An Aberdeen-based American footballer is on the offensive to manage the IT and communications needs of businesses across the region.
Gareth Bonnamy, 28, is a systems engineer at Dynamic Edge, one of the largest independent IT firms in the north of Scotland. He divides his time between supporting clients in the oil and gas industry and taking to the American football field – commonly known as the gridiron.
Gareth, who is 6 feet 5 inches and weighs around 23 stone, is a right guard (offence) for the Aberdeen Roughnecks, the Granite City’s only British American football team.
The amateur side, which plays its home matches at Hazlehead, competes in the Division (North) of the British American Football Association National League (BAFANL) against teams from across Scotland.
Could you tell me your main career stepping stones?
After leaving Cults Academy in 2005, I went straight into the world of work – initially fixing laptops at a well-known electrical retailer before taking on IT analyst roles with two large oil services companies in Aberdeen. I joined Dynamic Edge last year where I currently work as a systems engineer.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
When I was very young I wanted to be a fireman but growing up I always had an interest in the science subjects. Although I never envisaged a career in IT, I suppose I’ve always enjoyed problem solving and fixing things.
What led you to IT firstly and then Dynamic Edge?
Having worked for large organisations, I wanted to be part of a team where there were greater opportunities for personal development and progression. The most satisfaction I get out of my current role is finding a solution to a complex problem that in some cases I might have been working on for several days.
What does your role involve?
My role primarily involves supporting clients in the oil and gas industry. This varies hugely from on-site client support to project management for IT servers and systems.
You balance your work with an unusual hobby – American Football. Where did that interest come from?
My older brother and I used to watch NFL games with our dad when we were younger, but it was only around three years ago that I started playing the sport competitively when I joined the Aberdeen Roughnecks – the Granite City’s only British American football team.
Is there a big American Football interest in the north-east?
I’ve been a big fan of the NFL ever since I was a youngster but there’s no doubt that the sport is growing hugely in terms of its popularity across the whole of the UK, as demonstrated by the excitement around annual events such as the Superbowl and the international series matches held in London.
Here in the north-east, its popularity is growing at an incredible rate while the leagues are becoming increasingly professional at a local and regional level. We now have the largest squad in our team’s history with more than 50 guys in the squad.
How often do you play and what position do you play?
We train twice a week with matches most weekends, held at Hazlehead Park. My position is a right guard (offence), which primarily involves protecting the team’s quarterback.
What do you like about the sport?
American football is sometimes referred to as being the complete team sport because of the focus on different subsets within each team: offence, defence and special teams.
Do your job and hobby have anything in common?
There are a number of attributes, including good communication, teamwork and leadership, which are equally important on the field as well as in a business environment.
Not unlike my role at Dynamic Edge, where we have a strong team ethic and strive to protect clients’ business critical systems, it’s vital that all members of the team are pulling in the same direction to achieve our goals.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
It can become a little bit hectic during the season, which runs from April to October, as it’s an extremely physical sport; however, the company has been very supportive at helping me achieve my goals.