The Wales Technology Awards esteemed panel of judges for 2024 are visionary leaders and experts. They each bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion to the judging process to allow the Awards to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements in the Welsh tech industry. Below, you can learn more about the panel and their diverse backgrounds, industry insights, and dedication to fostering technological advancement in Wales and beyond.
Professor Tom Crick MBE
Professor & Chief Scientific Adviser
Tom is a distinguished interdisciplinary computer scientist specialising in AI, data science and cybersecurity.
Professor Tom Crick MBE is Professor of Digital Policy at Swansea University and Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport. He brings with him a wealth of experience as an interdisciplinary computer scientist across AI, data science and cyber security. His interests sit at the research-policy-practice interface, identifying and addressing domain problems with broad digital, data-driven and computational themes, and especially focusing on the impact on citizens, culture and the economy.
Tom has led the major science and technology curriculum reforms in Wales over the past 10 years, and has recently driven the development of Swansea University's civic mission strategy. He was an inaugural Commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales from 2018-2022, as well as a member of the expert panel for the Welsh Government's 2019 Review of Digital Innovation for the Economy and the Future of Work in Wales. Alongside his academic work, Tom has held senior advisory roles with Nesta, Ofcom, and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, as well as non-executive roles in the utilities, engineering/manufacturing, and health sectors.
Tom is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and the Academy of Social Sciences, as well as a Chartered Fellow of the BCS and IET. He was appointed MBE in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to computer science.
Tech CEO & Entrepreneur
James Smith is a Cardiff-based tech entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in leading successful software and technology businesses.
James began his career as a Senior Software Engineer at Dell Computer Corporation, a leading global technology company. At Dell, he was responsible for launching Dell's first e-commerce platforms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. These platforms achieved remarkable success, transacting more than $10 million per day and supporting over 50,000 corporate customers alongside tens of millions of direct customers.
As the Chief Technology Officer at Adactus Limited, a software development house and independent software vendor, James led the development and launch of large-scale e-commerce platforms for well-known brands such as Aviva, the RAC and Wagamama. His notable successes included launching Pizza Hut's first online ordering presence in the UK, growing it to over two million users and more than £50 million revenue in just 12 months. Additionally, James led the development of a global e-commerce platform for Oracle, expanding its reach to transact six million orders and over $100 million in revenue annually for multiple global restaurant brands.
Most recently James was CEO and Co-Founder of DevOpsGroup Limited, a cloud technology service company. Over eight years, DevOpsGroup achieved remarkable top-line growth, delivering cutting-edge services to more than 100 customers across the globe. Under his leadership, the company's scaled to hundreds of people, and cultivated a high-performance, people-oriented culture. James successfully orchestrated a multi-million venture capital raise with BGF and established strategic alliances with tech giants Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. DevOpsGroup earned its place among the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Wales before being acquired by Sourced Group, an Amdocs company, in November 2021.
James currently serves as a Non-Executive Director and Board Advisor to a range of technology and start-up companies for which he provides growth support and strategic advice to the board of directors. His wealth of experience contributes to steering businesses toward unprecedented success in the ever-evolving tech landscape.
Dr Louise Jones
Regional Manager for Wales at Innovate UK
Louise has diverse experience from KTP projects to industrial research leadership, fostering innovation.
Dr Louise Jones joined the Innovate UK regional team as the Regional Manager for Wales In September 2023. Louise started her career as a KTP associate in a Welsh SME, putting the outputs from her KTP project towards her PhD at Bangor University. Louise then worked at a commercial research group working on projects funded by Innovate UK and Welsh Government which then led to her working with a Catalytic converter manufacturing company to help them set up a manufacturing plant. Following this she led on collaborative industrial research projects within Bangor and Wrexham Universities funded by Welsh Government or WEFO which started extending her connections in Wales to Welsh Government, Industry and other research groups across Wales.
Louise joined Innovate UK KTN in September 2013 and has had roles spanning Photonics, Additive Manufacturing and lastly Energy systems where she focused on challenge led work around net zero. Throughout her time at IUK KTN Louise had continued to be involved in Welsh activities and frequently engages with Welsh Government and the ecosystem within Wales. She sits of advisory panels for CCR, North Wales Growth Deal, CS-Connected SIPF and Photonics Connected using her knowledge and connections to offer support and guidance when needed. She also led on the Adoption and Diffusion pilot within North Wales working with her existing contacts and expertise to deliver workshops to help define the needs of the region.
Since joining Innovate UK Louise has co-created a Collaborative Innovation Plan for Wales in partnership with Welsh Government which she hopes will lead to amplifying the support Innovate UK provides to further benefit the Welsh innovation ecosystem as well as fostering new opportunities for Wales.
Director of Economic Operations at Welsh Government
Duncan oversees national business support services, shaping strategy, design, and operations, fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and regional development across Government.
Duncan leads business support national services, within the economy portfolio, including development of strategy, organisational design and new business. Operating across Government in area with Director Generals, Directors, and Deputy Directors inside and outside the department. Accountable for an operational and policy portfolio including Entrepreneurship, Development Bank Wales and Business Wales, SME Development, Business Innovation, Regional Delivery access to finance and business grants.
Senior Manager, Private Markets, London Stock Exchange Plc
Florence aids high-growth companies in fundraising, leveraging prior experience in consulting and industry transformation programs.
Florence Keelson-Anfu is the Private Markets Community Manager at LSE plc. In this role, she supports high growth companies to achieve their fundraising goals with Floww. Prior to this, Florence worked as a Programme Manager on large scale transformation programmes in consulting and industry.