Studiotech Squad – Phil Haldane

Tell us about your life before Studiotech

I moved to Edinburgh for university where I studied stage management and theatre production, specialising in both lighting and sound. After graduating, I toured with various theatre companies before joining an Edinburgh based theatre company as Production and Lighting Designer where I worked for a number of years.

At this point, I was keen to create a better work-life balance, which didn’t require me to work every night of the week. I joined a well-established Lighting Hire, Sales and Installation business, originally to set up an events department. They were keen to expand into events and the two came hand-in-hand. It was from this point that I moved into installation and headed up the installation department. After more than a decade with the same company, I was then appointed by Studiotech. I already knew the company and Director, Ed Vickery, very well having both been partners of Traxon Technologies; it was a great move for me and I’ve never looked back.

What is your official job title?

My official job title is Business Development Manager with key responsibilities including; programming – primarily complex systems, design, pricing and a whole host of other services covering a broad spectrum. I also have responsibility for expanding the Studiotech brand into the theatre market, as well as schools and colleges that may require stage lighting.

What does a typical day look like for you?

No two days are the same, every day is different. I could be looking at specifications and pricing, and then move on to the programming of a system or procurement for a particular job. Essentially, I could be required to complete any of the tasks required for a specific project.

What would you say is your favourite project?

I really enjoyed working on the Yotel Glasgow Bowling Alley project which involved me writing the code to track the bowling balls. Although it was fairly intensive, it was an exciting job and very rewarding.

We have also just won a job in Dundee where we will be required to refit a theatre communications system; this will involve the overall design, whilst working with the client to ensure we achieve exactly what is required. Additionally, the Helix project – White City Place was a fantastic project to be part of, I programmed the system remotely from Edinburgh and then sent it to the team in London to upload to the system. I love the variety of each project. It was a project I was involved on from the initial concept and pricing through to the implementation.

In your role, are you required on site?

Absolutely, although due to the recent lockdowns I have been managing remotely. It might be that an engineer is required on site and I have the ability to log on to their PC remotely and make any necessary uploads or changes. It has probably been more efficient overall, especially avoiding any additional travel time.

As I am based in Edinburgh, I have always needed to work remotely while at Studiotech and then travel to individual sites for specific projects. Due to the pandemic, I have had to home-school my kids which has made things a bit more complicated – it has certainly been a little hectic at times.

Tell us something unexpected about your job

I think the amount of detail involved in the programming would be a surprise to some. I’ve been using the same control system for 15 years and as a result do a lot of testing for that company. I make use of that system as much as I can, however I still need to write separate code for more complex integration, such as  motion tracking, and then work to interlink the two systems to achieve the desired outcome. I’m sure many would be surprised that we do all of this in house, it is particularly unique.

Are you working on any other exciting projects?

As a business we are making strides in the education market having recently won six school projects in Scotland. I’m really excited about this, it’s not something we were previously known for so it’s a very exciting avenue for Studiotech.

Describe three fun facts about yourself…

I can juggle – I feel a competition pending with our Marketing Manager Natalie!

When I was working at a theatre, I once had to ask American Actor Tim Robbins (who was with Susan Sarandon) to stop smoking.

I may have had an Only Fools and Horses chandelier moment in a palace – no comment on that one!

And one more for good measure, I am also an avid Scottish rugby fan! 

What’s the best thing about working at Studiotech?

It is a great team to work with, we all get on extremely well and it is a fantastic atmosphere. It’s a particularly exciting time for the company with significant growth and expansion, and as a business Studiotech is very forward thinking, that’s what makes it so enjoyable.