GARRY BROWN admits the world of IT chose him rather than the other way around.

There were two pivotal moments in his young life when he had the opportunity to turn his back on what, in those days, was referred to as “computing”.

The first was at Sixth Form College in his native Hartlepool, where he had opted to sit chemistry, maths and physics.

At the end of the first term he became determined to ditch chemistry in favour of computing, a subject popular with several of his friends. He duly managed to catch-up on the missed work and secured a place on the course.

This perhaps shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise given that, at the tender age of eight, he was already learning to code on a rudimentary Acorn computer bought for him by his parents.

Garry tried to turn his back on the fledgling IT industry once again, this time at Teesside University, where he opted to study electronic engineering. Once again, he switched to computer engineering.

After graduating, he discovered IT Support, which began a lifetime focused on developing new products and services to help clients negotiate the constantly changing world of technology.

Initially he worked as an IT contractor for ICI, IBM and later Glaxo Wellcome, but a deal to design an e-commerce website paved the way for him to join the fledgling Bondgate IT.

What started out as an IT build and service computer shop in Darlington town centre 21 years ago has now developed into a multi-faceted, managed technology service provider serving organisations ranging from SMEs to large companies.

This year it recorded an increase in turnover of 30 per cent to £2.5m. These results follow a series of significant contract and client wins, which has seen its customer base expand internationally with involvement in a major oil and gas project – adding to its UK client base, including the manufacturing, charitable and healthcare sectors.

“Technology itself doesn’t excite me but rather what technology can do – the application of technology to improve lives, businesses and organisations,” said Garry.

“Continual improvement has always been part of my ethos. This business relies on our team’s ability to constantly improve a product or service. I run this business for my customers and not for me, that’s the mindset we all share.

“I am an IT strategist and Bondgate IT prides itself on understanding the challenges faced by business and developing a strategy that delivers maximum operational efficiency through the applied use of technology.

“It’s amazing that companies have a financial or marketing strategy but very few have an IT strategy; we exist in one of the most transformative times as far as technology is concerned and having a strategy for technology is essential.

“That’s why I ensure this company embraces digital disruption and challenges thinking, both in our own business and that of our clients.”

Bondgate IT, which recently invested more than £50,000 in its business systems, created five new jobs to bring the current workforce at its headquarters on Dudley Road, Darlington, to 20.

Garry, who is married with three sons, is also a school governor and trustee of a multi-academy trust.

“I’m a great believer in education and am happy to bring some of my transferable skills from the business world to support the next generation,” he said.

Five minutes with... Garry Brown.

Favourite North-East building and why?

My parents’ house. It’s always lovely to go back to your childhood home.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid?

It was a paper round. I can’t remember how much I was paid but it was never going to make me rich!

What is the worst job you've had?

Looking back, I’ve enjoyed them all, each one prepared me for my next job in one way or another.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?

I quite enjoy being in the kitchen and would try my hand at cooking anything – what would you like me to cook for you?

What would your superpower be?

I’d like to turn back time to redefine the present by learning from past mistakes.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Alan Turing and Charles Babbage – all technologists who have impacted today’s world.

Most expensive thing you've bought – other than car or house – and how much?

A family holiday, priceless!

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why?

I don’t use Twitter but I am a fan of face to face conversation.

Favourite book?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

When did you last cry?

Tears aren’t always caused by sadness – whenever it was, I’d have been laughing.

What is your greatest achievement?

Working with a fantastic group of people who are dedicated to helping others

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given?

Control what you can control and don’t worry about what you can’t.

Favourite animal and why?

A monkey. They just make me laugh!

Most famous person on your mobile phone?

Isn’t fame in the eye of the beholder? There are plenty of people on my mobile that are famous to me.

What was the last band you saw live?

Foo Fighters

Describe your perfect night in.

Sharing cheese and wine with someone special.

In another life I would be ...

A fighter pilot.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

I’m not sure my life would make for a particularly interesting film.

What irritates you?

Very little. There are more worthwhile emotions to spend my energy on.

What's your secret talent?

Balloon modelling – I can create a pretty decent pig!