The Group



The Isle of Wight Technology Group is formed of a variety of technology companies across the Island, ranging from small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to large multinationals. It is chaired by Geoff Underwood, Managing Director of Inflight Peripherals (IFPL).

We have a common purpose of furthering industry, promoting engineering and technology as a career path, and encouraging employment in these areas on the Isle of Wight.

Industries on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has a rich industrial heritage, which continues today with the Island being home to many innovative companies at the leading edge of their respective disciplines.

Aims

As a group, we aim to:-

  • Promote the Island’s technology companies both to its residents and across the UK.
  • Raise the profile of the Island as a location for other technology companies within the UK, offering a significant skills resource base.
  • Advertise the Island as an attractive careers proposition for existing and potential residents alike with an interest in working for technologically innovative companies.
  • Promote STEM-IT subjects throughout the Island’s education system, encouraging young people to consider technology and engineers as a career path.
  • Ensure alignment between the requirements of industry for appropriately skilled employees and the educational infrastructure able to deliver those skills both on the Island and nearby on the UK mainland.
  • Facilitate and encourage resource sharing between group members.

Vision

The group’s vision is to establish the Isle of Wight as a location of choice for technology companies in the UK, such that the Island is not just a great place to live, but also an exciting and interesting place to work for those engaged by technologically innovative businesses, offering careers underpinned by a high standard of accessible educational resources.

If you have any queries or would like to speak with the group's secretary Denise Kilpatrick, about any of the following, then please email: iwtg@outlook.com


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Chairman: Dominic Ward

Dominic Ward is the Engineering and Operations Director for Parlex Europe Ltd, the manufacturer of printed flexible circuits for Automotive and a wide range of other markets. Parlex products are essentially HMI (Human machine interface) devices meaning they interface between the user and the electronic systems within the application. Parlex is part of the Johnson Electric group with the head office in Hong Kong and annual sales of $3.3 Billion USD, employing 40k people world wide.

Parlex was established on the Island over 40years ago by two brothers from London. The main reason for choosing the Island was their passion for sailing. Previously Parlex manufactured 33 million IBM keyboard membranes along with keyboards for Clive Sinclair for the ZX80/81 and Spectrum at the birth of home computing. Dominic was born on the Island and has worked at Parlex for 35 years, starting as an apprentice.

Although Dominic travels globally to support the business, he always enjoys returning home to the Island to enjoy lifestyle benefits. "I always look forward to being back so I can get in the water on my surf board or on my Mountain bike using numerous trails, the Island is a great place to work and live!"

To contact Dominic, please email the group's secretary, Denise Kilpatrick, at iwtg@outlook.com


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The Vice Chairman: Karen Lucas

Karen Lucas is the Managing Director of Vikoma International Limited, a company specialising in the manufacture of oil spill equipment and oil recovery systems. In 2015 Karen led a team to complete a private equity backed MBO of Vikoma. Vikoma currently has 60 employees and operates from it 4,800 m2 factory in East Cowes. Vikoma recently celebrated 50 years in business and has won the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award.

Karen is a qualified accountant and has held a number of roles including 16 years as Group Finance Director for the Strainstall Group, an Island based group specialising in Load and Stress monitoring systems and services, where Karen was part of an MBO team prior to selling the group to James Fisher & Sons Plc, who remain the owners of the business today.

Karen has been living on the Isle of Wight for over 20 years now and is passionate about living and working on the island and keeping business on the island. “We utilise the services of around 80 different local business yet export our products all around the world. There are a lot of good quality businesses contributing to the economy on the Island - It’s a fabulous place to live too. Live the dream!”

To contact Karen, please email the group's secretary, Denise Kilpatrick, at iwtg@outlook.com



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The Secretary: Denise Kilpatrick

Denise Kilpatrick is the secretary and first contact for the Isle of Wight Technology Group. She has been involved with the group since it was set up in 2012 by her then boss, past Island MP, Andrew Turner. When her role with the MP became redundant she decided to take a year off, however, continued working for the group on a voluntary basis. Prior to working as Personal Assistant for the Island’s MP her background is recruitment, sales and marketing.

Funding was sourced this year and Denise is now employed for 12 hours per week to support the group in its aims to raise the profile of the plethora of amazing companies that exist on the Island and to engage with Island young people to encourage more of them into engineering and to change the mindset that they “have to move off the Island to get a good job”.

To contact Denise, email her at iwtg@outlook.com


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Past Chairman: Geoff Underwood

Geoff is founder and CEO of IFPL, an electronics company that designs and manufactures equipment for Inflight Entertainment Systems.

Born on the Isle of Wight, he was apprenticed to Plessey Radar, and then studied Mechanical Engineering at Portsmouth Polytechnic. Geoff has worked in the UK and USA on Military Avionics and Missile Systems, until taking the role of Chief Mechanical Engineer at GEC Marconi Inflight Systems, Portsmouth in 1993. When GEC Marconi pulled-out from the market in 1996 Geoff established IFPL as a design consultancy, working from home. The company, currently based in Calbourne, began manufacturing its own products in c.2000 and since then has seen year on year growth. IFPL currently employs circa 70 people, and has a policy of using Isle of Wight suppliers wherever possible.

IFPL is proud to have recently been awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the second time. Geoff is Chairman of the Isle of Wight Technology Group, and is High Sheriff in Nomination for the Isle of Wight 2019-2020. He is also the Founder of The WightAid Foundation which is focussed on channelling business giving to local causes.

To contact Geoff, please email the group's secretary, Denise Kilpatrick, at iwtg@outlook.com