Director of Security Infrastructure, Research and Development at Okada Manila
It’s fair to say Ashley Lorraway faced a battle against the odds to end up working in technology.
Most people born in the cattle city of Rockhampton, Queensland ended up working in mining, agriculture or on the railway. At a push, some would be lucky enough to enjoy a career playing rugby league.
However, Lorraway had an advantage in the form of an ambitious family with a passion for entrepreneurship and staying ahead of the curve. His grandfather started a locksmith business in 1964 and his uncle, Lenny – a great tinkerer of the Baby Boomer generation – later took over the business and branched out into electronic security.
Lorraway’s own father worked in security operations and was something of a legend in the casino industry who would “bounce around” the country in pursuit of one opportunity after another.
“I experienced a lot of different areas of Australia and I was always fascinated by IT because we never had any technology where I was from,” says Lorraway. “So, of course, the first time we got a computer I became obsessed. It constantly had problems so I learned to fix them.”
Climbing the IT ladder
Lorraway subsequently worked in various facets of IT including web design, corporate sales and coding, before taking on a software project management job that took him to Seattle, Washington. But, feeling like there was still more to learn – and never afraid to step out of his comfort zone – Lorraway decided it was finally time to head to university and study information systems in China.
With that experience under his belt, he ended up back in Rockhampton where his uncle Lenny became his technology mentor.
“Even though my uncle had never left that small town,” adds Lorraway, “he taught me to look into the deepest aspects of technology and not just take everything at face value, but to be inventive and push new functionality out of systems that manufacturers may not have intended.”
Together, the pair asserted their regional dominance in the electronic security arena, which helped Lorraway realise the immense potential for innovation.
He continues: “That’s when I really became obsessed with electronic security systems, which are very closely related to IT but so much more interesting.”
It was 2016 when Okada Manila came calling for Lorraway’s services, initially in an advisory capacity, but soon he was employed as the organisation’s Manager of Security and Surveillance Technology. Last year, he stepped up to become Director of Security Infrastructure, Research and Development at Okada Manila, based in the Philippines.
People management key to tech success
Lorraway is keen to highlight the importance of having good people management skills in his role and says they have served him well.
“Managing people is absolutely vital in technology because we are in the business of turning technicians into engineers,” he adds. “Something I pride myself in is creating the next generation of innovative thinkers.”
Creativity and innovation are also central to Lorraway’s own job, especially given technology has gone from a support function to being at the forefront of every division.
“You must have the ability to look at operational or business problems and say ‘how can technology solve this?’,” Lorraway explains.
“That’s another key to the success I’ve had – being able to come up with ideas. I still credit that to my uncle, who taught me how to think outside the box when it comes to technology.”
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“My primary leadership style is trust. That to me is the most important and fundamental part of any effective leadership.”