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Natalie King-Barnard

Natalie King-Barnard of Green Machine Computers has had a fantastic 2023!

December is here! Christmas lights are up and businesses are starting to wind down to take a break over the festive season. Christmas is only a few days away and businesses are winding down for the festive period.

Up today is Natalie King-Barnard, head of sales and marketing for Green Machine Computers which is a technology recycling facility based in Wiltshire. They work with corporations of any sizes to relieve them of their obsolete IT equipment; ensuring 100% data security in the process. In doing so, they help those businesses reduce their carbon footprint, free up space in their offices, and remain GDPR compliant, whilst giving them the satisfaction of knowing that their unwanted equipment will go on to benefit less fortunate people.

What does December mean for your business?
December is an unusual month for us, as it’s the only month in which we stop collections for several weeks. As an additional data security measure, we stop performing collections before the Christmas holidays so that we can wipe any data from the devices in the building before locking up till the New Year. Due to this, the beginning of the month is very busy with IT collections. 

Give us a flavour of your highlights of 2023.
It’s so tough to narrow it down to only 5! But for me, our highlights would be:

  • Exhibiting at the Green Technology Conference at Microsoft (with the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce)
  • Two of our team members won awards: our apprentice for Future Tech Superstar and our Managing Director for Business Leader of the Year. (Yes, I know that was technically two)
  • Donating a bulk load of devices to Ukrainian refugees living in Marlborough (we rarely get to meet the end users for this tech, and it was incredible to speak to these individuals and to hear how much of a difference these donations will make to their lives)
  • Our “team-building” day out to Bisley Shooting Ground
  • General growth in our IT recycling department (both in terms of team size and quantity of technology we’re collecting)

Would you like to thank anyone who has been especially helpful to you throughout this year? 
We have had several really influential customers this year who have been major factors in our success. But aside from that, our team here at Green Machine have been absolutely amazing at tackling the new challenges we faced this year as well as adapting to any changes that we’ve made as a result. So a huge thank you to all of them. 

Have you done anything for charity or your community this year?
Anyone who knows us knows that Green Machine is all about giving back to our community, and this year has been no different. Throughout the year, with the help of our customers, we’ve been able to refurbish and donate over £25,000 worth of electronic equipment through our Community Interest Company, The Tech Hub. In addition to this, we’ve been helping young adults who aren’t in mainstream education with valuable work experience. 

Christmas will, of course, be big news in December. What does this mean for you?
Our team works hard, but we balance that out by playing hard too. We’re all looking forward to our Christmas party where we’ll be able to play some games, let our hair down and have a few laughs. Plus, as Green Machine closes its doors from Christmas Eve until the New Year, it gives us all much-needed time to rest, recuperate and spend time with our loved ones. 

December 3 was Small Business Saturday in the UK. Can you name up to three local independent ‘retail’ businesses you would recommend using? 
Three small businesses that are worth checking out are:
Henley Scan – who restores your old media and converts it to the digital age (e.g. cassettes, old photos, VHS, camcorder tapes etc)
My Apple Juice – utilising unused apples to create apple juice (bring your own apples to be pressed, or buy some pre-made)
Ramsbury Brewery – local liquor brewed right on our doorstep, what’s more to love?

December 20 is the Festival of Winter Walks. Do you love any walks in your own community that you could recommend?
I love a good walk, and so does my dog. Some of our local favourites are:

  • Shaw Forest Park
  • Savernake Forest
  • Stanton Country Park

Are you doing any kind of special offer or package in December that you’d like to mention?
We do have a special offer running throughout December and January, but it’s exclusive to Thames Valley Chamber members. So, if you’re not a member already, this is another reason why you probably should be.

What has been your proudest moment in 2023?
My proudest moment this year was giving a presentation on the environmental impact of e-waste for the International Institute of Obsolescence Management in June. I was nervous because I’d never done anything like that before, and it’s the largest crowd I’ve spoken to in front of too. Nevertheless, I buried my fears and insecurities and ended up doing a pretty good talk (I think). To some, it might not seem like much, but for me, this was a huge achievement personally and professionally. 

If you could choose three words to sum up 2023, what would they be? 

  • Adaptability
  • Kaizen (continuous improvement
  • Teamwork

2023 has been a whirlwind of ups and downs for us. We’ve lost core team members, a large project we were working on fell through - which was a big hit to our income, and we’ve had the cost-of-living crisis/inflation etc to navigate as well. But through all this, the team has worked together to pull us through the difficult times. On the positive side of things, we’ve had some great successes this year, some listed above (Q2). However, the biggest success for me is that we have weathered the storm and have come out the other side stronger than ever. There are some really exciting things on the horizon for 2024, so we’re looking forward to seeing where the future takes us. Watch this space!


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Green Machine Computers

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