THIS week’s High Flyer is Andrew Gowdy, head of property and commercial finance at Whiterock Finance.
What was your first job?
My first job was working part-time in the Co-Op in Bangor when I was 16. I used to stack shelves before I was old enough to drive the home delivery van. My first full-time role was working in the Corporate Banking NI team at Bank of Ireland.
What qualifications do you have?
A degree in finance from Queen’s University Belfast.
What do you attribute your success to?
I’ve always been willing to learn new skills. Interpersonal skills go a long way, especially when we’re speaking to new companies who are seeking funding.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Approachable, laidback and an aspiring golfer (although my game lately would suggest otherwise).
Who do you look up to in business?
James Neil from HNH Group has been a good friend and mentor to me since we played hockey together at Queen’s University. He helped me through the early stages of my career and he now runs a very successful business.
How do you get the best out of people you work with?
Our team is a tight-knit group, so it is important to build good relationships with each other. We learn from each other and being supportive of everyone’s work really brings out the best in people.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I think there is still a misconception among businesses that the banks are the only source of funding. Northern Ireland has a wide range of funding options available to local SMEs and we’re always open to talking to ambitious companies looking to grow.
What website or app could you not do without?
As a big sports fan, the BBC Sport app is great for keeping up to date with all the latest news. However, I’d say YouTube Kids is a life saver when it comes to keeping the kids amused!
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNabb. It’s a true story about a team behind enemy lines and gives a real insight into how teams in warzones need to adapt and work together.
What car do you drive?
I’d love to say a sports car, but the reality of having two kids under five means I drive a Volkswagen Touareg. It’s got a big boot which is really handy for all the toys, bikes and prams.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
Recently, I worked in a hospital in Uganda as part of a church project.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
Playing, watching and chatting about sports with friends.