Frank Ansell

'I’ve always wanted to run my own business, so now I’m living the dream...'

  • Frank ansell

Bachelor of Science in Physics

Managing Director, Ironclad GPS Tracking, Christchurch

‘I’ve always wanted to run my own business, so now I’m living the dream,’ says Frank, who within four years of graduating from UC with his Physics degree had started up a successful tech business.

‘My company develops GPS tracking software for managing fleets of vehicles. I do most of the sales work and I also manage the software engineers who build the code.

‘It’s really awesome to create a company from scratch and then watch it grow, and to get feedback from your customers about how much they love using a product you created.

He is well on his way to achieving his personal goal of building a global business and being able to travel the world as his own boss.

Frank says that the ‘broad technical knowledge’ he gained during his degree meant he had many of the skills needed to set up the business, but that other key benefits came from outside the classroom.

‘A big part of university is networking. Friends I made at Canterbury with Computer Science degrees wrote the first code for Ironclad GPS, a mate with an Accounting degree helped me register the business and still does my tax returns every year, and a lawyer friend helped us out with terms of reference for our contracts.’

He advises others who are choosing which degree to study that apart from choosing your subject, it helps to have a good idea about what you want to do when you graduate.

‘I was interested in studying astrophysics,’ he says. ‘Science and technology, and space in particular, have been lifelong passions for me.

‘But just having a degree isn’t enough for employers. Most companies in New Zealand are small or medium-sized and they’re much more interested in practical experience and personality than they are in good grades. My advice would be to talk to people in the industry you’re interested in, find out from them what they look for in prospective employees, and get some practical experience before you graduate.’

Originally from Northland, Frank enjoyed his time at UC and has adopted Christchurch as his own.

‘Moving to the South Island was a big change for me,’ he says. ‘We didn’t have snow when I was growing up! When I was at UC I enjoyed being part of various different clubs and the campus lifestyle.’

After his degree, he chose to stay in Christchurch, where he worked for a few years as a mechanical engineer focused on building services design and then post-earthquake remedial work, before setting up Ironclad GPS here.

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