Our Managing Team
Position: Managing Director of Aston I.T. Solutions
Robert has always had a passion for Computers.
The interest with computers began as with most through an interest in computer games. In 1981 Robert was given an Atari 2600 home arcade gaming console and in a typical Rob approach he was more interested in how it worked than how it was played.
In 1985 he wrote his first Logo Interpreter Graphics program on an Atari 8 bit P.C. after school in the primary school library. At every opportunity that presented its-self Rob would explore computers.
During his tenure at Jeppe High School for Boys he signed up for computer science as a school subject. He was lucky since Jeppe had a full computer science laboratory and a Teacher who was qualified in computer science which allowed Robert and 12 other top students the opportunity to study Computer Science as a 6th subject. Unfortunately this teacher resigned and Jeppe was unable to find a replacement teacher for Robert’s matric year which meant for Rob and his 12 class mates matric computer science became a year of self-study in a field with very little available literature. This didn’t stop Rob from finishing his Matric year with full university exemption and a distinction in computer science.
Rob enrolled at the Rand Afrikaans University’s (R.A.U) Computer Science department in 1993 to pursue his passion. He was awarded the Liberty Life award for extra ordinary achievement in his first year of studies since he achieved a 100 percent average for his first semester and a 98 percent average to complete his first year at the top of his class in computer science.
Robert completed his Bachelor of Science degree in the field of Computer Science and finished in the top three percent of his class. He majored in the subjects of computer science and information technology. He then went on to complete his honours degree in computer science and again majored in computer science and information technology.
Subjects that Rob passionately focused on while completing his two degrees included among others event driven and object orientated PC programming (new fields of study at the time), microprocessor architecture (including machine code programming which is the direct programming of the CPU), complier theory (the development of programing languages), artificial intelligence, I.T. Security (including data encryption) and database systems and architecture.
Robert fondly remembers using one of this university vacations to write (program) a fully functional BASIC language compiler for his compiler theory class and a 64 bit version of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) algorithm for encrypting binary files.
DES was developed by the American National Bureau of Standards with the help of the American National Security Agency. Its purpose is to provide a standard method for protecting sensitive commercial and unclassified data. At the time any encryption algorithm of greater than 64 bit was subject to the American munitions act. 64 bit algorithms were permissible since it was deemed safe to assume that a Cray supercomputer would be able to break the code using a brute force attack in a reasonable time.
The internet as we know it was just moving beyond universities and Rob spent time understanding this technology and the impact it would have on business in the future.
During his time at R.A.U Rob applied for a part time position at Arthur Andersen Inc. (one of the big 5 international accounting firms with its head office based in America and a global foot print at the time) to assist with the development of their local I.T. infrastructure. During this 3rd year of studies Rob worked at Arthur Andersen as one of their two full time I.T. technicians. He was lucky enough that Arthur Andersen allowed him time to attend his varsity classes during the day while still working a full time job.
After graduating Rob worked for I.C.L. International as a junior systems programmer for a year. Robert then moved on to a smaller programming house, Monotix that specialised in SME business based database systems and the development of these systems. During this time he designed and wrote database systems for companies such as Multichoice and Nedbank S.A. What was significant about this time is that Roberts brother and current business partner Bruce took up an apprenticeship with Monotix and Bruce and Robert had their first opportunity of working together.
Robert was head hunted and moved from Monotix to take up a position at Unihold Technologies as a business process analyst and systems architect where he worked on a number of custom developed database systems for high profile blue chip companies.
Robert left Unihold Technologies to start Aston Software Solutions with his then business partner Thomas Sinclair in 1999. Thomas Sinclair sold his interest in Aston Software Solutions to Robert in 2001 and immigrated to Australia. Under Roberts’s supervision Aston took on a number of complex custom system developments for high profile clients both in S.A and the U.K. such as Anglo Gold, Gauteng Cricket Board, Air Liquide, Sandvik Mining and Construction and Symphony Telecoms a UK based company.
In 2005 Bruce, Roberts’s brother returned from London and Joined Robert as one of Aston’s Directors. Aston changed its emphasis from a focused custom development firm to become a turnkey I.T. infrastructure solutions company. Since then Aston has grown from strength to strength under Robert and Bruce’s joint leadership.Close this profile
Position: Operational Director of Aston I.T Solutions
Bruce has always had an interest in electronics. As a child he was always more interested in investigating what made the toy tick than its function, he would sit for hours disassembling and reassembling his toys.
Bruce was introduced to PC’s at an early age and would sit for hours understanding their function.
Bruce was completing homework assignments on PC’s when most still didn’t even use typewriters. He would complete homework assignments at twice the speed of his classmates. It was then that Bruce realise the benefits of I.T. Fuelled by his Passion for electronics and the inception of windows 3.1 Bruce spent many hours playing around with his brother Robert who was at this stage studying Computer Science as a school subject.
In 1997 Bruce took up an apprenticeship with Monotix technology, a subsidiary of Deloitte and Touché where he was trained up on basic IT support and installation as well as U.T.P and B.N.C cabling. Bruce also completed the A+ I.T. course during this time. This position afforded Bruce his first opportunity to work with his brother Robert who was also working at Monotix. After working for Monotix for two years Bruce felt it was time to broaden his horizons and moved to London in the U.K. in 2000 for 5 years.
Bruce’s first job in the U.K. was with a business based I.S.P, there he was tasked with optimising the remote support helpdesk.
Bruce was then contracted to IBM international U.K. to work on the Cable and Wireless UK LTD outsource Project as a part of the implementation and rollout team. He remained with IBM for two years completing all the courses that were on offer; these included Project Management, IT infrastructure implementation and management, network design and integration. When the Cable and Wireless project ended Bruce moved to a position with Computacenter UK LTD one of the UK’s biggest IT outsource companies.
During his time with Computacenter Bruce worked on a number of outsource contracts for large UK companies such as O2 cellular.
While working for Computacenta on the O2 contract he first participated in the specialist network support and maintenance of the O2 Bath road office. From the Bath road office Bruce was moved to the O2 Head Office in West London. Here he was tasked with the management and implementation of disaster recovery systems on the 600 odd pc base. Bruce was also responsible for the specialist network support and maintenance of the O2 executives pc’s. Other responsibilities included the testing and integration of multiple never before seen mobile devices for the executives and sales teams on the internal O2 network. Bruce spent 2 years on the O2 contract at which point Computacenter management motivated Bruce to the managed service project on the KPMG outsource contract.
Bruce remained on the KPMG Account for a further year before deciding to move back to South Africa in 2005.
On returning he was offered a partnership at Aston I.T. where under Bruce and Robert’s joint management Aston has grown from strength to Strength.Close this profile