We bid a fond farewell to Billy Sweeney, our Service Support Manager, based in our Edinburgh head office. He heads into retirement after nearly half a century in the office equipment industry!
The early years
Firstly, Billy was born in 1956 and raised in the Glasgow areas of Drumchapel and Milton. After school, he spent 3 years at Stow College of Engineering (now Glasgow Kelvin College) studying Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering.
The office equipment expert
After Stow, Billy started work with AM International in 1971 as an Apprentice Engineer. He progressed to become an Engineer for Western Central Scotland working on Offset Litho’ and “Jurasic” Zinc Oxide coated photocopiers/platemakers, and micrographic equipment.
The Kodak Years
In 1983, he joined Kodak Ltd as an Engineer. He was the first Aberdeen based Kodak HV Engineer and, as part of a very successful start-up team, they snapped up many of Rank Xerox’s “Juggernaut copier” customers.
Billy particularly recalls two exciting weeks in 1991 in the USSR. He helped provide technical support to Kodak’s launch of Ektaprint 235AF copier. Product demonstrations were held at Sokolniki Park and field technical support/training was given to Moscow field engineers mainly through interpreters. During his time there he was fortunate to visit Red Square, the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, Gorski Street, KGB HQ and Revolution Square and enjoyed meeting many Russians.
In 1993, Billy spent a year working in the development of Kodak’s first ground-breaking digital print engine. This involved liaising with UK and European Technical Specialists and US product development and design engineers to improve product performance. Billy eventually became Technical Resource Representative for Scotland and later District Field Service Manager Scotland.
In 1997, Danka Business Systems bought Eastman Kodak’s office imaging and facilities management business for $684M. This resulted in Billy becoming Regional Service Manager for North West/North East England and Scotland in 1997 until 2006.
Capital Document Solutions
2006 saw Capital acquire Danka’s Scottish base and several key Scottish personnel transferred over including Billy. After helping integrate the Danka base, he later started up a programme to administer consumable alerts from devices via monitoring software.
In collaboration with others, this included:
- understanding the new software (@Remote, CSRC, Web Jetadmin, SiteAudit) and the consumable alerts they create and send to us at CDS,
- instigating the creation of a database of email alerts leading to full-on “automation” of toner alerts straight through to request print-outs at Stores,
- recording any technical “failures” of monitoring software leading to devices running out of toner to understand and put in place corrective action to prevent further incidence,
- recording any non-technical reasons to understand why devices might run out toner,
- for non-monitored devices and with Helpdesk and Work Control Team assistance, politely questioning customers about requests for toner when volumes of copying/printing produced didn’t equate to the quantity of toner requested.
Through education and advising customers, Capital reduced toner queries by 16% last year. This was despite an increasing number of devices operating with monitoring software.
The Kodak film star
Billy had a prominent “extra” role in a Kodak sponsored movie circa 1995. “Chasing the Deer” starred Iain Cuthbertson, Brian Blessed and also Derek Dick (Fish from Marillion). Sadly, despite being on the big screen a Hollywood career did not blossom.
Finally, some words of wisdom from Billy, “In management I was brought up to look after the interests of the customer, staff and company. If you’re highly organised you can manage most things. “