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Liz celebrates 25-year milestone at Datel

January 21, 2016 marked a special day for Senior Support Consultant Liz Summersgill. It was on that date in 1991 that she joined Datel, and on this date she celebrated 25 years working for the company. Chairman Alan Simpson led the tributes to Liz in a special – and surprise – presentation at our Warrington head office.

Presenting her with flowers and a specially minted commemorative coin from the year she started working at Datel, Alan said: “The success of Datel has been built on employees like Liz; people who know our products inside out but also care dearly about our customers. Liz is always pleasant and positive and it is a pleasure to work with her.”

“The success of Datel has been built on employees like Liz: people who know our products inside out but also care dearly about our customers. Liz is always pleasant and positive and it is a pleasure to work with her.”

Alan Simpson, Executive Chairman

Liz has worked with Sage products for over 28 years, firstly within Datel’s Applications team, providing consultancy and training across the whole Sage suite, before taking up a support-based role for the last 17 years. Liz has a wide, detailed knowledge of the majority of Sage’s ERP products, being fully accredited in Sage 1000, Sage Line 500 and Sage 200 Financials and Commercials. Liz also has knowledge of SQL, UNIX and AIX systems plus Albany Albacs.

Her accreditations and training also include being a Sage Job Costing product specialist, Sage Contract Management product specialist, and Sage Returns and Repairs product specialist, among many others.

Liz, 51, is Warrington born and bred. She lives in the town with husband John, an engineering director, and daughter Catherine, 21, who has just graduated from university. Here she talks about her time with Datel and the changes she has witnessed over the last quarter of a century.

What made you come to Datel in 1991?

At the age of 18 I started working for a small computing company, also a Sage reseller which started out like Datel with just two directors. Although I was office manager, as the company grew I did everything from accounts, payroll and order processing, to being the PA to the managing director. I also used to visit customer sites to provide training on word processing systems, which I enjoyed. I then moved into support and went out installing systems, providing training and consultancy. I was also utilising Sage as an end user, so my hands-on experience started then. After eight years, the company was taken over and soon after that I followed a good friend of mine, Steve Crosby, to Datel, which at the time was headquartered in Preston.
  

You haven’t always worked in Support. What was your first position at the company?

I worked full time for five years as an Applications Consultant before my daughter came along and I reduced my hours. I was even able to take a career break when she was little and work just one day a week for a year. Then I moved into Support for Sage customers and my earlier experience of the software really helped me to understand what users need from their software and the problems they may encounter.
  

How has Datel changed over the time you’ve been here?

When I started in 1991 there were 30 employees, and today there are over 160. The roles have diversified as the company has got bigger; project management, training and support, for instance, are now quite separate roles, they used to be carried out by the same person. The company also moved from its original Preston base to our offices in Warrington, which, as I live nearby, I was delighted about.

The number of customers has vastly increased, and the way we communicate with them has changed greatly too. When I started, no one was using the internet. In fact, when it started to take off I remember one guy coming in one Monday morning and saying he’d been ‘surfing’ all weekend and I assumed he meant in the sea!

When visiting customer sites I had to carry an atlas and A-Z guides - there was no sat-nav in those days and no mobile phones to stay in touch. Life is very different now.
  

What do you like about working for Datel?

The people, primarily. It really is like one big family where everyone supports each other. The people I work with are great. The fact that I was able to go part time when I had my daughter allowed me to continue working and showed that the firm appreciates family values. Friends outside the company tell me I’m lucky to have such a job. The relationships between customers and Datel’s employees are great too, real partnerships. We have a really good reputation within the industry.
  

What do like to do outside of work?

As well as my baking, which I appear to have a bit of a reputation for, I sing in my church choir and have been involved in church life since 1999. We have a caravan in Abersoch and we love to get away there for the weekend whenever we can.
  

What does the future hold workwise?

I’m planning to stay here at Datel until I retire! That’s if I survive the 3 peaks challenge that we are planning in June as a company!!!

Liz is one of a growing number of Datel’s long-serving employees. Nearly 30% of the company’s existing staff have more than 10 years’ service, 19% have been here for 15 years or over and three more are about to reach that milestone. Alan said he is looking forward to thanking a growing number of 'Datel 25s' over the next few years. Liz was the third Datel employee to reach 25 years of service and another member of staff, John Chadwick, will mark his quarter century later in the year. In fact, 10 current members of staff weren’t even born when Liz and John began their Datel careers.