Mark Fordyce, York technology chief and former musician, says his previous career helped open doors in the world of finance, contributing to the success of his business today.

Now, York Data Services are just months short of their 20th anniversary, with a growing range of services, delivered to customers across the North from their York Science Park HQ, where the business has been based since 2003.

Mark came to the York area in 1979 having grown up in Scotland. His father was a sales manager for a pharmaceuticals company and a promotion brought the family to York. He spent 25 years in the music industry and in the early 1980s helped form the well renowned York band The Mood.

Many of his peers moved into emerging web-based businesses and Mark created a lifestyle website. But the late 90s and the ‘dotcom bubble’ brought a switch, as being in a known 80s band saw Mark asked by major financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald to help set up the online division of the spread betting company Cantor Index, giving Mark the opportunity to work on the networks that ran between the trading floors of London and New York.

He then returned to York to settle down, and realising the region lacked the technology he used in the banking sector, Mark formed York Data Services. “We set about building ultra-fast, low latency connectivity for the SME market, such that the banking industry was used to, enabling SMEs to punch above their weight.”

The company has now grown into a Tier 2 Internet Service Provider, the same stature as Virgin and TalkTalk, with a private fibre network running between York, Leeds and London. Company offerings include Fibre Leased Lines and Broadband, with speeds up to 10 Gigabit, alongside VoIP and managed services, with a speciality in serving business centres and business parks.

Mark is also keen to ‘give back’, acting as a facilitator and mentor to various York businesses. He sits on the board of Make it York and York St John University, amongst other groups.

This year, York Data Services is again sponsoring the Retail, Tourism and Leisure category of the York Press Business Awards. Mark sees ‘good synergy’ in backing the awards, as many of his customers are in this sector.

He considers the relationship between his business and customers paramount, able to hold their hand at every turn, helping them grow through better connectivity. His creative background allows for new and unique ways of delivering future-proof services.

Mark describes himself as “an analogue maverick in a digital world”, citing his collection of rare 1970s analogue synthesizers. He added: “I still keep a hand in [the music world], I have just written a song with Wolfgang Flur from Kraftwerk.”