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Why Exeter? – Harry Langley

By May 9, 2016January 26th, 2021Chamber Insight, Why Exeter blog

Read the latest 'Why Exeter?' blog post below from Harry Langley, Finance Director of swcomms.


Name: Harry Langley

Job Title: Financial Director

Organisation: swcomms

No of employees: 140


What makes Exeter and the sub-region special / interesting to you personally?

Essentially the region has a rural basis to its economy but has moved and continues to move in the tech commerce direction. It means that because of its environment, Exeter is a great place to live and because of its economic roots, its people have a fantastic “can do” and a flexible approach to life which ticks all the boxes when business needs great people.


How long has Exeter /Devon been your home?  When did you come here first and why?

I moved here in 1985 to go to Seale Hayne College at Newton Abbot for my degree in Agriculture. I lived in Chudleigh but ended up playing for Exeter Chiefs soon after I came to the area.


What would you like to see happen in Exeter in the next few years?

To continue to see Exeter’s considered progression in the world of tech commerce so making Exeter the unassailable commercial tech capital of the region (nudging Bristol into second place) – whilst also pushing the boundaries nationally and internationally in Exeter’s specialist expertise of environment technology.


What do you consider the biggest achievements in the city over the last few years?

The promotion of the Exeter brand as a great place to do business. Establishments like, the University, the Met Office and the Chiefs have put the word of Exeter on people’s lips. Many people nationally and internationally now know where Exeter is.


How do you see the Exeter developing? 

What do you think are the opportunities and challenges for Exeter? Exeter will develop as I have confirmed above. I have no doubt on that. The trick will be to make it entirely self-sustaining without the need to rely on governmental spending or similar single big businesses that can easily turn off the money tap so creating problems – in a similar way to the challenges that Plymouth have been experiencing with the reliance on the Dockyard for their economy.


How do you work with other businesses and organisations locally?

To maintain a good local economy, the local supply chain is very important to keep money circulating locally. If at all possible, our preference is to use local people and organisation in our supply chain.


What do you do in your down-time? 

Family and rugby. I coach rugby to kids in the Exeter Youth Section and of course I follow the Chiefs as you would expect from a former player. My eldest plays rugby for a Championship club, but I only ever regard him as being on loan from Exeter until he gets the call from Rob Baxter.


Any stand-out anecdotes?!

Exeter is a big village and everyone knows someone. In a previous job, I went to dinner with my boss and Karen my wife came along. The conversation turned to business and I launched into a diatribe concerning a disreputable customer that that left a considerable bad debt to my bosses business. After 30-mins of moaning and using a considerable amount of industrial language, Karen turned to me and explained this person sounded a lot like an uncle of hers I had not met. After further examination of the facts, this turned out to be the case!!!! What can I say, red faces and laughter all around.