Steve Gregory is no stranger to a career pivot – in fact, with the trajectory he’s followed over the last 30 years, pivot is quite a conservative term. Since graduating from Bond in 1993, Steve has lived all over the world and worked in industries from banking to military, retail, finance, and even for the UK government.
While juggling a busy and ultra-successful career, Steve has always kept Bond at the front of his mind. Not only did he serve as an Adjunct Teaching Fellow with the University for 15 years, but he’s since returned to pursue his Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Project Management.
There’s no doubt that Steve exemplifies everything Bond graduates are known for – determination, creativity, resilience and agility. But, where does a storied career like this one begin? Well, it all started with a degree in computer science from Bond that gave him his first ‘big break’ after graduation.
Mastering the ‘world wide web’
“When I left university in 1993, I started a job working as a researcher for the Distributed Systems Technology Centre (DSTC) based here at Bond, and later the University of Queensland,” Steve says.
“I distinctly remember my first day – my boss asked me to look into this new thing called an internet browser. Netscape had been released that week, and I attended a conference on the ‘world wide web’ shortly after,” he reflects.
“I trained myself on this new technology, and then my role quickly adapted to involve running seminars for the federal government to teach them about the internet. I had a PowerPoint slide with all of the sites on the internet – there were six,” he says.
It’s clear that the digital landscape has had a bit of a facelift since 1993, and Steve has been in the trenches the whole time, enduring every shift, change and algorithm update. After a few good years in sunny Queensland, though, it was time for some new scenery – and an exciting role combining Steve’s skills and one of his life’s passions.
“After DSTC, I found out about a big project in the UK, where software was being developed to let musicians produce music together using the internet. I’m a keen musician myself, so I decided to join the project, and then quickly moved to London as an employee,” he says.
“The project then raised money from the US, and I moved to San Francisco to continue developing the software. This was in the middle of the Dotcom boom, and was definitely a highlight of my career. Our clients were predominantly A-list celebrities and musicians, so it was clearly an interesting time in my life!”
“I was also fortunate enough to have the work I did here influence the direction of music streaming and the entire way we consume media today, on mobile devices through services like Spotify, Netflix and Amazon,” he says.
Pivoting and pandemics
The next decade or so brought lots of change for Steve, including a few international moves. After the music project he worked so tirelessly on wrapped with a successful buyout of the company, he relocated home to Australia, where he set up his own company. G-Netech, founded in 2001, provided custom software development and media production, and was one of the country’s first full-service digital agencies.
While running his business, Steve also began a long stint as an Adjunct Teaching Fellow at Bond, which saw him develop and teach subjects across software engineering, game development and film and television, from 1999 to 2014.
He sold his company in 2006, and then kickstarted his career as a mobile application developer and solutions architect. Since first pursuing this path in 2006, Steve has worked with huge clients including Microsoft, John Deere, the London Stock Exchange, Coutts Private Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BP and the Australian Federal Tax Office (ATO).
“My work tends to be varied,” Steve says. “It has ranged from helping UK special forces with software for use in hostage rescue, through to designing hay bailer software to run on iPads inside tractors.
“In 2016 I returned to the UK, now with specific expertise in mobile application development. For the past five or six years, I’ve worked freelance on a large number of projects across many industries,” Steve says. “This really prepared me for the pandemic – as a freelancer, I’d already spent a few years working completely remotely via Zoom and Teams.”
“One of the best things to come of returning to the UK and from the pandemic itself was the opportunity to work with Microsoft on the UK’s COVID-19 app,” he says. “I was approached by them to help build the app used by border security at all major airports and seaports, which needed to connect to mobile printers and interface with NHS computers.
“It was a very high-pressure delivery, and this particular component was solely my responsibility. A failure of the technology would’ve caused chaos at major airports like Heathrow, and then a domino impact at airports around the world – so it was crucial I got it right!”
“Now, with that one complete, I’ve started a new project writing software for electric cars, which runs on Apple CarPlay. It helps owners to line up their cars with the new electric charging points mounted into road surfaces in London,” Steve says.
He cites his desire to live a flexible and balanced life as a driving force behind going freelance, and staying positive during the pandemic.
“Right now I’m working remotely in Paris during the day, while shooting a music video here for my band at night. It’s something that has taken a long time to come to fruition, but one thing that has come out of the pandemic is that companies are now more flexible with remote working, and that’s really benefited me and my aspirations.”
Returning to his roots
With his career thriving from abroad, Steve has still maintained a strong link with Australia, and with the community he built while studying and teaching at Bond University. He’s been pursuing a double degree in business and project management for a few years now, and is set to graduate with his dual master’s in 2022.
“I got to the point where I was beginning to hit a ceiling, as it became apparent that technical skills could only take me so far. While I had run my own businesses, I knew that I’d need formal education to fill in the gaps. The companies I was now working for required business qualifications to move into more senior roles – so I enrolled back at Bond,” Steve says.
“Bond has provided a practical education with real-world scenarios that I could immediately apply when I entered the workforce, and will be able to further once I’ve finished my current studies,” Steve says.
“The world is ridiculously competitive, and the internet means that I’m in constant competition with the best developers from all over the world. I need to bring not only technical skills, but exceptional communication and organisational skills, to remain competitive. My performance is constantly monitored by software, and frankly, my job could be replaced at any time – so the work ethic I developed at Bond has helped to ensure I stay employed!”
Steve’s history with Bond spans close to thirty years, and has seen him undertake a variety of roles, from student to lecturer and back.
“I think my favourite thing about Bond is that so many lecturers have real experience from working out in industry. That is invaluable, especially in a fast-moving industry like tech,” he says.
So, what’s next for Steve?
“My plan is continue consulting and to take on larger projects using my own excellent team of developers from around the world. Beyond that, I want to continue my studies and eventually complete my PhD – which I’ve been trying to get around to for many years! Then, once the world returns to normal, I plan to base myself between Europe and Australia.”