Page 7 - Evolve Magazine Spring 2021
P. 7

  He went on to develop laser scanning systems for the print industry and later for retailers, through a US firm.
It was while working for the US firm that the red wine throwing incident occurred. It was the culmination
of an argument over which departments were entitled to
eat a buffet that was on offer in the office one lunchtime. “It was probably the shortest resignation letter that anybody’s ever submitted,” he jokes.
Gleadall decided to move from Watford back up to Yorkshire to start a new business, developing point of sale systems for small independent retailers.
He describes his career highlight as a ‘technological scoop but a commercial disaster’ when he and his colleagues designed and built the very first touchscreen system for retail in 1994.
“We launched it in 1995 to be told by everybody that there was no requirement for touchscreens in retail,” he recalls.
Due to escalating manufacturing costs the marketing rights and intellectual property were acquired
by an Italian manufacturer. However, the deal went sour when the manufacturer got into financial difficulties, which Gleadall says
left him with a £400,000 bill. The technology was never used.
At around the same time Gleadall developed his first integrated admissions and ticketing system for a new project at Chester Zoo.
However, it wasn’t until the financial crisis rocked the retail industry in 2008 that he realised the firm had to make that side of the business a priority. The following year, Gleadall worked with Visit England to develop new admissions and ticketing systems to push tourism development in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics.
Now, with little prospect of visitor attractions opening up again before Easter, Gleadall is once again looking at other markets to
develop alongside the core focus of the business, including a food ordering app.
He remains confident about the long term prospect for tourism. “The more you coup people up, the more determined they are to go out,” he says.
Gleadall, who is married and has two grown up children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild, says he has no plans for retirement because he still enjoys the challenge. “Every morning there’s a challenge and an opportunity. It’s my job to beat the challenge and find the opportunity,” he says.

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