COVVI prides itself on having a team of highly qualified and dedicated individuals with a wealth of experience in prosthetic technology and product development.
Upon the acquisition of the Bebionic hand by Ottobock in 2017, the brains behind the award-winning technology decided to create something new; with a reinvigorated vision and abundance of fresh ideas, the COVVI team was born – in combining their abilities to manifest the vision for COVVI. COVVI aims to deliver a world-leading prosthetic hand with users and clinicians at its heart, working together we can action real positive change to the many lives of upper-body prosthetic users forever.
Simon PollardGroup CEO
Donna WilsonFinancial Accountant
Rob SparesMechanical Design Engineer
Chris HewMechanical Design Engineer
Zayd AllyMechanical Design Engineer
Paul SmithsonElectronics Design Engineer
David McCrickardElectrical & Software Engineer
Wayne LeachGroup IT Manager
John WilkinsonProduction Lead
Simon is an enthusiastic entrepreneur with a keen eye for great ideas who didn’t have to blink twice when learning of Ted and his team’s aspirations in bionic technology. He is the overall arbiter at COVVI and is responsible for getting our name out into the big wide world. With decades of business know-how under his belt, Simon is our corporate whizz at resource and operations management.
A Leeds-born and bred businessman, Simon has spent two decades building a highly successful commercial portfolio. Living and breathing business strategy, and with a true passion for valuing customers, he places both these elements as a central ethos in his entrepreneurial endeavors. His mission to develop leading brands is driven by a tenacity to achieve and build upon previous successes – the companies he currently oversees covers a diverse range of industries. A proud moment for Simon came in 2015 when he was chosen by The Insider as a ‘one to watch’ in their annual 42 under 42 list – a program that recognizes Yorkshire’s most dynamic and inspirational entrepreneurs, celebrating their success in helping to grow the regional economy.
As the Financial Advisor for COVVI, I am delighted to be in a position to continue the vision that Simon has worked so passionately to achieve. I have been involved in the day-to-day finances of COVVI for several years, which has given me much insight into the operations of the business, and I have enjoyed seeing it flourish into a world-leading manufacturer of upper-limb prosthetics. I am looking forward to working alongside Simon and the management team to ensure that the business continues to maintain the high standards achieved to date.
I am a mum of 3 children, so I’m kept pretty busy out of work but in my spare time I love to travel, eat out and spend quality time with my family and friends.
Rob works alongside his mechanical engineers in figuring how components will fit together within a compact design. Coming from a science background, he is very much the meticulous inquisitor of the team and holds great value in precision and favors refining simplicity from initial complex and elaborate component plans. Joining the team at a similar time to his colleagues, Rob has benefited from COVVI starting from the ground-up as this has allowed him to implement processes that tests components at every stage of their development.
Rob started his career in more traditional heavy-engineering roles, but an interest in modeling and simulation led to further study and employment with AEA Technology where he developed fluid dynamics software. He was subsequently offered a research position at the University of Bradford, modeling the flow of polymers within the extrusion process. After completing his PhD, Rob conducted further research into material characterization and optimization which drew him away from simulation, and into a more hands-on engineering role. His continued interest in process imagining combined with commercial projects in developing medical devices, requiring novel injection molding toolsets, steered him towards a design-based position. Now a Research Fellow, and with 20 years of industry experience, Rob moved away from academia and joined began working on prosthetics in 2014 where he can apply his background in materials, testing and design to a worthwhile product.
Chris is a mechanical engineer with a passion for concept development and bringing new ideas to fruition. He can be found sketching ideas on scraps of paper and then working through the maths to ensure things all work correctly. With a background in high performance actuation design and project management, Chris uses his experience to choose when to try something untested and when to utilize proven methods to get the project completed on time.
Chris graduated from the University of Warwick in 2011 with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, and later became a chartered engineer and a member of the IMechE. Chris started his career with Reliance Precision Ltd which provided a wealth of experience across many sectors. During this time, he was responsible for developing new products for the life-science, scientific and aerospace sectors; running a research project to develop a new alloy for the aerospace sector and leading the development of the mechanical systems of an electron-beam 3D printer. Chris was a finalist for the Design Engineer of the Year Award in 2016. He joined COVVI in 2019 for a chance to work in a new environment and further hone his creative development skills and experience with exciting new products.
Zayd is a mechanical design engineer alongside Martin, Simon and Rob, and as part of his role produces drawings that describe component parts accurately in their size and material for the benefit of COVVI suppliers. His creative skills have proven an invaluable contribution when presented with the challenges of ensuring parts assemble in a way that is cohesive with overall product design.
In 2017, Zayd graduated from the University of Liverpool with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering, and has a keen interest in innovative product development, embracing challenge and change. A self-described creative individual who loves to learn with a proactive attitude, Zayd has a passion for design which grew in school from attending workshops in design and technology. University taught him various aspects of engineering which developed a technical understanding that supported his creative ideas – he is eager to enhance his skills and strengths amongst a team of experts in the field of prosthetic design.
With the freedom to be creative and flexible at COVVI, along with his ‘make things work’ attitude Paul is a valuable asset to the electrical engineering team. He designs circuit boards and firmware alongside his colleagues, which brings to life the motor control of the fingers along with various background functions. Paul sees the team at COVVI being uniquely positioned to be highly responsive to patients, and personally endeavors to listen to user feedback and experience, constantly adapting and developing according to their needs.
Paul is an engineer with more than two decades of electronics-industry experience within the biomedical, instrumentation and surveillance sectors, he has designed electronic circuits and writing firmware for quadrupole mass spectrometers, thermal imaging cameras and infrastructure CCTV systems. He was also instrumental in designing the surveillance system used by Network Rail to monitor unmanned crossings. Paul, who considers himself to be creative with a strong practical approach to design, development and testing, first established a position within the prosthetics industry in 2014 to work on the bebionic hand, and other assistive technology products.
David is one of our electrical whizzes at COVVI and so spends a lot of his time designing circuit boards, coding firmware (microprocessor-level software), and developing electrical accessories that enables COVVI products to be compatible with smartphones, tablets and their corresponding software. He has been instrumental in developing top-tier electrical components that improves upon the limited functionality of prosthetic predecessors and applying updatable, multi-purpose technology that invests in our product’s future.
David is an experienced engineer with over ten years’ experience, having graduated in 2003 from studying Electronic Engineering at the University of Bradford. He has worked with companies of various sizes on a variety of unique products, from iPod accessories, image scalers, tensile testers, electronic looms, vibration white finger monitoring equipment, and most recently upper-limb prosthetics for the medical sector.
David believes completing the full life-cycle of development has been both challenging and rewarding, having not envisioned working with the healthcare industry on such ground-breaking products – looking back on his career he feels privileged to have experienced working with such technological variety, and is certain the best is yet to come as COVVI now looks to the future.
Wayne has worked in IT industry for the last 26 years, 10 of those years have been working with us as Group IT Manager, reporting into the CEO and managing the IT function across five group companies.
Working as part of the Group has provided Wayne with a number of exciting challenges in what is a fast-moving environment which operates a dynamic portfolio of businesses which include telecoms, Nursery, Hotel and Prosthetics, all of which are extremely varied. In turn the last 10 years has helped Wayne further develop and demonstrate his skillset across multiple platforms. Wayne has seen it as a real privilege to work with such a dedicated team of friendly people who all aspire drive growth and service our customers across the portfolio.
In his spare time, Wayne has spent the last 13 years being heavily involved in coaching junior football, achieving a Level 1 FA Coaching award. He spends a lot of his spare time following his two sons in their sporting activities. Wayne’s youngest son plays for the junior team he currently coaches, with his eldest achieving many accolades throughout his athletics career; and hopes to go on to compete for the Irish National Team in the future.
John has joined COVVI with the task of bringing the COVVI hand to production in a calm and controlled fashion, drawing on his experience in high precision manufacturing in the Medical Device and Biotech industries. He has previously worked for York Instruments, leading a team on the pre-production build of a Neuro-imaging device based on a technique known as Magnetoencephalography (MEG) – mapping the magnetic signals generated by activity in the brain. John spent a lot of time developing production build methods to allow for speed, quality and efficiency, and played a pivotal role in delivering an electronics upgrade to an existing MEG machine based at the University of York’s neuro-imaging centre. This upgrade allows them to take at least 20x more brain data per second than before.
Prior to that, John worked for a company producing cutting edge Biotechnology that measured thermal stability of proteins for early stage drug research. It was in this role he learned most about production controls before a promotion to Production Manager. After the product was sold to a US company, John facilitated the transfer of the Production department and delivered training to production staff and service engineers alike – the product now sits in the Unchained Labs portfolio as the upgraded version ‘Uncle’.
He obtained a Batchelor’s Degree in Physics from the University of York in 2008 and acquired a Level 3 Diploma in Manufacturing and Production in 2017.
John prides himself on high quality, efficient, reproducible Production and having worked in ISO 13485 accredited environments, you can be assured he won’t rest until the COVVI hand is perfect.
Christine has come to COVVI for a new challenge in helping create and build our most innovative products.
Christine brings a wealth of shop floor experience and knowledge of the industry, having spent the last 28 years in the artificial limb industry. She initially trained as an electronics technician acquiring various qualifications in this field. She then progressed to other roles, from programming personalised aids for the disabled to specialist footwear prosthetics. For the last 10 years Christine has worked solely on the bionic hands. She really is ‘hands on’, building the hands from scratch with quality precision.
She has remained in this industry because she ‘believes’…especially in products that have the ability to change peoples lives!