Nottingham school friends back together after 20 years

Nottingham school friends Mark Lambert and Ollie Piddubriwnyj have reconnected more than two decades after sitting in the same classroom – to forge a new partnership in the digital technology industry.

Mark and Ollie, both age 40, went to Trinity Catholic school in Aspley during the 1980s. After leaving school, they went their own ways – and later became managing directors of award-winning local businesses.

Mark heads up Bear IT, the Nottingham IT business which employs nine people and Ollie is boss at Fifteen, a brand and design agency in Ilkeston.

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Just months ago, Mark was looking for a company to redesign the Bear IT website. After connecting through Linkedin, Ollie’s company Fifteen won the business and have just relaunched the Bear IT website.

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Mark said: “Having known Ollie for such a long time, it is a great basis to develop a working relationship. He has built a great team and we are really pleased with our first hand experience of their work.”

The new Bear IT website is just the start of the partnership for the two local businesses. The two plan to steer tech industry opportunities each other’s way, in order grow together in the future.

It was at Trinity Catholic school where Mark developed an aptitude for computers, so the IT industry was a natural career choice for him.

Mark took up an apprenticeship in West Bridgford and, after moving onto a career as a technical consultant set up Nottingham-based Bear IT in 2002. The company now employs nine people and provides business systems solutions to clients all across the UK.

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Ollie said: “It was great to hear that a fellow classmate had gone on to achieve such great things in business and I’m excited about the opportunities we can create for each other”.

At school Ollie’s interests were in the creative and design fields. He went on from Trinity school to study graphic design at Loughborough University. A few years after gaining experience in the creative industry, Ollie created the Ilkeston-based design and brand agency Fifteen. Today the business has grown to 25 staff and is one of the top fully integrated digital agencies outside London.

The two managing directors had not seen each other for more than 20 years but they reconnected LinkedIn. Ollie noticed an update from Mark that Bear IT had won the latest in a whole raft of local awards, and sent a message to congratulate him.

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The two struck up a chat online, but decided to take their conversation back offline. They each visited the other’s business to catch up on old times and get an insight into their new worlds.