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Five minutes with Napier CTO David Poltorak
Marcus Desai
November 27, 2020

David, or Dave as we know him in the office (albeit a virtual one right now), is one of those guys who needs little introduction. He’s the one who everyone knows and has spoken to. He’s been an integral part of our team since Napier’s inception and you’ve only got to spend a few minutes with him to see how his relentless passion and drive quickly earned his place as Chief Technology Officer.

Dave stands firmly behind the steering wheel of technology at Napier (which, let's face it, is everything we do). And when you speak to him, it’s not hard to sense the pride he has in being part of Napier’s journey over the last five years.

Dave is a real techie. His knowledge of technologies that most people have never even heard of is immense. And even when he’s not immersed in technology at work, he spends his free time exploring and keeping abreast of the latest developments.

Aside from being on the nerdy side of a tech enthusiast, Dave has a sharp business mind.

So sharp that when he graduated from the University of Nottingham with a first class honours in electronic and computer engineering, he decided against an electronic engineering job at a leading company to work for a small consultancy specialising in Salesforce software.

Why? Because he wanted the business exposure. He wanted to learn first-hand what it was like to manage projects, to tackle real-world business challenges and to get to grips with vital business processes. He knew he could always go back to engineering.

During the early years of his career, Dave designed Salesforce systems as a consultant and gained vital learning experiences. Dave credits his personal development to the leaders and mentors he had then. They put him front and centre giving him room to learn, and to even make supervised mistakes occasionally. They gave him opportunities that would develop his leadership skills to a level sophisticated enough to handle a board level role.

Dave recalls, “When you’re thrown in the deep end, don’t panic. If you have the right people around you, they will always support you.”

As the software company grew, it transitioned from a services business to one offering products too. This gave him good exposure to being involved in the exciting job of designing and developing products for market.

Fast forward a couple of years and Dave became CTO at a sister company looking to build a big data platform to solve the problems of money laundering and CTF. The new role gave him the chance to work with lots of different technologies, to work out what to build and how to build it.

This was 6 years ago and Dave’s been moving along the CTO path ever since.

When Dave first started at Napier, he was writing code from scratch. As we have developed and built our excellent engineering team, Dave has moved to create our Infrastructure and Information Security teams and now sits in a strategic technology role.

But Dave’s life does not only revolve around work. When it came time for him to tie the knot, the entirety of Napier was invested. We all knew about the wedding, the gruelling schedule to view venues, get in shape and taste menus. But after going through 12 months of planning with him, only a handful of us were invited...

Looking back onto his experience at Napier, he says that “the amount of work we’ve completed over the last three years is staggering. You only have to look at the quality of our user interface, the quality of our backend, the excellence in architecture and how we achieve security, scalability and stability and just generally how it all works. And there’s so much more in the pipeline.”

Dave finishes by saying there’s no room for complacency.

“We need to continue to innovate in every iteration. This means keeping our eyes open on emerging technology trends, especially those for machine learning.”

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