Nick Wainwright is chief executive of York EMC Services (YES), a subsidiary company of the University of York, which provides products and services to manufacturers of electrical and electronic products.

Its services enables customers to demonstrate they meet stringent legal requirements and apply the "ce" marking to their products.

Mr Wainwright says that one of the firm's biggest challenges is to explain to non-technical people what the company actually does.

He said: “If you are a solicitor or a teacher or you own an Estate Agents or a PR company then people instantly have a pretty good idea of what you do. If we say that we provide Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing then most people are none-the-wiser!

"Electromagnetic compatibility is all about ensuring that electrical products don’t interference with one another.

"Under UK law manufacturers are required to demonstrate that their products are compatible and we help them to do that.”

EMC is just one of a range of test services that YES provides to manufacturers across the UK from its laboratories in Grangemouth, Scotland, Castleford and Yate just north of Bristol. Its head office remains on the University campus and houses the training, consultancy and test instrumentation parts of the business as well as finance and marketing.

YES lists many household names among its customers and tests a staggering variety of products ranging from vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens to railway signalling systems and even whole trains.

Mr Wainwright admits that he got involved in the regulatory compliance industry quite by accident, stating: "I studied for my undergraduate degree in electronics in Newcastle and had sponsorship from GEC Telecoms, in Newton Aycliffe.

"When I graduated I went to work there and discovered that they were having all sorts of EMC problems with their phones picking up taxi radio signals; I showed an interest, and the rest is history."

A couple of years later he came to work in York as a test engineer and worked his way up the corporate ladder, becoming a director of YES in 2003 and chief executive in 2011.

Mr Wainwright said: "Working for the same company for more than 20 years is something of a rarity these days but YES has changed beyond recognition in that time and I can honestly say that each role I’ve had has been different and brought its own rewards as well as challenges.

"I love business and the adrenaline and excitement associated with it, and although this can sometimes be challenging, the feeling that success brings with it is hard to beat."


What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

"I’ve always had an interest in radio; both from an engineering and a presentation side. As a teenager growing up in the late 70s I’m sure I used imagine myself as the next Tony Blackburn, but the engineering side won in the end, much to the relief of my parents!"

Greatest achievement?

"Professionally, getting to the point where the company is successful, profitable and expanding.

"One of my first managers once quipped that ‘success was a one ulcer man holding down a two ulcer job.’ As far as I know I don’t have any ulcers so I think that’s quite an achievement!”

What makes you most angry?

"I’m not the type of person who gets angry easily but one thing that does annoy me is when people don’t take pride in what they do, particularly when you know the person is capable of doing a much better job than they have.

I’m also a bit old-school when it comes to grammar and my pet hate is seeing apostrophes used in simple plurals."

Biggest mistake?

"I’m not a great believer in mistakes and blame. In business we make decisions every day based on the information that we have available. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and with the benefit of it you sometimes wish that you’d taken a different route or handled something in a different way. The mistake is not learning from previous experience - which I hope I do. I’ve come to learn that my gut feeling is usually right.”

What do you need to make life complete?

"I love my job and the variety that it brings but probably a few extra hours in the day to add to the ‘life’ part of the ‘work/life’ balance wouldn’t go amiss."

Why do you make a difference?

"Because I put my heart and soul into what I do. If I think something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right."


"He worked hard, he made a difference; he deserves his rest."