An international career in the fast-paced technology industry awaited Alan Evans after graduating from North Staffordshire Polytechnic in 1977. A strong interest in people saw him running HR departments responsible for tens of thousands of employees at some of the world’s largest IT companies. A four-year business degree gave him the start needed to rise through the ranks at GEC, Digital Equipment, Compaq and Fujitsu.
“I absolutely look back at my time at North Staffs Poly fondly,” said Alan, now semi-retired, running his own HR consultancy. “I was desperate to get out and work, so the course suited me well, with a sandwich year in industry. I had a lot of experience already when I left and I knew I wanted to work with people, which led me straight into the first job of a successful HR career with global IT companies.”
After leaving North Staffordshire Polytechnic – which later became Staffordshire University – Alan started his career in the HR department of General Electric Company. He worked at three different factories during his seven years at the firm, in Stafford, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Rugby, and quickly rose to personnel manager overseeing 5,000 employees.
In 1985, Alan moved to Digital Equipment, which at the time was the second largest computer company in the world and was later bought out by Compaq and latterly by Hewlett Packard. Rising to the level of director, Alan oversaw a 200 strong HR department responsible for 12,000 employees across the UK and Ireland.
In 1998, when Digital Equipment changed hands, Alan made the move to Germany with his wife and three young children, to start a new job in Compaq’s European HQ in Munich. The HR team operated in 26 countries and was responsible for 16,000 employees at the time.
Almost five years later, Alan moved back to the UK to start as HR director for Core Services at Fujitsu, an organisation of 7,000 IT consulting and outsourcing specialists. Then in 2005, while considering the option of launching his own firm, he was poached to become Director of Human Resources and Administration at NEC Europe.
Two years later, Alan finally launched Century 21 Human Resources Ltd, which he continues to run part time while also volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Air Ambulance Service in the Midlands. He recently attended a reunion with old teammates from North Staffordshire Polytechnic’s 1973-78 rugby teams.
“Ten of us came up to Stoke-on-Trent and met at The Glebe,” he said. “We went for a meal and a brewery tour and we’re planning on meeting up again in February. I knew most of them personally back in my Poly days, when I was in my early 20s, and it was absolutely great to see them again now we’re all of retirement age.
“Everyone from the team is doing great. A number of them completed business degrees, same as me, and others did an LLB and became solicitors. Most of them are partners in their own law firms now.”