Airport management hasn’t moved on much in the last five or ten years. But George Richardson, the CEO at AeroCloud, is on a mission to revolutionise airport operations using Cloud technology.
The platform, the brainchild of Richardson and AeroCloud’s CTO and industry veteran, Ian Forde-Smith, shows airport staff the real-time effects of delays, diverts and cancellations on daily operations and gives them the capability to plan and adjust their plans when needed – supported by AI and machine learning. So far, airports of all sizes across the US are benefitting from the time saved – including Tampa International, Sarasota Bradenton and John Wayne in California.
Richardson buzzes with the energy of a born entrepreneur, although he doesn’t like the term. “It’s overused,” he said. The apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree with Richardson, who heralds from a family of hard-grafting businesspeople. His mother owned a chain of hairdressing salons, and his father is a successful property entrepreneur.
“I’ve just got it in me,” Richardson said, who is passionate about northern entrepreneurialism. Or rather, entrepreneurialism emerging “outside of London”. He sure started early, setting up a playground empire at school. “I was that typical kid selling anything and everything, ducking and diving.”
Even now, Richardson struggles with the itch to invent. It’s hard for him to resist getting involved “with something on the side,” he said, “I’m always trawling eBay”.
That zest for business, which Richardson feels pulsing in his veins, has helped him manage the strenuous workload that comes with overseeing a young start-up – AeroCloud was created in 2017 – and has grown quickly despite the pandemic. The CEO wasn’t phased by international travel curbs, because operational airport staff were still working, meaning AeroCloud could still be utilised. Running a start-up is “absolutely manic and that’s just the way I like it,” Richardson said.
Of course, the business has had its ups, downs, and fair share of “dark days,” but Richardson doesn’t like to dwell on those. “I just enjoy the journey,” he said. Richardson’s co-founder, Forde-Smith, has helped him maintain such unbridled enthusiasm. During the most difficult periods, the company’s experienced CTO “saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and I was able to feed off that,” Richardson explained. On reflection, the sleepless nights have been “just as enjoyable as the ones where we’re having a drink”.
AeroCloud has its sights set on growth. Richardson thinks of the company as “a rocket ship that we’re all able to board and dislodge the competition”. Touted as one of Tech Nation’s regional rising stars in 2020, AeroCloud is off to a flying start. Watch this (aero)space.
If you want to watch the full interview, check out the video below.
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