Human Resources

Typical 24: Askar Sheibani, The Comtek Group

Askar Sheibani

 Job title: CEO and founder

 Company: The Comtek Group         

 Location: Based in North Wales, UK, with further operations in Belfast, the Netherlands, Germany and the US

 Years’ experience: 25 years+



1.    What time do you reach the office each day?
It varies from day-to-day, but I usually arrive very early in the morning, apart from when I have external meetings.


2.    Is your job varied?
My job is split into two parts; Comtek CEO, and Entrepreneurship Champion for Wales, which was appointed to me by the Welsh Government. At Comtek, I oversee everything from its business growth, new products and KPIs, to PR, marketing and advertising.  As Entrepreneurship Champion for Wales, I work on entrepreneurial initiatives for the local Flintshire community in North Wales, such as Dragons’ Den style events that promote start-ups in the region. 

3.    Is your job creative?
Creativity is ingrained within my role as an entrepreneur, whether it involves coming up with new strategies for Comtek, or mentoring the young entrepreneurs that make it through to the next stage of our local Dragons’ Den events.

4.    What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
Each week varies, but I spend the majority of my time at our Deeside headquarters where we have a lot of internal meetings throughout the week to discuss any upcoming activities or the business plan going forward. I also spend a lot of my time in external meetings too, for example, I was recently involved in the campaign for better broadband in North Wales.

5.    Do you personalise your desk?
I have all of my marathon medals and family photos on my desk.

6.    Would you describe yourself as creative?
Of course! As an entrepreneur I have to be creative, it’s just part of the job.

7.    Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
I get up early every morning and either go for a run, or I go to the gym, to prepare myself for the day ahead. Fitness is extremely important to keeping yourself motivated.  

8.    Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
Most of the time I work alongside colleagues. This is especially important when I’m working with the Welsh Government, as it involves important decisions that will affect the local community.

9.    How many hours on average do you work a day?
I work approximately twelve hours per day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my job and I would never do anything that I didn’t enjoy.

10.  Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
I spend approximately three hours a day on emails, taking calls and in meetings. Monday is the busiest day for meetings and my weekends are usually spent in community-related meetings.

11.  Do you use social media much for work?
I use both Twitter and LinkedIn for work, not least because it’s a great opportunity for me to engage with our stakeholders on a global basis. 

12.  What do you enjoy most about your work?
I have always enjoyed taking a risk and being challenged, but that’s just part of being an entrepreneur. Developing the local community in North Wales is particularly enjoyable and rewarding, because my experience at Comtek and success as an entrepreneur is having a positive impact on our community.

13.  What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I mostly enjoy listening to music when I’m running, rather than at work. 

14.  What do you do for lunch?
I usually have lunch in the office, but when our extended premises opens in Deeside, North Wales, I will be looking forward to using the new health and fitness centre that we are building for our employees!

15.  Do you socialise with work colleagues?
Yes, I do. I encourage all of my work colleagues to socialise with each other as it’s very important for team building.

16.  Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
No, I’m proud of everything that I have achieved throughout my career. My life objective is to have fun – you can’t live with regrets.

17.  What is your last task of your day?
I catch up with my work colleagues in the US. They are based in Silicon Valley, so the eight hour time difference makes it important for me stay behind and be available during their working day. 

18.  How do you like to relax after work?
It varies from day-to-day, but I often spend my evenings during the week preparing for the following day. For example, if I have a speech to make the next day then, I will spend my evening preparing for that.  

19.  Do you keep checking email through the evening?
Absolutely, I’m always available. That’s just part of running a business.  

20.  Do you take work projects home with you?
I do take work home with me, mostly contracts and proposals which require concentration in a more relaxed environment. For example, I made the decision to acquire the network equipment manufacturer, Sorrento Networks, at around 11pm at night. If you want to have a successful business, you need to put in the time.

21.  What would you say to your 20-year old self?
I would tell myself to be very ambitious and concentrate on what you enjoy the most. 

22.  If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
I would choose to be an athlete for a day in either running or swimming.

23.  What device did you use to answer these questions?
I answered them using a laptop.

24.  Do you use your own personal device for work?
No, I have a work phone.


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