Introducing our Chief Operations Officer, Simon Trist

Introducing our Chief Operations Officer, Simon Trist

Having recently joined the Operational Solutions Ltd team, Simon Trist has brought a wide range of industry expertise and skills to our operations. Passionate about driving situational awareness and enabling successful and sustainable growth, all while maintaining excellent services for our clients, we’re more than happy to have Simon on board. To find out more about his background and experience, we recently sat down for a one-on-one interview. Learn more about our Chief Operating Officer below. 


Can you tell us a bit about your career journey leading up to joining OSL? 

“My career in the tech industry has been diverse, to say the least. It began as a development engineer where I was involved in building both hardware and software, but over the years, I transitioned into more customer-facing positions – from programme management to service delivery and operations – for renowned organisations like Vodafone, Rolls Royce (where I focused on data analytics services for aviation), and Vestas. 

More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with smaller companies, helping them streamline their operations for rapid growth and efficient delivery of complex technology solutions to customers. All this experience eventually led to my current role at OSL.” 


What motivated you to join OSL? 

“Joining OSL in this role was motivated by a convergence of my past experiences. OSL offered a unique combination of elements that I found fascinating. These experiences included my past work in the aviation industry, my experience in smart 3D spaces, my work in integrating sensors and data analytics, and the transformative aspect of organisational processes. It felt like a perfect fit, aligning my expertise with the burgeoning field of data analytics in aviation and drones.” 


You’ve been with OSL for a few months now. Can you share some key highlights or milestones from your time here so far? 

“There have already been many highlights and milestones during my time here. 

One standout aspect has been the incredible team I’ve had the privilege to work with. Everyone here is enthusiastic, driven, and highly capable, which makes for a great working company culture.  

I’ve also been impressed at the rapid growth we’ve experienced. As with any fast-growing organisation, there’s been the exhilarating challenge of putting in place the necessary processes and structures to support this expansion, which has been extremely rewarding. 

I also think that being part of a close partnership with an industry giant like Heathrow Airport is a definite highlight. Their support and collaboration have played a pivotal role in our journey, and the expertise and opportunities provided have been great.” 


What have been the most significant challenges you’ve encountered, and how have you addressed them? 

“Personally, I think that one of the most substantial challenges that I’ve encountered at OSL has been learning how to manage the wide array of new client requirements. Part of my role involves synthesising these diverse needs into a coherent roadmap for the future, and it’s been formidable. 

However, what’s been helpful is that our approach involves diligently prioritising these requirements to ensure that we focus on delivering the most crucial components. I’m proud that we’ve now addressed this challenge, and can confidently support the broadening needs of our clients throughout a range of sectors.” 


Do you have a vision for OSL’s future? 

“Drone technology is changing all the time, meaning that we at OSL need to be at the forefront of innovation to provide clients with trusted expertise. Currently, we specialise in helping sites understand and manage activities in the complete 3D realm, which is a significant shift from the conventional focus on 2D spaces.  

In the future, drones will play an increasingly vital role in our lives. I think that understanding how to ensure controlled and efficient drone operations by implementing robust systems and processes is critical. This understanding and infrastructure is essential to create safer spaces and avoid the risk of disruption or damage.” 


What are your thoughts on the current counter-drone industry? What are the trends or developments that excite you? 

“What fascinates me about this space is just how quickly it’s evolving. It’s impossible to ignore the recent reports, such as those from Ukraine, highlighting the increasing use of drones in warfare. From a security and safety perspective, this raises significant concerns, mostly around the changing nature of threats.  

On the flip side, through our work leading Project HADO®, we’ve identified several distinct benefits to be gained from the use of autonomous BVLOS drones in complex areas. Spanning use cases in television, imagery, inspections, surveys, material distribution, and agriculture, the balance between opportunities and risks makes the current drone landscape highly dynamic and exciting to me.” 


Can you share your perspective on how OSL aims to stay at the forefront of innovation in this rapidly evolving industry? 

“I think that to stay at the forefront of innovation in this industry, you need to take on several strategies at once.  

I truly believe that you need to have the agility to confidently adapt to changing conditions, but staying closely connected with key industry players is also really important.  

To me, what sets OSL apart is our multi-layered approach that allows us to combine best in breed technologies and remain open to the full range of sensor suppliers. This means we can collaborate with different stakeholders and access insights from all corners of the industry.  

Our partnerships, such as the one with Heathrow, also give us valuable access to other major global players, while our long-standing association with the military offers another unique perspective. By tapping into these diverse markets, we’re placed in a unique position to confidently address the challenges of several sectors, leveraging the insights we’ve gained to create the best strategies possible.” 

You have a wide range of experience before joining OSL. Can you share a valuable lesson you’ve learned throughout your career? 

“Definitely, I think that one invaluable lesson I’ve learned throughout my career is the importance of understanding things from the customer’s perspective. While it’s easy to have an internal viewpoint, it’s essential to put yourself in the client’s shoes and understand what they’re trying to achieve. This customer-centric approach means a better alignment and an ultimately more successful outcome.” 


Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers? 

“I’d like to encourage people to think more about the impact of drones on their lives. Many may not be fully aware of the opportunities, or the risks, presented by the rapidly evolving drone industry. We need to take proactive steps to harness the benefits of this innovative technology, all while mitigating potential risks.” 


Discover more today 

To discover the latest news and insights from the OSL team, as well as our thoughts on the latest innovations and solutions, don’t hesitate to visit our dedicated news page.