Conor Ford – Career Spotlight – Strategic Partnerships Executive

19th February 2024

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Conor Ford has used his infectious personality and hard-working ethic to his advantage, to allow him to make meaningful connections and build lasting relationships. Here’s the story of how he went from dreams of becoming a Forensic Scientist, to making a successful career in Data Centres.  


Tell us about your career journey to date  

It all started when I tried my hand at labouring, but I realised I had hands built for an office and not a building site! I went into sales and started in telecommunications/cloud systems and found my way into construction about 6 years ago. I’ve been focused on that ever since. Whilst I was in the construction industry, I did some freelancing in Business Development for a number of smaller sub-contracting companies which gave me good exposure to the industry and the problems faced, with supply chain being one of them.  

I worked for a renewables company where I had first-hand experience of multi-million-pound projects for solar wind power farms. That sector was new to me at the time, similar to learning about Data Centres at Soben. I’ve become really obsessed with it, doing my reading on the industry in my spare time, subscribing to relevant podcasts and keeping an eye on which companies are winning the biggest projects.  

I started at Soben in January 2022 and launched into a new industry – DATA CENTRES! This was a steep learning curve, but it’s been a very enjoyable experience. I’ve met some great people in the industry through networking events and I’m looking forward to going back to Amsterdam in a few weeks for KickStart Europe 2024. 


You’ve sourced many projects over the years – which of those stand out for you? 

I worked on a 4MW solar wind farm in the north of England for an international client – the biggest client my company at the time had engaged with. I developed the relationship to a point where we were their go-to firm for all things solar related. This one achievement allowed the company turnover to increase by 70% year-on-year over 3 years.  


What has been your favourite project you’ve worked on, and why?  

The first project I ever completed for sure. It wasn’t huge, but it gave me the confidence that I am not out my depth. It was an extension on a 3-bedroom house (I told you it wasn’t huge) – but I had to organise all the labour needed for the project which included the plumbers, electricians, plasterers, tilers and flooring people to work to a tight schedule with a lot of moving parts and managing delays in materials. The project was completed successfully, and I even managed to make myself a few quid. This gave me the appetite to continue working in construction; seeing the clients face and how rewarding it is.  


What have been some defining moments of your career? 

The first, is taking the leap of faith by going from a sales floor manager with a pretty good salary to freelance and working on a commission only basis. Although my girlfriend didn’t think it was the best idea at the time, (considering our monthly bills), but I’m so glad I did, and it all worked out better than I could have imagined.  

The second was winning my first project when I was freelancing – I got the belief that I could carry on. Who knows where I would have ended up if I had not secured my first project (more than likely those monthly bills would have put me in arrears – not worth thinking about now).  

Lastly, joining Soben and attending my first Data Centre networking event – I got exposure to an industry I couldn’t have imagined myself in. To be in a room with hundreds of professionals and having to quickly pick up a whole new jargon. I probably made myself look a bit silly in some conversations, but each interaction provided a vital learning, and I am grateful to Soben for throwing me in the deep end. Turns out I’m a pretty good swimmer, and I have some great teachers around me.  


If you weren’t a Strategic Partnerships Executive, what would you be doing?  

I left school with the idea that I would be a forensic scientist – I used to watch ‘The Bill’ a lot on TV when I was younger. There was a bloke on there who was a forensic scientist, and he wore a lot of nice suits, so I wanted to be like him. That dream was crushed when I realised, I needed to have an A in Chemistry and do a 5-year degree off the back of that. During my time so far at Soben, I’ve been able to attend UTC Heathrow Digital Futures open evening – it gave me a good insight into the next generation of skilled workers coming through, which is something really needed for the industry currently.  


What career advice would you give your younger self? 

Don’t panic kid, you’re going to win the lottery one day! Only kidding, never lose sight of what is important in life!! 


To find out more about Soben’s services, you can contact Conor on the details below or find him at KickStart Europe 2024 and Data Centre World London 2024: 

Conor Ford 

Strategic Partnerships Executive  

[email protected]  

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