Meet the Board....

Next up in our 'Meet the Board' series is....

Ross Cox, CEO, Dispace Technology

Date you joined the board: February 2024

Why you wanted to join the board: 

I think AVS is a really powerful network and has the opportunity to be a driving force for growth for academic venues and the professionals that work within them.  I want to use my commercial experience to help make the most of the potential that exists to leverage the strength of the AVS community.

What do you bring to the party:

There are two things I have always focused on in my career.  The first is that there should always be a positive exchange of value in working relationships.  So, if you’re delivering a service and you’re getting rewarded for that, the other party should feel that they are getting as much from it as you are.  The second is that things need to make commercial sense.  There is no point in spending your time on things that are uneconomical to deliver, because (back to my first point) that probably means people don’t assign enough value to them.  Having worked in start-ups, getting those two things right go a long way to building something great.

What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months individually and collectively:

For me personally it’s always about learning and building relationships.  I want to understand more about what AVS members need and what motivates them professionally and personally.  And I’d like to use that knowledge to help AVS think about strategic priorities and where it can deliver the most value.

 What’s the best thing about being on the AVS board:

AVS feels small but mighty.  It has that personal touch and real knowledge of its members, but achieves loads with a small team.  As a business owner, that really resonates with me.  Being part of a team who are custodians and members at the same time means that every idea and decision is made with member benefit in mind.  That’s a pretty unique model and I’m excited about being able to help them build on the advantage of being built and run by people within the sector.

 What advice would you give to others thinking of joining the board?  

Don’t give it a second thought.  You get to shape an organisation that is there to help you and your colleagues.  And you get to spend time every month sharing ideas, challenges and best practice with your peers.  With the added benefit of being in a position to shape some of those thoughts into actions and services.

What do you love about working in the industry

For me it’s the opportunities that exist to do great things.  Higher education will continue to go through a period of big change as people think differently about study, and that will require those with commercial responsibilities to continue to be creative about the services they provide across campus.  I think AVS members will play in pivotal role in delivering income for the sector over the coming years.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry over the next 12 months:

See above.  Changes in traditional revenue models always lead to negative impacts on budgets.  It’s hard to design and deliver new ideas with fewer resources.  However, there’s overwhelming evidence of hard work and inspiration amongst academic venue professionals and I’ve no doubt they’ll find a way.

What do you love to do when you’re not working:

Football, football and more football.  My daughter, Molly, plays for Derby County as part of their female talent pathway and as I get my head around all the challenges girls and women face to even participate, let alone build a career in the sport, I’m taking an active role in being a force for change.

I coach my son, Seth, and his grassroots team which fills up the rest of my weekend.

I am the commercial lead for the charitable trust which bought and now acts as the board for our local village pub, which is run by an incredible landlady and landlord team who, alongside the community, have helped make the place an incredible local.

And I love live music.  I’m never happier in a field somewhere with friends and a beer in my hand.