Guest editor David Richards: I am filled with hope for the future of world class Sheffield
I grew up with The Star. In the early 80s, I remember reading about the decline of the steel industry and witnessing the impact on my own family. My father worked at Davy Roll, my grandfather at Hatfield. I wondered, what will the future hold for our city?
I was lucky. The head of sixth form at Tapton School encouraged me to pursue a career in computing. He could see I had natural ability. I left behind a trainee banking job and went off to follow my dreams as an entrepreneur in the exciting new world of technology.
As the founder, chairman and chief executive of WANdisco plc, I am running a global company that specialises in data software and serves many of the world’s biggest businesses. After 22 years of living and working in Silicon Valley, our family has come home to Sheffield.
In spite of lockdown, our company has grown. Instead of flying back and forth across the Atlantic to meet investors, we have raised $25m from Wall Street and the City of London from our new home at Sugworth Hall. (If readers have old pictures or stories about the historic house, please email us at [email protected])
I am filled with hope for our city’s future. Our advanced manufacturing industry is world class. Our technology sector is home to some of the UK’s most innovative new companies. Our universities are producing cutting-edge research. Yes, we have been through a torrid time with the Covid crisis, but there is so much to be hopeful about.
As someone who has been successful in life, I believe we have a duty to help others less fortunate. That’s why we are delighted to sponsor The Star and Learning Sheffield’s Home Learning Supplement to help bring educational materials to children who are missing out on schooling as a result of this cruel pandemic.
My wife and I set up the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation because we believe that while talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not. We have donated shares in WANdisco to develop educational programmes that equip young people with the skills to succeed in life, whatever their background. They need hope - and that’s the theme of this special edition of The Star. I hope you enjoy the exclusives featuring Liz Truss and co as much as we enjoyed producing them.