Matt is Global IT Infrastructure Manager and IT Manager for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa)
Having joined Rouse in 1997 – when fax machines were still in use and emails something of a novelty - Matt probably now qualifies as a member of the ‘old crew’. Over the years, he has been closely involved in the firm’s developing IT systems, occupying just about every position in the department along the way. Although, for the most part, he and his team work pretty much behind the scenes, they are a vital part of the business: in the 2021 Law Firm Business Leaders’ Report issued by Thomson Reuters in October, more than 90% of law firm executives identified ‘better use of technology’ as their No. 1 strategy to improve overall performance.
When he left school, Matt didn’t really know what he wanted to do – but one thing he was very clear about: he didn’t want to go on to university, as most of his school friends were doing. As his father was a Chemical Engineer, he decided to give engineering a go and enrolled in the Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering course at a local college. Although he was interested in the course, he wasn’t inspired by it, whereas he was developing a real fascination for computers, tinkering with them, and building gaming PCs. So on completion of the engineering qualification, he changed tack and obtained a Diploma in Computer Science.
His first job in the world of computers was a 12-month contract as a Structured Cable Engineer at the London Stock Exchange installing cable feeds for Dow Jones and Reuters. Then he moved to a desktop support position at an engineering company in Croydon, south London, for a year, before moving to Rouse as a 1st line support technician. The move to Rouse proved to be fortuitous, but not just professionally because there he met his future wife, Lucy, who at the time was working as Peter Rouse’s PA. She now works as a Project Planner in the water industry helping keep the South East and London’s clean water supply running.
Matt’s quiet ability to map out and follow his own path might be the result of innate tendencies, but the circumstances of his upbringing probably also played a part. His father’s work took the family to various countries, including South Africa (in both the Transvaal and the Cape), Austria, and America (South Carolina), so while he was growing up, Matt was frequently changing both schools and countries. It’s a background that could be very unsettling, but for Matt it was, overall, a very positive experience, giving him an early appreciation of other cultures, and a later love of travel.
The combination of curiosity, practicality, and enthusiasm, that originally led Matt to computing have, perhaps inevitably, led to a range of other pursuits over the years – among them, cricket, which is probably his greatest, and most enduring, passion. Typically, he doesn’t only play the game, but is involved in just about every aspect of it. He is currently Captain of the Second XI at his local cricket club – Kings Hill Cricket Club in the village of Kings Hill in Kent, south of London, where he lives (250 yards from the club) with his wife Lucy and their daughter Mia, aged 11, and son Max aged 9. He is also a qualified ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) coach, currently coaching the Kings Hill junior sections, as well as a qualified cricket groundsman, which has involved learning about all aspects of turf management. In addition to all that, he recently qualified as an ECB level 2 umpire – “preparing for life after playing the great game”.
He’s also a keen angler practising what is known as predator fishing i.e. fishing with lures to catch predator fish: fish like Pike and Perch that actively prey on other fish or aquatic animals. Matt is naturally sociable, and enjoys fishing with friends, but he is equally happy spending an afternoon by himself on the bank of a river or reservoir. You might think that with all the cricket and fishing activity, there wouldn’t be time for anything else, but during the Covid lockdown, Matt managed to find time to revive one of his early hobbies, cycling, and introduce a new one, darts. He currently enjoys gravel cycling, which, for the uninitiated, is riding on unpaved roads and trails, something between road cycling and mountain biking. It shouldn’t be at all surprising to find that his interest in gravel cycling isn’t limited to riding: he’s also turning his hand to tuning and building custom gravel cycles. His newfound enthusiasm for darts arose when he brought a darts board into the office as a means of ensuring he wouldn’t be glued to his desk all day. But being the sociable character he is, it wasn’t confined to the office and before long he was a keen member of the newly formed Kings Hill Cricket Club’s darts team.
Matt is clearly a man of many interests and enthusiasms; always ready to tackle something new. And there has been plenty of that at Rouse over the years - in many ways it is a very different firm from the firm he joined in 1997. Through all the change, he has had the freedom to introduce new technologies, which has meant that his work has remained both stimulating and challenging. That has obviously been important to him, but he is also quick to point out that in some ways, ways that he considers to be very important, the firm has not changed at all: it is still an unusually friendly and collaborative workplace with a great mix of people, members of the old and new crews blending in well together. It still has very much a family feel to it. And with people like Matt around, it's likely to stay that way.