantly, my role helps our CEO to develop the business, confident in the knowledge that the support team is well looked after and that any issues that do arise are quickly addressed. In my view, this is quite an achievement for a young company.
Could you tell us more about your team – what makes them so great?
No matter what they are asked to do, they will do it because they are motivated to work for a forward-thinking company. Their spirit, willingness, and motivation for the potential of the business is unparalleled. We all share the same vision. It’s a special place to be.
AlphaBio Control won the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation in 2021. Could you tell us more about this?
Being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation for the development of FLiPPER® – a new biological insecticide derived from natural and sustainable sources – was a big moment for AlphaBio Control.
It was an incredible achievement for the whole team for FLiPPER® to be recognised in this way. Every member of the team was involved in pulling together information and evidence for the award submission, including Agile Technical Solutions.
Talking about Agile, how would you describe our relationship?
If I look at when we started, our IT needs have changed dramatically over that time. When we approached Agile Technical Solutions and several other IT companies, we were looking for an IT partner that could support our immediate and future IT needs.
Agile stood out because, as well as reliable IT support, Nick Baines (Agile’s MD) offered consultancy which, as a growing company, was a priority for us. He has guided us through our growth, making recommendations and giving advice which has been invaluable. The IT support has proven to be customer-focused and the team at Agile have an excellent work ethic. Working in partnership with us, Agile is very much an extension of our own team.
For example, IT security is business-critical for our company. Being able to safely move information between our team across Europe is essential. The way our server is built, and our systems are structured, thanks to Agile, we are able to do that in a way that protects all of our data.
Access is also critical. We rarely have any access problems, but Agile is extremely good at rapidly resolving them if we ever do. Their technical team is thoughtful and on it immediately. Nothing is ever too much trouble. This mirrors how our support team looks after our operations team, so Agile is the perfect fit for us, both technically and culturally.
Sally, you have a very busy role. How do you balance work and life?
Making time for life outside work is incredibly important, and I make sure that the rest of the team are supported to achieve a good balance.
For me, this means exercise. I love cycling. I deliberately moved to a village 10 miles away from our Bury St Edmunds office so that I could cycle to work.
I am also very lucky to have a lot of grandchildren who keep me busy and, having worked in radio journalism for such a long time, I love my music. My all-time favourite genres are Motown and Soul. My boys took me to the Ministry of Sound a couple of years ago to watch Trevor Nelson’s Soul Nation, and I outdanced everyone!