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Meet the senior director of international field engineering


By TVBEurope Staff

Published: November 27, 2023 Updated: November 28, 2023

Chris Fellows, senior director of international field engineering at Zixi, tells TVBEurope how his journey in the media industry has led to surfing in Sydney, taking a boat trip down the Nile, watching fireworks in Tokyo and getting lost at 2am in a fish market in Kuala Lumpur! Talk us through an average day in [ ]

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Chris Fellows, senior director of international field engineering at Zixi, tells TVBEurope how his journey in the media industry has led to surfing in Sydney, taking a boat trip down the Nile, watching fireworks in Tokyo and getting lost at 2am in a fish market in Kuala Lumpur!

Talk us through an average day in your role Having two young children, the day generally starts early and then proceeds to be a whirlwind of tasks until they're at school and nursery!

My role spans both EMEA and APAC, so the working day normally starts with a catch-up with the Zixi team in Singapore and maybe an APAC customer call, before their working day is over.

Being at Zixi means I speak to many direct customers and technology partners alike, and having the opportunity to work with a large range of people is a real highlight for me. Usually, it starts with a couple of Europe-based customer calls and demos, lasting throughout the day, and then ending with some internal company calls with the Zixi US team. I do a large amount of web calls, but also make sure to have some days out visiting clients and attending conferences and exhibitions. I still feel that face-to-face meetings are vital to keeping a healthy work/life and maintaining good connections with people.

I've worked at home for the last five years with Zixi. I'm lucky enough to have a nice office at our house, or I can walk five minutes into the village, and steal a desk at my wife's office, which is a converted 18th-century wicker basket factory. It's often a topic of conversation on web calls!

How did you get started in the media industry? After finishing my Multimedia Technology course at university, I worked in the IT department at a school. It was then that I spotted an advert for a graduate role in broadcast in the Midlands (UK). Since most of the broadcast industry at that time was London-based, this was a rare opportunity. I managed to land the role at a company called Omnibus, which developed broadcast automation systems and had the first channel-in-a-box' playout solution. I started off as a project engineer, doing multiples of customer installations around the globe. It was an incredible opportunity for a fresh-out-of-university graduate. I was lucky to experience surfing in Sydney, taking a boat trip down the Nile, watching fireworks in Tokyo and getting lost at 2am in a fish market in Kuala Lumpur!

What training did you have before entering the industry? During university I studied audio production, video production, 3D animation creation, programming and broadcast video, so I had a good foundation. Then, while working in an IT department at a high school, I learned a lot about networks and security, as well as real-world troubleshooting (plenty of switching things off then on again!) I also gained plenty of experience of communicating through meeting and talking to people in previous jobs, at a supermarket, behind a couple of bars and working for a removal company. I do feel that being able to communicate with people, and being confident to approach and make conversation with people, is one of the greatest assets it's crucial within work and in life in general.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry? I get a kick from the fast pace of development, and the ever-shifting technology in conjunction with the high demand for faultless performance. Meaning that, as vendors, we need to innovate to create interesting new solutions, based on technology advances, but also that they need to work for 99.999% of the time. I also love being able to get my hands on new technologies and getting stuck into figuring out how things work. As well as the technical side, a huge amount of enjoyment comes from the range of people I meet. I feel the broadcast industry has a brilliant, diverse and friendly culture with an affable bunch of people at its core, that makes working within it, a great pleasure.

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours? My role combines being a subject matter expert, a salesperson and an engineer. I think to do this role, you need to have hands-on experience and have a basis of logical thinking. I would encourage people to find subjects in the field that interest them and try to keep up to date with the latest technology advances. It really helps when talking to potential clients, to be an expert and an adviser and feel confident in answering their questions.

Finally, smile and aim to keep things buoyant. Everyone wants their time at work to be as enjoyable as possible and will gravitate towards people that can help keep things upbeat. That goes for job interviews, sales pitches, internal meetings and pretty much everything else in between.
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